Yesterday I spoke about the challenges of getting connected to the internet after moving to London and three of the major telecoms companies offering Internet connection services in the UK.
Today I’m going to touch on BT (British Telecom). Not only is BT the oldest telecommunications company in the world, it’s probably one of the top choices for expats moving to London looking to get Internet, phone, TV and satellite channels after moving into a new flat or home.
I tested a few of the sign up processes from other ISPs and found them rather difficult. Here’s what happened when I tried to sign up for BT…
First step – Email address: Easy peasy! – this doesn’t have to be a UK email address: I used my gmail address and it was accepted.
Second step – Your personal information – a pretty standard form, but they do ask for a mobile number registered in the UK, AND a BT account number – which seems a little odd since you’re applying online for an account number in the first place – hey, no one said this moving malarky was going to be easy!
One feels thwarted somewhat when you can’t get the answers you need or find the information that can help you sign up and get connected. The BT Help page doesn’t give you much information about the process, but you can speak to a client services rep during office hours to guide you through the process.
Step Three – Rather than try and sign up for MyBT, I decided to dive right in and choose a broadband package on the website and apply that way. You can choose any package you like, including phone, Internet and TV for very reasonable rates and complete the application online. There is an option to get a BT line installed if you don’t have one yet and this seemed to be the perfect solution until I hit a roadblock – MY London POSTCODE!
You have to know your postcode and address to complete the sign up process. This is why we always say that your accommodation is the very first step in any transaction in the UK. You really can’t do much – that includes bank accounts, school registrations etc, without having a signed lease on a property in London.
There are a couple of reasons why I’ve listed all the quick links on the BT site. Though they aren’t particularly ‘expat-friendly’, they may be a necessary part of your relocation. Even if you choose to go with another service provider like Virgin or O2, you still may have to sign up for a BT phone line first. It depends on your area (postcode) and your plan, but the entire process can take up to a month to be finalised, so it’s worth contacting BT as soon as you have your new home address to get things moving.
Tomorrow we’ll be talking about signing up for a mobile phone plan when moving to London – you can’t use International Roaming from your home country – it’ll kill your budget. We’re talking a nasty surprise of hundreds or even thousands of dollars in data charges if you use your International Calling plan from your country of origin.
There are a couple of service providers who only need your passport to get you signed up for a Pay As You Go data solution and that can be arranged within a day if you visit the stores in person.
Keep connected – Belinda