BT this week re-entered the mobile phone market, with the launch of a range of 4G deals at an eye-catching entry-level price point of £5 per month.
The move means BT is now a so-called quad-play broadband provider and can offer broadband, TV, home phone and mobile phone to its subscriber base.
But how does what BT's offering compare with the competition in this increasingly hard fought segment of the market?
Here, we take a long, hard look at how BT’s quad play deals stack up against the entry-level, cheapest equivalents from TalkTalk, Virgin Media and EE.
We’ve also highlighted the key ‘sells’ of each quad-play bundle and provider, so you can make an informed buying decision.
How quad play broadband deals compare: BT vs TalkTalk vs EE vs TalkTalk
Use the table below for an at-a-glance comparison of UK broadband providers’ cheapest quad play packages.
|Max download speed||17Mbps||17Mbps||50Mbps||17Mbps|
|Set top box||YouView (no on board storage)||EETV (1TB)||Tivo (500GB)||YouView (350GB)|
|TV Channels||Over 70||Over 70||Over 60||Over 70|
|Mobile phone||200 minutes
500MB of data
250MB of data
250MB of data
200MB of data
|Home phone||Free evening and weekend calls||Free weekend calls||Free weekend calls||Free evening and weekend calls|
|Installation fees||£35.00||No charge||£49.95||Free|
|Freebies||BT Sport online||Huawei Mediapad Youth 2 tablet||£50 retail voucher||£75 voucher|
BT quad play
Although BT now offers mobile phone SIMs, these are as an additional service to its triple play packages. BT has yet to actually bring to market a branded bundle that combines all four services it now provides.
So in the name of comparison, we picked out BT’s cheapest triple play bundle (aka BT Starter TV) and combined it with the cheapest BT Mobile SIM as an add-on.
Right now, BT is running an offer that means you’ll pay £5 per month for the entire duration of the 12-month contract, plus £16.99 per month line rental for the Starter TV bundle, which includes home phone, a broadband connection offering speeds of up to 17Mbps and a YouView box.
And they’re throwing in unlimited evening and weekend calls too.
The further £5 you'll be paying for the cheapest BT Mobile SIM gets you 500 MB of 4G data, unlimited texts and 200 minutes.
Why should you choose BT? The £5 per month promotional price point means BT's offer is pretty enticing for new customers.
If you’re already with BT, being able to sign up for 4G SIMs from £5 per month is pretty attractive too.
That said, the YouView box supplied isn't all it might be. It doesn’t let you record shows and, in our experience, can feel pretty unresponsive.
But on the plus side, there’s a trove of great TV content on offer and you can do everything else you’d expect from a set top box.
EE quad play
EE’s cheapest quad play bundle is priced £25.70 per month, plus line rental at £15.75 per month, and isn’t bad value for money by anyone's reckoning. Especially if you sign up before April 7th and qualify for a free EE tablet worth £100.
For your monthly outgoing of just over £41.50 or so, you’ll get a standard ADSL connection offering speeds of up to 17Mbps, the EE TV box and weekend landline calls.
To sign up, you’ll need to be an existing EE mobile phone and broadband customer.
Why should you choose EE? Comparably priced with BT’s quad play offering, the EE quad play bundle comes with a set top box with a much more impressive spec sheet than the entry-level BT YouView effort.
Capable of recording four channels thanks to four Freeview tuners, it’s also got a pretty whopping 1TB hard drive too.
The downside is that EE is short of really must-see content. So you’ll be relying on subscription services, freeview channels and catch-up services, as well as rentals from Wuaki.tv.
EE’s other major sell is that its 4G service is the UK’s fastest and most widely available. At the last count it was closing in on 85% UK-wide coverage.
Virgin Media quad play
Virgin Media quad-play is very much a premium service. And that’s reflected in the price when you team its cheapest triple play Big Easy bundle with a mobile phone service for an ad-hoc quad play bundle.
At the time of writing, the Big Easy is available for £16 per month for 12 months, then £22 thereafter.
Plus there’s line rental of £16.99 per month to think of, as well as £5 per month for mobile phone.
That’s a total of £719 you'll be paying over the duration of the contract or £39.95 per month.
But you're getting what you pay for. Not least in the form of the pure fibre up to 50Mbps broadband, unlimited weekend calls and the jewel in the crown of Virgin’s service, the Tivo box.
This offers 500GB of storage, with the option to record up to three shows simultaneously. And by common consent, feels and looks much nicer than its cheaper competitors.
Why should you choose Virgin Media? Virgin Media’s broadband service is the UK’s gold standard and the Tivo box is good too and richly served for content.
The downside is that Virgin Media’s fibre service may not be available for your home. And, of course, at the best part of £40 per month, Virgin Media quad play isn’t the best option if you’re cost-conscious.
TalkTalk quad play
TalkTalk styles itself at the UK’s 'value broadband' provider. How merited is that tag for quad play bundles, though?
Well. it’s cheapest quad play is the Plus TV bundle. And right now that's priced £9.25 per month for 12 months and £18.50 for the remaining 6 months. Line rental is £16.70 per month
What do you get for that? Well, you get an up-to-17Mbps broadband service with unlimited downloads, a YouView box with 350GB of storage to play with and anytime calls to landlines.
You’re also buying yourself TalkTalk Plus TV, with seven Sky channels, and movie rentals and all the on-demand players you’d expect to be on board.
And you get a free SIM with usage limits 100 minutes, 250 texts, 200MB data for 18 months, for which you pay nothing.
Why should you choose TalkTalk quad play? It’s very competitively priced for a quad-play package, the Sky channels are a nice bonus and the free SIM isn't to sneezed at either.