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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: 15th September 2022.

In our Sky Mobile vs EE guide

Latest offers

Comparing Sky and EE's mobile networks

Coverage compared on Sky Mobile vs EE

We compare the 3G/4G/5G coverage on both networks

Sky and EE logos with mobile signal bars icon

Sky Mobile’s have wider 3G/2G coverage, EE wider 4G coverage

Sky Mobile and Telefonica logos

 

What this means

at Sky.com
(opens in new window)

EE supply their customers signal using their own network, while Sky Mobile piggyback off the O2 network. Your preference between them will come down to whether you need better call signal or 4G data coverage.

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).

But EE offer the most widespread 4G data coverage of all UK networks (which you can use for 4G calling as well) and therefore more than Sky Mobile, especially as you move 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

Sky may have 5G in more locations than EE

Sky coverage map

Full location list

at sky.com
(opens in new window)

Both networks are rapidly expanding their 5G to more and more locations within the UK. For now it’s Sky that claim to cover more places for 5G.

You’ll get 5G on Sky in these 190+ locations, compared to 160+ on EE. There’s some overlap between them, but some locations are covered on one and not the other.

What complicates this is the fact that EE only declare a location when 50% of its area is covered by 5G. That means EE tend to have stronger coverage within their locations, and may cover more locations than Sky.

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

That’s why EE is our number one network for 5G coverage. But in any case, you get 5G on any EE SIM only plan or 5G-ready phone contract. On Sky you have to add it to your account. It’s free to do, but a bit of a pain.

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:

Slight EE win

"It’s more important for networks to offer good 4G signal these days, and EE have by far the better 4G coverage by far. Since 4G calling is a standard feature, Sky’s stronger call signal isn’t as impressive any more and EE’s 5G coverage is just a bit better.”

Compare pricing and deals

Data speeds on EE vs Sky Mobile

Which network gets you the faster 4G/5G speeds?

Speedometer icon with Sky and EE logos

4G is typically much faster on EE than Sky

Hello 5G banner

Sky 5G benefits

at Sky.com
(opens in new window)

It makes sense that EE are the best network for 4G, as they were the first network to bring theirs out. Using results from independent network testers Opensignal, we can see what sorts of speeds you can expect on either network.

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.

Speeds on Sky (using O2’s speed results) were a comparatively low 17.1 Mbps. That’s still fast enough for light browsing needs and lets you stream standard definition videos fairly comfortably.

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)

Now that 5G is getting more and more common, network testers can get a better idea of what sorts of 5G speeds you can expect on each network. Both Opensignal and Speedtest are go-to testers for us.

Typical 5G speeds on EE lie between 131.9 Mbps - 158.30 Mbps, where on Sky you get between 110.9 Mbps - 127.97 Mbps. It’s worth noting that Sky’s 5G results have been going down over time, while EE’s have gone up.

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 are by far the fastest network for 4G speeds and have been for a while. And their 5G has got much faster too. Compare that to Sky who offer the slowest 4G speeds and some relatively underwhelming 5G speeds. An easy EE win here."

Compare pricing and deals

Other network features on EE and Sky Mobile

Which network offers the best WiFi/4G calling?

WiFi calling icon between EE and Sky Mobile logos

EE and Sky Mobile offer both WiFi/4G calling as standard

EE WiFi calling banner

Check phone support

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

Sometimes call signal can struggle to get through building materials, meaning you could find yourself with weak or no signal at all inside buildings. WiFi calling is used to remedy this.

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 scheme is a little limited in comparison. They don’t let you send SMS messages over WiFi signal (while EE do) and they don’t support as many old phone models or models not bought directly from them (see their list 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

Both EE and Sky have WiFi hotspot networks

Sky WiFi banner

How to connect

at Sky.com
(opens in new window)

If you’re based in London and often use the Underground, then you might like the free access to the TFL WiFi hotspot scheme that EE offer on all plans. It keeps you connected on the go, and can save you a bit of data.

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.

It’s worth knowing with Sky’s scheme that anyone can use it. There’s nothing exclusive for Sky Mobile customers, so it’s not really an incentive for people to join Sky Mobile.

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 any more.

Useful link: Costs for going over your limit on Sky

Our verdict on network features:

Win for EE

"WiFi and 4G calling are better implemented features on EE and work a bit more smoothly than on Sky. For extra network features, Sky Mobile have some catching up to do."

Compare pricing and deals

Comparing benefits on EE vs Sky Mobile

Unlimited data streaming benefits on Sky Mobile vs EE

Comparing streaming data benefits on both networks

Smartphone with video streaming icon between EE and Sky logos

You can stream Sky TV apps without using your data

Devices with unlimited streaming lettering

How it works

at Sky.com
(opens in new window)

Sky reward their TV customers by helping them get the most out of their home TV package with their Sky Mobile Watch benefit. This might be enough of a draw for Sky TV customers to join Sky Mobile. Here’s how it works:

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.

What’s even better is that you get the benefit on every plan, even the smallest one. This means you can stream as much as you want for cheap The deal below is their current cheapest SIM only plan that gets you 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 offer a similar benefit on premium plans

Man watches content on a laptop

See Video Data Pass

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

You can get a similar benefit on EE by taking their Video Data Pass. With this you can stream apps like BBC iPlayer and Youtube without using up your allowance at all (see all the apps they cover here).

Like with Sky, you’ll need some data left over 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.

What’s not so good about this benefit is that you have to join on a premium Smart Plan to get it. These are slightly pricier SIM only and phone plans that give you an extra benefit of your choice.

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

"If you’ve got Sky TV at home, then Sky’s benefit is much better than EE’s. But EE’s Video Data Pass is still quite good if you’re willing to invest a bit of money for it. Still, we like that Sky’s benefit comes on every plan."

Compare pricing and deals

Roaming compared on Sky Mobile and EE

Do either network allow you to use your regular allowance abroad?

A globe between Sky and EE logos

Sky Mobile have got rid of their inclusive EU roaming

Sky Mobile roaming banner

What you get

at Sky.com
(opens in new window)

Sky Mobile have joined the list of networks that have got rid of their inclusive EU roaming policies, and so have gone way down in our rankings for the best roaming networks.

They used to be our number one pick for EU roaming, as they used to let you use your entire allowance while abroad in a good number of EU destinations at no extra cost. But now you have to pay a daily fee.

It’s now £2 a day to roam in their EU destinations and their worldwide destinations. While that makes their EU roaming much worse, it’s actually a massive improvement to their worldwide roaming.

You still get to use your whole allowance abroad and you get 4G data while there. Unfortunately their Sky Watch benefit doesn’t work abroad. So, Sky are much worse for EU roaming now, but their worldwide roaming is quite good.

Useful link: Full roaming costs per country on sky

EE no longer offer inclusive EU roaming

Flags of country with roam further pass icon

See countries list

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

New EE customers now have to pay a daily fee while roaming abroad to access their regular allowance of minutes, texts and data. You’ll no longer EU roaming included for no extra cost.

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

Because of the change, we moved EE far down in our best EU roaming networks rankings. But if you get their Roam Abroad pass, you can roam in 5 extra worldwide destinations for no added cost, as well as their EU ones.

You can get their Roam Abroad pass as a Smart Benefit on these plans:

If you’re just hopping over to the continent, you’re paying more without much added benefit with EE. Other than their extra destinations, EE’s roaming is just worse than Sky’s.

Useful link: All roaming costs on EE

Our verdict on roaming:

Draw

"Neither network offers free inclusive EU roaming any more. EE’s Roam Abroad pass can save you from paying their daily fee, but these come on more-expensive plans anyway. We can’t say either are good for EU roaming, but they’re alright for worldwide roaming."

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 keep unused data for up to 3 years!

Piggybank showing saved data

Read full guide

at Sky.com
(opens in new window)

It’s likely that you won’t use the same amount of data from month-to-month. So it’s nice when networks give you another chance to get through any unused data after the month is up. This is called data rollover.

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.

Sky even let you share the data in your piggybank with other users on your account. That’s a great way of preventing extra charges. And you can even turn in your data for discounts on new phone or tablet deals 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 let you gift data, but you’ll lose your unused data

EE data giting banner with phones sharing data

How it works

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

EE offer a similar benefit to Sky’s called data gifting. This lets you share data with users on the same account if one user needs some and another has some they won’t end up using.

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.

You can even share data if you’re on an unlimited data plan (but there is a cap to this). And every new plan you add to your account gives you a 1GB data boost that you can also share with other users.

But you can only get “real” data rollover with EE’s pay as you go monthly bundles. Pay monthly customers get no such benefit, meaning your unused data is lost at the end of each month.

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+)

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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

What sorts of phone contracts can you get on either network?

Smartphone between EE and Sky logos

Sky offer more flexibility and lower monthly costs

Screenshot of credit check

What they check

at Sky.com
(opens in new window)

Sky offer their phone contracts on credit agreements (think of these as loans) that divide the cost of your phone over a 24-month or 36-month contract. You can choose your contract length and your SIM plan as well.

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.

That means you can leave your SIM plan on Sky after your first 12 months are up. You can move to an entirely different network while still paying Sky for your device. And you can pay the cost of your loan and upgrade early if you want.

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 offer more traditional phone contracts

Screenshot of phone comparison tool

Compare phone contracts

at simsherpa.com
(opens in new window)

These days you can only get an EE phone contract from their website directly as there are no third party resellers offering EE phone deals anymore.

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.

As such, EE offer less overall flexibility with their contracts. You can’t pay off your phone early nor leave your plan without paying termination charges. But it might be easier to pass a credit check as it’s not on a finance agreement.

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

"Sky win in the two ways that matter the most. They offer greater flexibility at lower costs. And we think Sky will generally work out cheaper most of the time."

Compare pricing and deals

More Sky Mobile guides

More guides about EE