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Sky Mobile vs EE: which is the better network to join in 2022?

Sky Mobile and EE logos with vs lettering

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We compare EE and Sky Mobile head-to-head to see which offers the best 4G/5G coverage, speeds and overall benefits with your deal. Last updated: 1st December 2021.

In our Sky Mobile vs EE guide

Latest offers

Comparing Sky and EE's mobile networks

Coverage compared on EE and Sky Mobile

We look at which has the biggest 3G/4G/5G network

Sky and EE logos with mobile signal bars icon

Sky Mobile have superior call signal, EE superior 4G data

Sky Mobile and Telefonica logos

 

What this means

at Sky.com
(opens in new window)

Where Sky Mobile run on the O2 network, EE own and operate on their own. Which one is superior will depend on whether you mainly use your phone for calls and texts or for 4G data.

Sky Mobile have more of the overall landmass of the UK covered for call signal than EE, and their indoor reception for calls should be better for getting into buildings (this will depend on distance from the mast too).

On the other hand, EE have more of the UK’s landmass covered for 4G (which can also be used for 4G calling) than Sky Mobile, meaning you’re more likely to get a stronger data signal out and about.

For urban dwellers the differences will be hardly noticeable. But commuters and travellers will generally get better call signal on Sky and 4G signal on EE while on the go. Use their coverage checkers to check your area.

Useful link: More about Sky's network

5G on Sky covers more locations than EE

Sky coverage map

Full location list

at sky.com
(opens in new window)

EE and Sky offer 5G and are expanding their 5G networks to cover more and more locations as time goes on. Sky (through O2) has overtaken EE for the sheer amount of locations covered.

Currently, that means you can connect to 5G on Sky in 190+ locations, compared to 160+ on EE. There’s some overlap between them, but some locations are covered on one and not the other.

However, these numbers are changing all the time. And you should bear in mind 5G is only on a street by street basis, and either network may have more of a city covered. Use their coverage checkers to make sure.

Here's the best value 5G deal from each provider currently:

On EE, you can get it on even their cheapest SIM only plans and most 5G-ready phone contracts. It’s now a free add-on with Sky, but it’s a bit of a pain having to add it in your settings.

Useful link: How to get 5G on Sky Mobile

EE and Sky Mobile coverage checkers

Use their official maps below

Sky coverage checker

Sky Mobile coverage checker

Use Sky map

at Sky.com
(opens in new window)

EE coverage checker

EE coverage checker

Use EE map

at EE.co.uk
(opens in new window)

Our verdict on coverage:

Draw

"While EE has much better 4G coverage, Sky benefits from generally better call signal (3G/2G). Sky cover a few more locations, but it will really depend on your area which network has better coverage."

Compare pricing and deals

Data speeds on Sky Mobile vs EE

Are 5G and 4G as fast on Sky as EE?

Speedometer icon with Sky and EE logos

4G consistently faster on EE than Sky

Hello 5G banner

Sky 5G benefits

at Sky.com
(opens in new window)

EE were the first UK network to release 4G, and this experience has given them more time to implement and perfect it. That matches what independent network testers Opensignal.

They get volunteers to have their mobile data speeds measured all around the country. Typical download speeds for EE users were found to be around 44.0 Mbps.

Sky’s speeds (measured through O2 users) were around 17.1 Mbps. That's around low-level fibre home broadband speeds and is enough for internet browsing and standard definition video streaming.

If you’re a more intensive data user, EE are almost always the better choice. But Sky’s speeds should be enough for someone that just wants to browse a bit and listen to music.

Useful link: EE's network awards

5G speeds are slightly faster on EE

EE 5G medal banner

Read 5G speed guide

at EE.co.uk
(opens in new window)

As 5G has become more of a mainstay, the independent testers have been able to get more of an idea of how fast each network’s 5G is. Speedtest are always a reliable place to look (see their report here).

Overall, typical 5G downloads on EE to average-out between 131.9 Mbps and 144.5 Mbps. Sky's host network O2's typical 5G downloads averaged between 110.9 Mbps and 141.3 Mbps.

In both cases, 5G is a massive improvement over their 4G speeds, even outpacing higher end home fibre optic broadband. 5G also eases congestion and lets multiple users on without slowing down.

If you're after bragging rights, EE are the faster of the two. But day-to-day, you'd be unlikely to notice the difference between them unless you're downloading massive files or using it as home broadband.

Useful link: Our guide to the best 5G networks

Our verdict on data speeds:

Easy win for EE

"EE have long been the champions of 4G speeds, and their 5G speeds are also lightning fast. Sky, through O2’s network, is noticeably slower."

Compare pricing and deals

Other network features on EE and Sky Mobile

Is WiFi calling on Sky Mobile as good as EE?

WiFi calling icon between EE and Sky Mobile logos

Sky and EE both have WiFi calling and 4G calling (VoLTE)

EE WiFi calling banner

Check phone support

at EE.co.uk
(opens in new window)

Phone signal can struggle to reach certain places, such as inside buildings or underground. Most networks offer WiFi calling as a provision against indoor blackspots.

When WiFi calling was introduced, EE were the first to offer it. We still rate EE's among the best. They support a huge number of phone models, even ones not bought from them directly (check yours here).

Sky’s WiFi calling isn’t quite as solid. You can’t send SMS text messages over WiFi (you can with EE) and you’re less likely to get it on older phones or phones not bought directly from Sky (see list of supported devices here).

Sky’s WiFi calling annoyingly dropped when we went out of WiFi range to 4G. But if your phone is supported they’re both decent choices.

Useful link: 4G calling on Sky

EE and Sky both have some free WiFi hotspot access

Sky WiFi banner

How to connect

at Sky.com
(opens in new window)

If you’re a London commuter, EE’s free access to the TFL WiFi hotspot scheme can be very useful for saving your data on the go and staying connected where you’d otherwise struggle to get data signal.

While Sky offer no hotspots on the Underground, their Sky WiFi network of hotspots does cover popular areas, like cafés, restaurants, transport hubs and in some shops.

The big downside is that it’s free for everyone to use. That doesn’t sound like a downside, but it means there’s no incentive there to join Sky directly as they offer no exclusive benefits for their hotspot scheme.

It’s nice when mobile networks offer free WiFi hotspot access but with 4G/5G clearly outshining hotspots for speed, with data plans getting bigger and coverage getting wider, they’re just not as necessary anymore.

Useful link: Costs for going over your limit on Sky

Our verdict on network features:

Win for EE

"EE’s WiFi and 4G calling are much better than Sky’s by virtue of being better implemented features. Sky are left playing catch up in terms of phone support and quality of service."

Compare pricing and deals

Comparing benefits on EE vs Sky Mobile

Free streaming data schemes on EE and Sky

Which is the most generous?

Smartphone with video streaming icon between EE and Sky logos

Stream Sky TV without eating data

Devices with unlimited streaming lettering

How it works

at Sky.com
(opens in new window)

If you’re a Sky TV customer, Sky’s Mobile Watch benefit may just be enough of an incentive to join Sky Mobile too. It lets you get the most out of your home package while you’re on the go. Here’s how:

When you stream Sky Go or any of these other Sky TV apps away from WiFi, the data you use won’t come out of your monthly allowance, saving you potentially hundreds of GB over your contract.

Even the very smallest data plan comes with this benefit, so you can essentially get unlimited data for streaming on their apps for very cheap. Here is their current cheapest SIM only plan with the benefit:

There are a few drawbacks. Firstly, adverts on some of their channels will come out of your data allowance and you need to have some data leftover (50MB) for it to work. Otherwise it’s one of our favourite streaming benefits.

Useful link: What the Sky Go app can do

EE have something similar that's harder to get

Man watches content on a laptop

See Video Data Pass

at EE.co.uk
(opens in new window)

EE offer a similar unlimited data streaming service with their Video Data Pass, which lets you stream services like Youtube and BBC iPlayer without eating into your data allowance (see latest full list of apps here).

Like with Sky, you’ll need some data leftover for it to work. But it gives you much more variety than Sky, who only offer it on their own apps and you don’t have to have a TV package for it to work.

The main downside is that you have to be on a plan with Smart benefits. You can now get them on SIM only, which they didn’t offer before. But their plans with Smart benefits are still a bit pricier than their regular plans.

With Sky you get it for free on even the smallest plans, but you need a separate Sky TV package. But EE’s premium plans are very expensive, so we’d say EE are worse in terms of value. But it’s still a good benefit.

Useful link: Our favourite streaming data schemes

Our verdict on free streaming:

Win for Sky

"It really depends on what you want to watch on your phone. EE’s not an awful choice, but Sky give you much better value despite you needing to be a Sky TV customer."

Compare pricing and deals

Roaming compared on Sky Mobile and EE

Which network is better for going abroad?

A globe between Sky and EE logos

Sky no longer offer inclusive EU roaming

Sky Mobile roaming banner

What you get

at Sky.com
(opens in new window)

Sky used to be our number one choice for the best EU roaming network, but now they’ve got rid of their EU roaming policy. Roaming is not included on their plans any more, so you’ll have to pay a daily rate to roam in their EU destinations.

There is no way around this fee and it can get pretty pricey if you’re going away for a while. But at least you can still use your entire data allowance abroad, unlike on most other networks.

They’re not the only network doing this. Most of the main networks (except Sky’s hosts O2) and a few other smaller providers have also got rid of their free EU roaming. But there are quite a few that still offer it as standard.

If you’re looking to go beyond the EU, then Sky aren’t a terrible choice. It’s not inclusive, but they charge you the same daily rate as roaming in the EU. Compared to some networks that works out quite cheap. But overall, their roaming has got worse.

Useful link: Full roaming costs per country on sky

EE offer EU roaming as a premium benefit only

Flags of country with roam further pass icon

See countries list

at EE.co.uk
(opens in new window)

As we said above, most of the main UK networks no longer offer free EU roaming, and EE is one of them. If you join them on a new contract you’ll have to pay a daily rate to roam in the EU.

There’s only one way of getting out of paying this daily rate and that’s to get their Roaming pass as a Smart benefit. But paying for a premium plan in order to get out of paying a daily rate is hardly a benefit.

EE are very low in our rankings for the best EU roaming networks because of this. However, their roaming pass gets you free roaming in 5 extra worldwide destinations (including the USA) on top of their EU destinations.

Choose a Roam Further pass as your Smart benefit with any of these plans:

Between the two networks, only EE offer inclusive roaming in the EU but that only comes on their premium Smart Plans. For worldwide roaming it will depend on which destination you’re going to.

Useful link: All roaming costs on EE

Our verdict on roaming:

Win for EE

"These days neither network offers free EU roaming. But EE do offer it on premium plans, while there’s no way of getting around the daily rate on Sky. Worldwide roaming might be cheaper on Sky, but that depends where you’re going. In the end it’s a slight win for EE."

Compare pricing and deals

Unused data on Sky vs EE

Here's what other benefits you get on each

A wallet between Sky and EE logos

Sky let you bank up your unused data

Piggybank showing saved data

Read full guide

at Sky.com
(opens in new window)

Your data use will vary month-by-month. Most users won’t use up their entire monthly data allowance, so it’s nice when provider offer data rollover which lets you hold onto the data you don’t use.

Both Sky and EE offer it. But Sky offer a very clever system called a “piggybank” where you essentially bank up unused data for use later on. It stays there for up to three years and you can withdraw 1GB at a time.

You can even share data with other users on your account, so if you’ve got kids who’ve run out, you can give them some to prevent extra charges. Or you can use it to get money off the cost of a new phone or tablet with Sky.

This comes as standard on all of Sky’s plans and it’s a really nice way to get the most out of your data and to avoid paying extra if you’re clever with your usage. It’s the best data rollover system on the market.

Useful link: Sky's full guide to their Piggybank system

EE's data gifting is similar but you do lose unused data

EE data giting banner with phones sharing data

How it works

at EE.co.uk
(opens in new window)

Like Sky, you can share data to other users on your account if one user has some spare and another one needs some. It's called data gifting.

It’s better in one way than Sky’s, in that you don’t have to wait for the data to be banked up as you can just straight up share data from one user to another from their monthly allowance.

EE only offer “proper” data rollover on their pay as you go plans. For pay monthly customers, the data you don’t use by the end of the month is gone forever.

Useful link: EE’s full guide to data gifting

Prices and plans compared

SIM only on Sky Mobile vs EE

Do EE or Sky have better SIM only deals?

SIM card between Sky and EE logos

Networks

Providers:

Three logo
ASDA logo
BT Mobile logo
EE logo
giffgaff logo
Honest logo
ID logo
IQ logo
Lebara logo
O2 logo
Plusnet logo
Sky logo
SMARTY logo
Talkmobile logo
Tesco logo
Virgin Mobile logo
Vodafone logo
VOXI logo

Plan

Data: (0MB+)

Minutes: (0+)

Contract

Maximum length: (Any)

Added features

Special offers on Sky Mobile

Which has the best promotions this month?

Special offer ribbon with Sky and EE logos

Phone contracts on Sky Mobile vs EE

Which has the better phone deals?

Smartphone between EE and Sky logos

Sky's phone contracts offer low monthly costs and great flexibility

Screenshot of credit check

What they check

at Sky.com
(opens in new window)

With Sky, you’re able to get phone contracts on credit agreements (essentially loans) to spread the cost of your device over either a 24-month or 36-month contract depending on your choice, adding your SIM only plan on top of that.

This means they’re able to offer competitive monthly payments, as they can spread the cost of a device over a longer time to reduce how much you’ll pay per month, and you get more flexibility with your SIM plan.

It also means after your first 12 months, you can cancel your SIM with Sky and move to another network, while still paying for your phone. You can also pay your phone off early and upgrade without early cancellation fees.

Sky also offer a Swap Scheme, where you can trade in your phone for an early upgrade. However, this doesn’t really appeal to us, as you can usually get better value just selling your current phone elsewhere.

Useful link: Use our phone deal comparison tool

EE phone contracts are simpler

Screenshot of phone comparison tool

Compare phone contracts

at simsherpa.com
(opens in new window)

There’s a few ways of getting a phone contract on EE. You can go directly to their website or you can choose to buy through a reseller like Carphone Warehouse, Mobiles.co.uk or Fonehouse.

In any case, you’ll get on what we call a conventional mobile contract: you pay off the cost of your phone over a 24 month period with your usage (minutes, texts, data) bundled into the overall monthly cost.

This means EE’s contracts are less flexible and you can’t leave early without paying termination charges. But since it’s not a finance agreement, it could be easier to get a phone contract with EE if you have a bad credit history.

The biggest benefit to joining EE on a phone contract is accessing their network, rather than the contracts themselves (here you can compare EE’s contracts directly against going with a reseller, usually the resellers are cheaper).

Useful link: EE's pay monthly phone range

Our verdict on phone contracts:

Minor win for Sky

"Comparing the two directly, Sky will always win on price and flexibility. You can get some decent deals going with a reseller, but you’re generally best off with Sky."

Compare pricing and deals

More Sky Mobile guides

More guides about EE