BT to return to mobile phone market with low cost SIM only 4G plans

It’s been ten years since BT sold off its shares in Cellnet (now O2) and pulled out of the mobile phone market, but today the communications giant has confirmed that it will be returning with a range of SIM only 4G plans for UK customers. BT 4G sim

The company has already announced its intentions to acquire EE, for which it’s currently awaiting regulatory approval, but in the meantime it has been able to tap into EE’s network thanks to an agreement drawn up in 2013.

Initially BT is to release three SIM only 4G plans from as little as £5 per month for existing BT customers. The entry tariff, which will cost £10 per month for non-BT customers, will include 500MB of 4G data, 200 minutes of calls and unlimited texts.

£17 per month (£12 per month for existing BT customers) will get you 2GB of 4G data, 500 minutes of calls and unlimited texts, while £25 per month (£20 for existing BT customers) will get you a massive 20GB of 4G data plus unlimited calls and texts.

In addition, all of the plans include free access to BT Sport and the company’s five million Wi-Fi hotspots.

The £5 per month plan easily undercuts the lowest plans by its competitors, which should help to bring prices down across the board, making 4G more accessible to all.

You can see all BT’s 4G SIM Only plans here.

iPad2 unveiled – is it really iPad V1.1?

Steve Jobs last night unveiled the iPad 2, the second generation of the gadget that introduced the tablet computer to the world.

Almost 15 million iPads have been sold around the world so the announcement of the iPad 2 was eagerly anticipated with daily alleged ‘leaks’ and stories from Elton John’s supposed informed slip that it would launch in March (although he probably just read’s the same tech blogs as the rest of us) to last week’s claims that iPad 2 production had been delayed by 2 months pushing launch into June.

Back in reality, the well-oiled Apple product and presentation machine announced the new iPad in March and first deliveries will hit stores on March 11 in the US and March 25 in 26 more countries, presumably including the UK. Pricing will match that of the current iPad.  Expect iPad on Contract deals to be announced by the UK mobile phone operators very soon.

So what’s new in iPad 2? Not as much as you might expect. It has the same display as before but an ‘all-new’ product design that’s 33% slimmer and 15% lighter.  There’s a new dual core A5 processor that delivers faster performance, with graphics rendered up to 9 times faster which should make gaming and movie editing much much slicker.  The iPad 2 also comes in white and black, although the back is still the lovely aluminium.

The rumoured, and much needed, cameras have been added with a VGA front facing camera for video calling via FaceTime and presumably Skype.  A rear facing camera captures ‘720p video’ which presumably makes it a roughly 3 megapixel camera.The video calling feature will delight many folk, mainly work away Dad’s and geo-divided families, but I have to say I rarely use it on my Mac so I’m less excited than some.  I’ve no idea what use the rear facing camera has so far – the iPad 2 is going to  be pretty unwieldy to use as a camcorder or for augmented reality Apps and games.  Answers on a postcard…

The other major design ‘change’ is the additional of an optional cover that doubles up as stand.  The jury is still out on this accessory.

Jobs waxed lyrical as ever, spinning the new second coming as he always does.  His use of language and reference to the copy cat tablets from Samsung and HP suggests the iPad 2 is really a defensive move, aimed at keeping half a step ahead of the competition rather than reinventing the iPad all over again.

“With more than 15 million iPads sold, iPad has defined an entirely new category of mobile devices,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “While others have been scrambling to copy the first generation iPad, we’re launching iPad 2, which moves the bar far ahead of the competition and will likely cause them to go back to the drawing boards yet again.”

So the iPad 2 will undoubtedly be a huge success and it is an improvement, but you should view this as a smaller step like the difference between the iPhone 3GS and the iPhone 3G.  Expect more innovation in the inevitable iPad 3 this time next year.

Oh, and if you’re not bothered about cameras, a little bloatedness and the need to run video heavy Apps why not buy the iPad 1 when prices are slashed by retailers over the next few weeks!

Orange and T-Mobile launch iPad contract deals

Orange and T-Mobile have each launched iPad contract deals – that’s right, get a cheap iPad when you sign up to a contract with a mobile network, just like you do with a mobile phone.iPad on Contract

Existing Orange customers can pick up a new 16GB 3G + WiFi iPad for £199 (normally worth £529) if they sign up to a £25 a month (£27 for new customers) 24 month iPad contract.

The iPad contract includes 1GB of data, unlimited WiFi hotspot access with BT Openzone (which covers most branches of Starbucks!) plus 1GB of ‘Quiet Time’ data between midnight and 6am.

Yes, the ‘Quiet Time’ tariff is pretty useless unless you’re an insomniac who leaves the house at night, you work the night shift or you take your iPad clubbing with you but I’m sure someone out there will use it productively. If you have a good, or ridiculous, idea for how to make use of the ‘Quiet Time 1GB’ please leave a comment below :) (Keep it clean tho!)

T-Mobile, who are now part of the same company as Orange, offer the same contract minus the BT Openzone WiFi access.  If you hate Starbucks or you don’t want to risk spilling your extra hot, extra shot vanilla skinny latte onto your expensive new pride and joy then perhaps T-Mobile is worth a look.

Check out the Orange deal here and the T-Mobile deal here

Compare all iPad on Contract deals

Already got an iPad?  Check out the best iPad sim only data plans

3 new money saving mobile deal comparison tables

The launch of SIM Only tariffs a few years ago has made it even easier and cheaper to tailor-make your ideal mobile phone deal.  SIM Only deals are £10 to £15 cheaper per month because the operator doesn’t have to include the price of a phone in the price.

We’ve recently added a few comparison tables for SIM Only deals that could help you save loads of cash and save you searching around lots of different websites!iPhone SIM Only deals

Have you got an old ex-work Blackberry knocking around that you want to give to your wife, husband or uni-bound kid? Maybe you want to upgrade from a Pay as you go Blackberry deal to a monthly tariff?  Either way a SIM Only Blackberry tariff may be the cheapest way to get going with Blackberry without the hassle of signing up to a long contract.

Compare Blackberry SIM Only Deals

The annual release of new iPhones versus the 18 month to 24 month contracts has created a huge second hand iPhone market to explode, which in turn creates the opportunity to sign up for cheaper SIM Only contracts.

Compare iPhone SIM Only deals

Bought or buying a swanky new 3G Apple iPad?  You’ll want to find the best 3G data plan to keep your iPad connected when out and about.

Compare iPad data plans

iPhone iOS 4 is live! Tips for updating your iPhone and iPod Touch

Apple have released the new iPhone software – iOS 4. This is a substantial improvement to the old software and best of all it’s free!  But do you know how to download iOS 4 onto your iPhone 3G, 3GS or iPod Touch?

Will iOS 4 work on my iPhone or iPod Touch?

iPhone Software Updates iOS 4

iOS 4 is available for:

  • iPhone 3G
  • iPhone 3GS
  • iPhone 4 (when launched)
  • iPod touch second generation
  • iPod touch third generation

Not all features will work on all products but it will provide lots of new – and free! – features to the phones listed above.

How do I get iOS 4?

Don’t know how to update to iOS 4?How to update to iOS4

  1. Download the latest version of iTunes on to the Mac or PC you used to install or last update your iPhone.
  2. Plug your iPhone into  to the computer via the USB connector.
  3. Click on the iPhone or iPod Touch icon in the list on the left.
  4. Select the Summary tab and then click the  ‘Check for Update’ button.
  5. Follow the simple instructions and within 30 minutes it’s all done!

Don’t worry – it’s all straightforward and pretty easy to do.  Just allow a bit of time to download the software from the internet and then install it on your iPhone.

Please leave a comment below to tell us what you think of iOS 4 and to leave your own tips :)