EE has announced that its customers will be getting free access to BT Sport, the first proper tie-in between the two brands since BT took over the double-lettered network.
However, it’s not going to be as simple as ‘Got EE? Have some football!’ as there are a few caveats if you want to be checking out a spot of sport on the go – we spoke to EE to find out exactly what you’ll need to qualify and what’s actually on offer here.
You’ll be getting access to BT Sport 1, BT Sport 2, BT Sport Europe and ESPN – but is it really free? Will you get anything extra? And where can you actually use it?
1. It’s free for six months on EE
Once you activate the deal, you’ll be getting access to the four portals listed above for six months – after which you’ll need to pay £5 per month to keep watching on your EE device.
BT Mobile offers the same thing for the lifetime of the contract – there were some questions about whether this was actually a limited offer, but we’ve spoken to BT and they’ve confirmed it’s for as long as you take the mobile service.
However if you’re on EE and want some BT Sport right now, don’t get excited just yet – you won’t be able to sign up for the new service until July 27.
2. It’s only for phones and tablets
Here’s the bad news for anyone that’s got Sky and has been holding out on paying the rather expensive fees to add in BT Sport: you won’t be able to watch BT’s channels on the big screen as part of this deal. It’s only coming to phones and tablets, and Chromecast screen sharing will be disabled too.
However, EE promises that it’ll be able to tell if you’re watching on a phone or tablet, and will optimise the stream for either screen. So the smaller, lower-res displays will get about 1.2Mbps, but the iPad Pro devices of this world, with a bunch more pixels to play with, will get streams up to 2.5Mbps to keep the sharpness up.
3. It’ll use your data allowance
This won’t come as much of a surprise – it would have been a massive bonus if it didn’t take your bytes to watch this sport. EE told us that the rise of watching football on the go inspired the offer, with a big spike in catching some action on the go showing there’s an appetite for it.
However, make sure you’ve got a decent bundle if you’re going to be keeping up with the latest sporting shenanigans – you could be munching up to 2GB of data on a phone if you’re going to watch the whole match and hoover up the half time show too.
4. Not for all on EE
While EE is touting this as a big deal for its customers, it’s not great if you’ve chosen to go pay as you go.
EE has confirmed to us that this is only for customers on pay monthly plans – so if you topup whenever you fancy it, you’re not going to get the BT Sport deal. Similarly, if you’re a 4G Wi-Fi broadband customer, that’s also excluded.
However, there is a glimmer of light: EE has confirmed it’s ‘looking’ at a pay as you go option in the future.
5. How to activate EE’s BT Sport deal
Right, you’ve read all that and decided you fancy the free six month trial. It’s now pretty simple: you’ll just need to send a message (after 27 July) to EE to say you want to get involved.
If that’s not possible (perhaps you’re running an iPad) then you’ll need to phone the call centre and talk to an actual human. Urgh.
Once that’s done, you’ll download the BT Sport app (which is available on iOS, Android and even Windows Phone) and enter the details you’ve been given – sport is then spurting into your eyeballs.
…. There’s more to come
While the company wouldn’t be drawn on precisely what, EE did confirm to us that it was exploring some other options with BT for the future – although it’s hard to see what that will be precisely, given EE already gives access to BT Openzone Wi-Fi hotspots (which would have been the obvious choice).
The big question here lies with EE TV and BT Sport – to steal Bacon’s parlance, it seems a no-brainer that those that have streaming service on their phone should be able to watch it on their EE tellybox too… we’ll keep poking to see if that’s on the way.