BT adds mobile broadband


BT has launched what it claims is the UK’s cheapest home and mobile broadband package, priced from £15.65 a month.

BT Total Broadband customers can now get up to 8Mbps wireless broadband at home as well as 1GB monthly mobile broadband usage.
The total price is to start from £308.08 for 18 months.

BT has compared the same package with rivals Orange and Virgin Media, citing Orange’s equivalent as costing £528.48 over 18 months and Virgin’s at £435.

The package comes with a USB modem that offers speeds of up to 7.2mbps.

Managing director of BT’s Consumer division John Petter said: “This is the most complete home and mobile broadband for only 56p a day. Now you can use broadband wherever you are without worrying about the cost.

“BT Total Broadband customers now have the most complete broadband solution in and out of the home in the UK, including membership of the BT FON network of 400,000 BT FON hotspots around the world, and WiFi minutes at BT Openzone hotspots across the UK and Ireland. Customers will also benefit from BT’s rollout of hotspots at more than 650 Starbucks coffeehouses in the UK and Ireland.”

BT’s Connection Manager software allows customers to choose the fastest and cheapest connection wherever they are, choosing between Wi-Fi or mobile. BT also offers a standalone 1GB prepay USB modem, costing £129.99 over 18 months.

Ovum senior analyst Steven Hartley said BT would be able to leverage its strength in the fixed market to make it stand out from other mobile broadband offerings, but that its wholesale agreement with Vodafone could lead to slim margins.

“Our main concerns for this offer hinge on the amount BT is paying to use Vodafone’s network. Its costs per megabyte will be higher than any of the UK’s networks and, as a result, its margins will be slim. Yet BT’s offer is very much focused on offering value,” said Hartley.

“We raised this concern with BT, but it was naturally adamant that the mobile broadband element is financially viable as part of the bundle. However, with a limited mobile broadband allowance, power users may well be dissuaded by excess usage charges. This will limit uptake by the most valuable mobile broadband customers.

“Also, in a market as competitive as the UK, particularly in light of current economic conditions, BT is likely to face immense competitive pressure to increase its inclusive data allowance. If it does, this will harm both incremental top-up revenues and margins. The increased data usage will no doubt need to be paid for at wholesale rates, even though revenues decline as a result.”