With an eye on the small-business market, BT has set up two new deals based around 3G wireless data, offering a mixture of airtime and USB dongles.
The two standard business-broadband offerings — BT Business Total Broadband Option 2 and Option 3 — will now include a mobile-broadband connection "at no extra charge", the company said in a statement on Monday.
Users get a modem and access to BT Openzone Wi-Fi hotspots and mobile networks. The customer will get 2,000 BT Openzone minutes and 1GB of data-use per month, according to David Hughes, BT Retail Director of Wireless Broadband.
The two new broadband options that include mobile connection are Broadband Option 2 and Option 3. Broadband Option 2 costs £26.99 per month, and includes the broadband modem on a USB stick, antivirus and anti-spam software, and 24/7 support. Option 3 includes all those options mentioned, plus a security pack for five PCs. It costs £40.50 per month. Data usage with the USB stick that goes beyond the 1GB deal limits will be charged at 10p per megabyte, a BT spokesperson clarified on Friday.
BT advertises its 3G network as capable of delivering up to 7.2Mbps via HSDPA: at that rate, a user could exhaust the 1GB allowance in just over 16 minutes.
A third, standalone mobile broadband option with 'unlimited' usage is also available for customers who don't have a fixed-line contract with BT. According to BT, 'unlimited' use is subject to a fair-use policy, which means it is limited to 3GB and 4,000 Openzone minutes.
BT's Hughes denied that the usage policies were stringent. "I think this is really a reasonable amount, and this is mobile use, which should not be as heavy as standard use," said Hughes. A spokesperson for BT said that it was not usual for there to be any penalties for too much use. "If somebody does accidentally exceed limits then we would normally talk to them about their usage and see if there is any way we can help them to avoid any issues," the spokesperson said.