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BT Mobile Family SIMs:
all the benefits and disadvantages

BT logo with an icon of a family

The retailers featured on this page may compensate us when our readers follow links to their websites and make a purchase. More

We review whether it's worth taking one or more of BT Mobile's Family SIM plans, looking at the discounts and other benefits they offer. SIM Sherpa is your trusty guide. Last updated: 21st May 2020

Our verdict on Family SIMs

SIM Sherpa rates BT's Family SIMs as good overall
 (3/5, good)

BT Mobile Family SIM banner

See Family SIM offers

(opens in new window)

"BT Mobile were the first proper network to have a stab at shared plans and their Family SIMs get some things right but some things wrong - even if the discounts have got a little leaner recently.

Families will appreciate the flexibility to add and drop SIMs as things change. Managing everyone's deals from one bill is handy too, especially if you've got BT broadband, as you'll have everything under one roof.

But forcing everyone onto the same plan, with the same amount of data is a big weakness for BT's Family SIMs. Realistically, which family is going to be totally uniform in their usage?

But if you can find a combination that works, the discounts and convenience are worth it. And we really rate BT Mobile as an overall provider too. Family SIMs are good but they could be even better though."

Useful link: Latest Family SIM prices

In the rest of this guide

Here's what we've considered for our overall rating

The savings via BT's Family SIMs

Family SIMs give you discounts for taking multiple plans

Build a bundle screenshot

Play with BT's calculator to find savingsBuild a bundle

at BT.com
(opens in new window)

In a nutshell, BT's Family SIMs are about giving you a bulk discount for taking out multiple mobile contracts, on the same account. Like in loads of other areas of life, the more you buy, the better the price.

You start off with one billpayer, who can then add up to 5x additional SIM only deals onto their account and receive an ever-larger discount for each plan they add vs buying them separately.

The savings aren't uniform and can be a little tricky to predict up front (it's one of downsides of Family SIMs we list further down the page). But as a rule of thumb, you can save 5% - 30% against the individual prices.

You can add Family SIMs to your existing deal via your online account, or if you're new to BT Mobile, you can play with their build-a-bundle calculator to see the savings for the combination you're after.

Useful link: BT's build-a-bundle calculator

Savings typically vary between £1 and £35 per month

Family SIM savings estimate

Examples only, not actual pricingSee current prices

at BT.com
(opens in new window)

As we mention above, the precise savings in pounds and pence are difficult to estimate up front and depends on current pricing and whatever promotions are running at the time.

When this guide was last updated we found discounts from just £1 a month (one additional 2GB SIM) all the way up to £35 a month with 5x extra SIMs on the biggest 100GB / No Limits plan.

You can add Family SIMs to any of these deals (broadband customer pricing):

We've noticed that the better the initial price for the main plan, the smaller the discounts for adding additional SIMs. So plans featured in sales and promotions attract smaller, further Family SIM discounts.

In a real-life user test, we also found that if you'd got a really good deal when you first signed up, you couldn't actually add extra discounted Family SIMs, without re-contracting onto a more-expensive main plan!

Useful link: See latest Family SIM prices

BT broadband customers get their regular £5 discount too

A BT broadband hub

BT Halo customers get double data tooWhat is BT Halo?

at BT.com
(opens in new window)

If you've got BT Broadband at home, you qualify for a £5 monthly discount off the non-customer price of any mobile deal from BT - that goes for phone contracts and SIM Only plans.

And the same applies for Family SIMs too. Each extra SIM you add to your account is also discounted by £5 vs the price someone without BT's broadband would be charged.

In theory, that means an additional saving on top of the Family SIM ones of £300 across 5x extra SIMs over the course of 12 months. Although we'd argue few would pay the non-BT customer prices.

If you've signed up for BT Halo, you'll also get the same double data benefits and extra 4G speeds on Family SIMs that you get on every regular BT Mobile plan too.

Useful link:
All BT broadband customers benefits

Where to next?

The benefits of BT's Family SIMs

Flexible 30-day contracts you can add/remove whenever

BT Mobile app preview

Use the app to manage your SIMsSee app features

at BT.com
(opens in new window)

Leaving aside the pure monetary savings, the most useful other benefit of Family SIMs is that each additional plan is only on a 30-day rolling contract, even if your main deal is a 24-month phone or 12/18-month SIM only.

That's handy for when you're building your Family plan in the first place. You've probably got contracts elsewhere with staggered end dates. You can add these whenever you like, not just when you first sign up.

It's also useful because you might decide later on that someone needs their own contract elsewhere again, to get a new phone or any other reason. That person can leave with little notice and the rest are unaffected.

It's a flexible system in this way, which is what families need, because things change all the time.

Useful link: Family SIM help guide

You can customise what controls each user has

Parental controls

Give separate permissions to SIMsHow to manage SIMs

at BT.com
(opens in new window)

If you're a parent buying for children and adults, one nice feature of BT's Family SIMs is the ability to manage which settings each person on your account is able to access for their own plan.

Most likely for children, you can restrict their ability to change the parental control preferences for adult content and stop them from changing spending caps, so you stay in control of the bill instead of them.

On the flip side, anyone trusted on your account like other adults can be given permission to play with those settings themselves without you managing them for them. It's another piece of flexibility built in.

Each user gets their own minutes, texts and data to use each month. There's none of the unneccesary faff of dividing up data between people that you used to get on other networks' older shared plans.

Useful link:
Compare the plans available as Family SIMs

You don’t actually need to be a family to share the plans

Friends or family

Invite anyone to join your shared planHow to add people

at BT.com
(opens in new window)

Although it’s called a Family SIM, you don’t actually have to be a family to share BT Mobile plans and enjoy the savings: any group of people who know each other can take them up. This opens up possibilities.

You could be a group of friends, student housemates or colleagues who all want to enjoy the discounts. They can even already be on BT Mobile and join their account to yours to pay less.

The key though is, you’ll need one person who acts as the main account holder, who is responsible for paying all the bills and managing the plans.

For this reason, we’d always recommend that you know and trust the people you join on a Family SIM with.

Useful link:
How to invite people to join your Family SIM
according to BT.

Roaming: Family SIMs get you inclusive EU roaming

Roaming on BT Mobile Family SIMs

Roaming on each SIM can be managed separatelySee roaming costs

at BT.com
(opens in new window)

Roaming on Family SIMs works identically to regular BT Mobile phone and SIM only contracts:

You'll get roaming in the EU countries listed here included at no extra cost, meaning data used for browsing plus minutes and texts to UK numbers come out of your regular monthly allowances.

If you’re travelling to the USA and numerous other destinations, you can buy a block of data to use while you’re there for a fixed cost (see the latest costs of data passes here).

Or in other countries, and for calls and texts, you’ll pay for what you use, as you use it (per min, per text, per MB). You can find the latest roaming costs in BT’s tariff guide under the useful link below.

Either way, on a Family SIM, the costs are the same and roaming works the same. Each SIM can roam separately and any charges that are incurred will be added to the main account holder’s bill.

Useful link: See a full breakdown of roaming costs in BT's tariff guide.

Transfer your old mobile number to any of the Family SIMs

Keep your number on a BT Family SIM

Everyone can bring their number with themLearn how

at BT.com
(opens in new window)

Most of us want to stick to our current number when we change mobile deals. Fortunately, it's no harder to do this on BT's Family SIMs than on any other deal. Here's what to do:

Order your Family SIM from BT - this will come with a temporary number.

Then text "PAC" to 65075 using your old network's SIM. They'll text you a code within a couple of minutes. Once you have that, go to www.bt.com/keepmynumber, login and give BT your PAC code.

They'll sort out the transfer, normally within a working day, and you'll still be able to use the SIM in the meantime.

If you've taken multiple SIMs, just repeat the process for each one.

Useful link: Read how to keep your number in BT's step-by-step guide.

Where to next?

The disadvantages of BT's Family SIMs

You still all have to have the same plan

Two boys staring at mobile phones

Realistically people may need different plansCompare separate deals

here at simsherpa.com
(opens in new window)

The biggest weakness of BT Mobile's Family SIMs could be a killer for some people. You all have to join on a plan with the same amount of minutes, texts and data. You can't pick different ones each.

So if the main account holder is on a 4GB plan, everyone else has to be too. Given that everyone's data usage is different, this could quickly become a problem with people running out or never using up all their data.

There's no facility to share out unused data on BT Mobile (there is on EE with their clever data-gifting feature), so getting a Family SIM is only going to work if you and your family have similar usage habits.

If you don't, you could find out you're better off taking individual deals with the right amount of data, so use our SIM only price comparison tool here first. Although remember you'll then have to manage separate accounts.

Useful link: Costs for adding extra data

Where to next?

Alternatives to BT's Family SIMs

EE probably have the closest scheme to BT's Family SIMs

EE data gifting banner

10% discount and share data on EESee EE family plans

at EE.co.uk
(opens in new window)

Out of all the shared family plans we rank in our guide here, it's EE who have the nearest alternative to BT's Family SIMs. Their equivalent has some advantages and disadvantages:

Firstly, you'll get a uniform 10% of the regular price of any pay monthly product you add to your main account on EE. That can be a phone contract, a SIM only deal or even tablets or mobile broadband.

Depending on how many people you're planning to add, the savings can be more or less than BT as a percentage. But it's worth noting EE's deals are typically more expensive than BT in the first place.

So you can join on more types of plans and you don't have to take the same amount of data on each either. There's also an excellent data gifting feature that lets you move data around users on the same account if someone runs out and others have some spare.

Useful link: All features of EE's shared family plans

Where to next?

Our other BT Mobile articles and guides

Full review of BT Mobile

BT Mobile logo

Read BT Mobile review

BT Reward Card offers

BT Mobile Reward Cards

See latest Reward Card offers

Comparing BT Mobile & EE

EE vs BT Mobile

Read differences between EE & BT Mobile

How BT Mobile & Three compare

BT Mobile vs Three

Read BT Mobile vs Three comparison

Other relevant guides

Best shared mobile plans

Shared Family plans

See who we rate best

SIM Sherpa can help you find your next SIM only deal

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