BT quietly removed superfast download speeds for some customers


BT has quietly dropped all 5G mobile plans from its website. That means any new customers looking to sign-up to a new smartphone contract from BT won’t be able to get access to the fastest possible mobile data speeds, which clock-in around five times faster than the average UK broadband speed. It’s important to note that existing customers who are happily downloading files and refreshing social media feeds at blisteringly fast 5G speeds won’t be impacted by the changes, this only applies to new customers.

BT, which acquired EE for an eye-watering £12.5 billion back in 2016, started to push its own 5G contracts last year. EE was the first network to launch 5G in the UK, so it made sense for its parent company to also get in on the action and make the super-speedy mobile data available to more customers. Back in February, BT made 5G available to all of its customers in an expansion of its existing 5G scheme.

However, BT seems to have now removed the latter entirely from its online store. In a complete reversal, the Internet Service Provider (ISP) has now removed 5G from all new smartphone and SIM-only options available on its online store. In a slightly baffling move, while there is an option to only search for 5G handsets to buy from the retailer – customers cannot tick it. If you do manage to find a 5G-ready smartphone from the BT Store, you will be able to connect to superfast 5G networks from EE or other providers.. but you won’t be able to benefit from the speeds boosts if you stick with BT, which now only offers 4G to new customers.

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The change was first spotted by the clever team at broadband-obsessed blog ISPreview. In a statement, BT explained that its decision to ditch 5G from all of its available contracts was made in order to simplify its offering to customers.

Not only that, but the decision also promotes its EE brand, which consistently wins gong after gong for its widespread 4G and 5G network coverage and speeds, as the only place to buy a 5G smartphone. BT recently brought its brand back to the high street by bringing its products and customer service representatives into EE brick-and-mortar stores. Until recently, it was possible to buy 5G contracts from both BT and EE inside the same shop, which does seem a little confusing.

Thanks to the new simplification, that’s no longer an issue. If you walk into the store looking for the latest-and-greatest smartphone with 5G speeds, you’ll be directed towards the EE concession. Simple.

There are a number of other products that BT and EE both offer right now, including home broadband, TV set-top boxes and more. Whether BT plans to divide these down so that customers don’t have to pick between the two brands remains to be seen.

In a statement to ISPreview, a spokesperson for BT said: “We are updating our BT mobile packages to offer simplicity and flexibility to suit the changing needs of our customers and their families. On the 1st September we launched Mobile Made Easy to give customers the choice from three simple data packages with unlimited calls and texts across a range of the most popular 4G handsets.

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