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BT Total Broadband Anywhere - BT Total Broadband Anywhere

By Hugo Jobling



Our Score:


The handset currently available with BT Total Broadband Anywhere is HTC's S620 (or Excalibur of you prefer) - though that could change in the future. As a Windows Mobile handset, the S620 is prone to the various problems of that OS, such as Pocket Internet Explorer and its apparently inability to actually render any webpage not tailored for mobile devices. Although of course, there's the benefits too, such as easy syncing of contacts and email with Outlook, which on a device intended for portable Internet access is important.

BT does use its own custom skin to try and mask some of Windows Mobile's less consumer-friendly aspects, some of which are pretty good. The home screen contains quick access to functions such as BT Broadband Talk, toggling of Wi-Fi, BT Yahoo Mail (which all BT customers are signed up to) and the phone's web browser.

BT Yahoo mail is added by default to the handset as part of the setup process. These details are what allows the handset quick and easy access to OpenZone hotspots. BT's skin also enables quick setup of other accounts though and both my Gmail and personal POP3 accounts were handled faultlessly by the auto-config mode, requiring me only to enter my email address and password.

As usual with HTC devices, while the OS may leave some things to be desired, the hardware is good. The casing has a lovely ThinkPad-style rubberised finish which adds a real air of class to the handset and the QWERTY keypad is surprisingly easy to type on, although I still maintain nothing compares to the virtual keyboard on the iPhone.

Of particular note is the inclusion of two batteries, one of which is a high capacity unit. To cater for both batteries you also get two different backs for the handset. One of these sits flush with the back of the device, while the other is larger and protrudes outwards. It looks a little silly, but the extra usage time afforded by the larger battery will doubtless be compensation enough for those using it.

The problem, then, with BT Total Broadband Anywhere isn't the handset but the service itself. It's difficult to see exactly what BT's target market is. If you want a mobile phone you'll probably have one, and while BT OpenZone access is good when available, if you don't live in London, Wi-Fi hotspots are, for the most part, still something of a rarity. And if you wanted to use this handset as your main mobile you'd definitely need more minutes and texts thrown in.


The value of BT Total Broadband Anywhere is hard to gauge. For £5 a month on top of a fairly decent broadband package, it's not bad value. However while the BT OpenZone access offered is good, it isn't quite good enough for me to agree with its claim of being "broadband anywhere." Throw in more than a paltry 10MB of mobile data and you'll have a much more worthwhile offering, BT.

Overall Score


Scores In Detail

  • Value 6
  • Usability 8
Carrier pricing updates & information supplied by WhistleOut


January 24, 2009, 6:43 pm

The ToGo (ugh!) really got beaten with the ugly stick didn't it? Look at the Palm Pre, look at the latest blackberries, look at the iPhone. Hell - even look at the G1, then look at the ToGo. See? Ugly, underpowered and ancient.

Adrian Matthews

March 23, 2009, 2:59 pm

For those whose aim is to look good I suppose the HTC handset could be better, but ugly is only a matter of opinion. From real life use it doesn't look bad at all, not that that bothers me. More importantly it works well and sits in the hand very well, and the two batteries are a great plus. If only there was a way of charging them without their being inserted into the handset they'd be even better.

After the tweaking to the OS that BT have done the smart phone is very useable, far better at ordinary tasks than the Blackberry I had, which was a pain to set up and counter-intutive in many of its functions. The quality of the handset is very high, and the sound almost startlingly clear compared with literally every phone I've had in the past 20 years. Basic phone memory is decidedly stingy, however, and a memory card upgrade is a must.

This was an upgrade from BT's normal Option 3 bradband package, and it's probably the best scenario for this particular mobile offering, with the possibility in my case of a new smart phone and 250 minutes for GBP15, the same price as 3 Mobile with a few more minutes and a very basic phone, but the BT offering also brought me a significant reduction on my Option 3 charges. Other parts of the package I negotiated - normal phone with evenings and weekends free, additional VoIP phone which gives a second number and effectively a second line, perfectly decent Wireless N router, not particularly good but useful DVR, and access to a library of downloadable films and TV programmes (normally at extra cost) which in practice are rarely used.

I've been with BT for broadband since it started in my area seven or eight years ago, and their customer service is, as others have said, normally very friendly, though with rare but glaring exceptions, but BT corporately nearly drove me up the wall this time trying to set the new package up, with multiple examples of the right hand not knowing what the left was doing, or more importantly, saying and offering, and their billing is so opaque that I'm still not sure I'm getting quite the deal price I was offered. Mental note: ask for details in writing in future about what I'm being offered and which department's offering it. Plus they forgot about the new Home Hub they promised till reminded, and they didn't port the mobile number from Orange despite being given the PAC code till they were reminded. They nearly got me charged another month's rental from Orange.

The basic 50 minutes per month of calls is pretty laughable by today's standards, I agree, and 250 for GBP15 which I pay is still not exactly the bargain of the century but more or less adequate for me. I do need more minutes overall, but bear in mind the free evenings and weekends anyway when at home or when near a hot spot or other wifi, and I fill in any gaps should I look like going over my limit or should the signal be bad with an old phone on cheap pay as you go. Add to that a separate 3 Mobile laptop broadband dongle for GBP10 per month and I've managed to cut my real combined home and self employed business phone, TV, broadband and mobile costs from about 120GBP per month to more like 70GBP with the addition of access to the Internet in almost all situations. And I've got a very decent smart phone to replace the truly horrible Samsung U600 thing I used to have from Orange.

Things like live rail information are a doddle to use on the HTC handset, but everything you've heard about Internet Explorer Mobile is true! For true web surfing having the 3 Mobile dongle (and Firefox) is the real answer, but even the tiny laptop I have will not fit into my pocket.

My verdict: nothing in life is perfect, but this is shaping up to be a pretty good package for my needs, and a pretty good smart phone. I probably could have done better last time around, but this time, after a bit of haggling and with the addition of 3 Mobile's nicely cheap broadband dongle, I've been able to greatly increase the functionality I get and also cut the overall home and business bill I pay by nearly half. Always say you're thinking of going elsewhere - it can work wonders!

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