BT has announced plans to break the boundaries of its broadband package by offering the new BT Total Broadband Anywhere service, including a free BT ToGo mobile smartphone.
The new package is launched today, and allows users greater connectivity at home and when out and about. The phone automatically connects to the internet via Wi-Fi at broadband speeds and provides cheaper calls through BT Broadband Talk.
The phone switches to standard mobile networks when out of Wi-Fi range, though the package comes with a measly 10MB of data a month included, so data-heavy sites like YouTube are very much out of the question.
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There’s a choice of two smartphones with the package – the HTC S620 or the S710. Both offer a decent package for the user, running on Windows Mobile 6, so BT is betting the business user will be willing to sync his or her home life with their work phone.
The package is built on top of BT Total Broadband, so the landline internet connection and the Home Hub come as part of the deal.
The BT Total Broadband Anywhere idea does seem to be a re-birth of the BT Fusion idea, which garnered only 45,000 customers in three years. Whether the re-launch can breathe new life into an old idea remains to be seen.
The package costs £23.99, including 50 minutes of free calls and texts each month, as well as the home broadband connection. It's a fairly good deal if you’re willing to tie everything together.
However, Rob Barnes, head of broadband and mobiles at moneysupermarket.com, is unsure of the new package's appeal to new customers: "The free smartphone offers great functionality, but will only be an attraction to current BT customers looking for an upgrade or that something extra.
"However when the phone is outside of [Wi-Fi coverage], the connection can become slow and costly. Heavy mobile data users will need to be wary of the download limit if they want to avoid further charges.
"Wi-Fi also raises concerns about security as 'piggy-backing' or connection sharing rises, leaving people open to attack. I'd advise people to be wary of Wi-Fi hotspots and take precautionary measures to protect themselves."