BT today introduced what it calls "an absolutely fantastic deal, the most complete home and mobile broadband for only 56p a day". The problem is that the deal doesn't appear as tasty as it could be once we look at it close.
When purchased alone, the BT Mobile Broadband Pre-Pay Only looks to be a great deal, provided that you don't plan to use more than 1GB worth of data usage every month. Failing which you will be charged £10 for every 1GB used (ed: surely some mistake, BT's website says Gb, that's 8x more expensive).
At £130 for a dongle with 18 months worth of data is surprisingly good. Three offers a 12GB package (Mobile Broadband 12GB E160 White) for as little as £97.86 which turns out to be more expensive. You may also be tempted by their 2-year contract which costs £360 over the duration period but comes with a whopping 15GB - 15 times BT's offer.
BT suggests that bundling it with the other BT offers will actually be a great deal. Not so fast. Option 1 gives you 10GB allowance, 250 wifi minutes, free 802.11n router on a 8Mbps line will cost you £308.08 that also includes the dongle and its £180 allowance.
This means that you are effectively paying £17.11 over a period of 18 months but that excludes a £11.25 line rental fee. Option 2 increases the inclusive WiFI minutes to 350 and doubles the allowance to 20GB.
In comparison, O2 offers its mobile broadband and O2 home broadband for £16.86 per month over a period of 18 months. O2's mobile broadband offers 3GB data transfer, thrice what BT has on offer, as well as unlimited WiFi through the Cloud.
What's more, O2's home broadband comes with a number of advantages including the fact that it is ranked amongst the best in the UK. Unfortunately, the O2 deal is limited to customers within O2's unbundled area.
Virgin Media as well offers another interesting alternative. Apart from the fact that you get a free installation and the contract is only 12-month, rather than 18, the company also provides you with a £20 credit, free phone and free TV. The 10Mbps will be faster than BT as well and the mobile broadband offer is a 1GB. The price though climbs to £19 per month.
Both O2 and Virgin Media offer unlimited data upload and downloads. Talktalk's offer is a smidgen better than BT's as well, assuming you can actually get it. Until the end of the month, the Essentials package gives you free broadband and phone (unlimited local landline calls) for 3 months, jumping to £11.25 for 15 months. That is still way cheaper than BT and comes with a 40GB download limit.
There are some obvious advantages though that could sway you towards BT despite the shortcomings. Getting BT mobile broadband will enroll you in BT Fon and BT Openzone with tens of thousands of hotspots worldwide.