Is BT really offering free Premier League football?

Last updated: May 13th, 2013
News by Jamie Stinson
Football stadium

BT broadband customers will be able to sign up to watch its new Premier League football channel as the telecoms provider challenges Sky's dominance of the TV sports market.

The move means BT customers will be able to watch Premier League football for 'free' in the 2013-14 season.

The telecoms giant said "sports fans are the winners" as it announced its entry into the televised football market. The firm's five million broadband customers will be able to watch premiership football and rugby - as well as numerous other sports - for free on the new BT channels.

Ian Livingston, BT chief executive added: "UK sports fans have had a rough deal for too long. Many have been priced out of the market but we will change this by giving away BT Sport for free with our broadband."

So it's free - but at a price. The standard cost for BT's basic broadband package is £10 a month, rising to £15 a month for fibre optic, or £16 a month for unlimited broadband.

Non-BT broadband customers can sign up for the new channels for £12 a month for standard definition or £15 a month for HD - though they will, of course, have to also pay their current broadband provider's fees on top.

BT says you can watch the service on TV via a set-top box, such as Sky, BT Vision or YouView, or online via the BT Sport App.

However, if you are going to use the app to watch the channels you will need to watch your download limits and ensure you don't go over them and incur charges as a result.

Beware excess usage fees

Dominic Baliszewski, telecoms expert at broadbandchoices.co.uk, warns: "The mobile app is a fantastic tool for allowing customers to view content through a broadband connection, but it will most likely count to towards your monthly data allowance."

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He recommends consumers "opt for a truly unlimited package to avoid any nasty excess usage fees".

According to Broadbandchoices.co.uk, the cheapest BT broadband, phone and TV package - which includes the new BT Sports channels - costs £397.35 in the first year, although customers will also be given £25 in Sainsbury's vouchers.

By comparison, the cheapest Sky Entertainment package plus BT Sports costs £591 in the first year. If Sky customers were to add Sky Sports instead of BT Sports, it would cost them a further £9.50 a month. But new Sky customers are also currently being offered £100 in Marks & Spencer vouchers, bringing the cost down considerably.

If you are switching broadband, phone or TV providers, make sure you don't incur a charge for leaving your contract early, thus wiping out any potential savings.