BT Mobile now sells handsets, so where does that leave EE?

BT Mobile now sells handsets, so where does that leave EE?

BT is stepping into the pay monthly ring as it looks to continue rebuilding its presence in the mobile market by offering handsets, as well as SIM-only deals, to customers – but where does this leave EE, the network it acquired earlier this year?

You can pick up handsets such as the iPhone 6S, iPhone 6S Plus, iPhone SE, Samsung Galaxy S6, Galaxy S6 and Galaxy A3 from, with three simple tariff tiers (500MB, 2GB, 15GB) to choose from.

For those who are already BT Broadband customers there's more good news, as you'll get £5 off your monthly tariff too.

Customers will be able to move up tiers, allowing you to upgrade your allowances mid-contract. You can then move back down to your original plan if you find you don't need the additional bits, or can't afford the higher price. If you start on a higher tier though, you won't be able to move down to a cheaper deal until your contract finishes.

There are already 400,000 SIM-only customers on BT Mobile, but that market is much smaller than the lucrative pay monthly model, so financially the move makes sense.

An EE spokesperson told TechRadar "BT operates a multi-brand strategy with customers being able to choose BT, EE or Plusnet products and services.

"EE will continue to operate as the UK's biggest mobile operator, and BT Group will retain the EE brand."

Remember Orange and T-Mobile?

Thing is, with BT set to tread even more on EE's feet it's difficult to see how the two can co-exist in the long term.

We could see a cannibalisation of both brands as they attempt to compete in what is already a very crowded market. BT Mobile is set to take a more affordable stance, while EE will remain a more premium proposition, but we wouldn't be surprised if this is the first step of merging the two.

When Orange and T-Mobile came together to form Everything Everywhere (which later changed its name to EE) back in 2012, the three brands were run side-by-side for a while. At its launch, Everything Everywhere said "we remain committed to our hugely successful brands Orange and T-Mobile and continue to invest in them for the foreseeable future."

Eventually though, Orange and T-Mobile were rolled fully into the 4G-toting EE network. BT and EE are adamant that the mobile network will continue as a seperate brand this time, but it's worth keeping an eye on.

This article was updated to reflect corrected statements from BT.

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John McCann
Global Managing Editor

John joined TechRadar over a decade ago as Staff Writer for Phones, and over the years has built up a vast knowledge of the tech industry. He's interviewed CEOs from some of the world's biggest tech firms, visited their HQs and has appeared on live TV and radio, including Sky News, BBC News, BBC World News, Al Jazeera, LBC and BBC Radio 4. Originally specializing in phones, tablets and wearables, John is now TechRadar's resident automotive expert, reviewing the latest and greatest EVs and PHEVs on the market. John also looks after the day-to-day running of the site.