BT FON – not a great business model

I don’t have wifi at home.

I go out to work and come home to relax and spend time with my son. If I had wifi at home I’d never be able to relax – I’d always find some reason to be on the laptop.

I don’t have a TV either – if I want to watch something it’s usually available somewhere.

Anyways. Last week my son was ill for a couple of days and I urgently needed to do things online. Conveniently, a new BTFON network had appeared the day before. So I spent £5 for a 24h pass Monday afternoon, thinking I’d be able to use this all of Tuesday while staying home with J, so would get things done.

The network however disappeared after about 5 hours of me using it and didn’t come back all of Tuesday.

When it returned on Wednesday, J was back in school, I was back in the office, and my 24 hour credit had run out. I wrote a mail to BTFON customer service, got a 24 hour pass to make up for this, but again, a couple of hours after me logging in to use it, the network disappears.

Obviously the user of the modem just switched it off over night and when it wasn’t used, which is perfectly reasonable. What is not reasonable for BT is to offer a service and charge for it when it has no power and doesn’t even claim to have any power over the service being available.

I then tweeted about this and @BTcare got in touch, which is nice. Here’s my exchange with them. (Some of them are DMs so can’t be linked to.)

@the_anke Home with sick child. BTFON not working. Ah well… Got knitting to do.
7:52 AM Oct 20th from Echofon

@BTCare @the_anke Oh dear, having problems with BT FON, DM me your details and I can look into this for you.
1:22 PM Oct 28th from API

@the_anke @BTCare
I buy 24 hr BT FON access, but can’t use the network for more than 4 hours, you need to let me use the credit when the network is there.
9:07 PM Oct 28th

@BTCare @the_anke Hi, what area does this happen in?
3:17 PM Oct 28th from API

@the_anke D BTCare N8 xxx. This is most likely a private shared modem that gets switched off when it’s not used.
3:26 PM Oct 28th

@BTCare @the_anke The Openzone pass can only guarantee a connection to Openzone hotspots, not BT FON, as they are customer controlled.
6:55 PM Oct 28th

@BTCare @the_anke The Openzone hotspots are guaranteed, as if there is a fault BT will repair. BT FON is customer based equipment.
7:49 PM Oct 28th

@the_anke @BTCare However they both go up and down simulationeously. How can BT charge for a service it can’t guarantee? That’s a really bad idea.
7:27 PM Oct 28th

Oh dear, you may wish to view full information and FAQ’s on the BT FON services, if so go Online at:
8:56 AM Oct 29th

@the_anke Ok that’s it. Thanks @btcare for engaging re. #btfon nonsense (I pay for 24h, network disappears) – but “oh dear, pls read t’s&c’s”??
9:05 AM Oct 29th from Echofon

@the_anke If a business model is not sound, it’s not sound. That goes for @btcare or anyone. Full blog post coming up.
9:06 AM Oct 29th from Echofon

This, in the end, felt like a pisstake

BTCare @the_anke If you need any further help please tweet anytime..
9:49 AM Oct 29th from API


One response to “BT FON – not a great business model

  1. I spent nearly four hours on The phone to these guys trying to get five pound back after They charged me twice. I was transferred 26 times, hung up on 6 times and by The end of it I was still owed my five pound. I emailed customer care who has eventually agreed to give me my five pound back. I expressed how dissatisfied i was with The customer service and how i was considering getting bt wifi until now and They sent me an email back asking me to complete a questionnaire which consisted of “satisfied or dissatisfied”. They are a real Piss take and care nothing for these customers.

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