Sky Mobile review 2023: a great customer service record
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We joined Sky Mobile for real on SIM only to see how their 4G/5G coverage and data speeds shape up and try out their added benefits. Last updated: 22nd May 2023.
SIM Sherpa rates Sky Mobile as a very good option
(3.5/5, very good)
"We found being on Sky Mobile a very slick experience. Ordering’s easy, their app is great and everything just works out-of-the box. It’s easy to see why they have among the fewest customer service complaints.
They're not the fastest network for data speeds but the 5G rollout is helping. For calls and texts, we don’t think there’s a provider out there with better coverage. WiFi calling steps in when needed too.
Removing inclusive EU roaming has dented Sky’s score with us. Their daily charge will make travel to the continent more expensive, though it works out very competitively in popular non-EU destinations.
But there are plenty more extra benefits to Sky Mobile that keep our rating high. Keep data for 3 years, stream Sky TV without using data and very-well priced, flexible phone contracts. There’s a lot to like about Sky."
The 3 best bits
1) Excellent UK coverage
2) Unlimited Sky TV app streaming
3) Keep mobile data you haven't used
The 3 worst bits
1) EU roaming charges re-introduced
2) Slower than average 4G speeds
3) No free Sky TV content
Is Sky Mobile legit?
Absolutely. Sky are an absolutely massive company and their mobile product is one of the slickest virtual mobile operations in the country. They’re 100% legit.
How long is a Sky Mobile contract?
It depends on the product. Their SIM only plans are on 12-month contracts. Their phone contracts are 36 months long (Swap24) or 24 months (Swap12). Tablet contracts can even be 36 months or 48 months!
Which network does Sky Mobile use?
Sky use the O2 network. They access O2’s 2G, 3G, 4G and 5G networks.
Can I port my number to Sky Mobile?
Absolutely. It works the same as any other network. Text your old provider on your old SIM with the word PAC to 65075 and give the code to Sky when you join or at any point in your contract.
What happens at the end of a Sky Mobile contract?
You’ll continue to pay for your monthly airtime (your SIM with its minutes, texts and data) on a rolling basis. If you had a device as part of a phone or contract tablet, that will be paid off and you will no longer have to pay for it.
In our Sky Mobile review
- Overall rating
Sky Mobile's network
Coverage: great signal indoors and outdoors on Sky
✔ Most areas covered on Sky’s signal map Check signal here
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Sky Mobile are a wholly separate brand from O2, however they still use O2’s network to provide 2G/3G/4G/5G signal. That’s definitely a good thing when it comes to coverage:
You should stay connected to call signal (2G/3G) most of the time on Sky Mobile, unless you’re somewhere geographically odd. They also broadcast these signals on frequencies that are great at getting indoors into buildings.
4G data signal on Sky Mobile is probably a little less extensive than rivals EE and Vodafone. Sky’s coverage in urban areas is usually as good as most other networks, but you can find yourself booted down to 3G rurally.
We used a Sky Mobile SIM to do some spot checks in rural and urban areas, just to see what you can expect in real life. Our testing found no built-in differences between Sky Mobile and their hosts O2.
To test Sky’s coverage in real life, we took our Sky Mobile SIM to different locations out in the sticks and in the city centre. We didn’t find Sky’s coverage any worse than being on O2 directly.
We were hardly ever booted down to 3G signal (H or H+) rather than 4G data signal in urban areas.
Their indoor coverage is also genuinely impressive. We didn’t lose call signal in any part of the house on Sky. With some networks you have to stand next to a window or outside to make calls, but not on Sky.
It’s worth using Sky’s coverage map here to check signal anywhere you expect to use your phone, such as at home, at work or anywhere else you’ll end up going.
Useful link: Read differences between Sky and O2
4G speeds: they’re a bit of a letdown on Sky
✔ Sky offer fast 5G to help thisLatest 5G news
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Sky may have great signal coverage courtesy of their network hosts, but data speeds are less of an impressive story. Sky unfortunately use the slowest UK network for typical 4G speeds.
This is confirmed by network testers Opensignal. Their latest report predicts typical 4G speeds on Sky Mobile sitting at 16.8 Mbps, by using O2. That makes them the slowest network by a significant margin.
We did some speed tests of our own in different locations, and our average wasn’t too different from Opensignal’s measurements. We averaged between 16.95 - 18.00 Mbps over 4G.
In some areas our speeds went as low as 5 Mbps while we got up to 90 Mbps in the city centre. We rarely went above or below that range. 4G speeds were slower than on other networks, but it’s not always massively noticeable.
That’s especially the case when you’re just browsing the internet or social media. We were even able to stream HD Youtube videos without buffering, so it’s not like you’ll be slowing to a crawl on Sky.
When we compared speeds on our Sky SIM to our O2 SIM directly using the same phone in the same locations, we didn’t notice any evidence of a speed cap on Sky vs being on O2.
That’s similar to the speeds you’d get over lower mid-range broadband. You’ll usually be able to stream HD videos without too much buffering, but data-heavy things like file-sharing will be noticeably slower.
Most users shouldn’t run into issues with Sky’s speeds where 4G signal is strong, but their speeds won’t blow you away either.
Useful link: What difference having 5G will make
5G: Sky’s coverage is good but speeds aren’t great
✔ Typically great coverage in 5G areasFind 5G locations
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O2 are constantly expanding their 5G network, which is certainly a good thing for Sky. They offer access to O2’s fast, widespread 5G network on every plan so long as your phone is a 5G-ready device.
Sky offer identical 5G coverage to their hosts, meaning you can get 5G in a massive 750+ UK towns and cities. And coverage in these locations tends to be good, but is still on a street by street basis.
It’s very simple to get the 5G add-on with your plan. You just need to add it to your account on their website. After that you’ll get immediate access to 5G. Look out for this:
When we tested with our iPhone we got 5G in the exact areas that Sky claimed we would. However, their map doesn’t show signal strength. So you can’t get a good picture of how good 5G will be in your area.
When we tested 5G speeds at the fringes of signal coverage, we got speeds of 17 Mbps, slower than being on strong 4G signal. But we got super fast speeds near to a transmitter in a train station:
Android users might struggle a bit with getting 5G to work. Our manufacturer-bought Motorola phone didn’t work for 5G with Sky no matter what we tried, and we even had to set up 4G in the settings.
Speedtest by Ookla and Opensignal show typical 5G speeds on Sky sit between 80.57 Mbps - 92.3 Mbps with peak speeds of 214.2 Mbps. Their speeds have gone down over time, but they’re better than what you get over 4G.
We did struggle to get 5G to work on 5G-ready Android models not bought from Sky directly. You can check their supported device list here. If your device is supported then they’re a good network to join if 5G is a priority.
Useful link: How to get Sky's 5G
WiFi/4G calling: Sky are a step behind other networks
✔ Few compatible phone modelsSee supported phones
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While call signal (3G/2G) is usually a strength on Sky Mobile, you can still run into indoor blackspots on any network, especially if there are obstructions between you and the mast. A strong WiFi calling scheme can help with this.
This lets you connect to calls over WiFi instead of conventional call signal. Sky offer this as well as 4G calling which does the same thing with 4G. Their scheme is decent, but a bit behind these networks.
We couldn’t get WiFi calling to work with our Samsung Galaxy S7 that we got from the manufacturer themselves. The devices not on this list probably won’t work with Sky’s WiFi calling.
When we tested an iPhone 7 with the same SIM we got WiFi calling to work without a problem. However we could only get it to “kick in” when we had no call signal whatsoever.
Sky say you can transfer a call from WiFi signal to 4G signal without it dropping, but we couldn’t get this to work in our real life tests.
If you can get it working then it’s a decent feature. However, you can’t send or receive texts over WiFi and you can’t transfer from a WiFi call to a 4G call without it dropping. It works best if you stay still.
You can check Sky’s help page here to see if your device is supported before you join them. They support most iPhone models, but the lack of Androids supported might be a pain for Android users.
Useful link: Sky's WiFi calling help page
Other network features: Sky offer a few handy ones
✔ Loads of free WiFi hotspots on SkySee nearby hotspots
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It’s worth knowing what other network features you do and don’t get with Sky, so you can know if they’re the right network for you:
Sky offer lots of free WiFi hotspots around the UK, which are handy for saving data on the go. However, anyone can access these, not just Sky Mobile users. So it’s not really a benefit of joining Sky.
Tethering is also allowed without limits, letting you turn your phone into a personal hotspot to connect non-data devices to. But this will eat your data quicker and Sky don’t offer unlimited data plans.
Call forwarding is also allowed on Sky Mobile, meaning you can forward incoming calls onto a different number. This is convenient if you want to keep your SIM free from receiving calls.
Visual voicemail is also available on Sky Mobile. This lets you sort through your voicemails individually on-screen rather than listening through all of them. You can also customise your voicemail message.
Sky do miss out on eSIMs, however. These are largely restricted to the biggest networks for now, but we could see Sky bringing out eSIMs relatively soon.
Useful link: Best networks for WiFi hotspots
Sky Mobile benefits
Sky have our favourite free data streaming benefit
✔ It’s their best benefit by farRead full details
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Sky offer unlimited streaming data for their TV apps on every phone and SIM only contract. This lets you stream these apps on mobile data, without eating into your monthly allowance.
It’s really generous, letting you stream your favourite films and series on the go without having to worry about how much data you’re using. When we tested it we found it worked just as we expected it to:
To test out whether or not their unlimited streaming was really unlimited we left the Sky Sports app streaming on data for a few hours.
We came back after letting it stream for three hours and our phone claimed we had got through 3GB of data, which would have eaten up our entire monthly allowance:
But when we checked our data allowance, we saw that we hadn’t used a single MB of our monthly allowance, even after coming back to it a few days later:
When they say unlimited, they mean unlimited. We tested it using our Virgin TV log in for Sky, so that means the benefit works even if you’re not necessarily a Sky TV customer as the benefit applies to the app.
You’ll usually eat through your data allowance very fast by streaming video, so you can save a lot of data each month with this benefit. What’s even better is that it’s also included on their cheapest plan:
The only main drawbacks are that you need some data left to use this benefit, it doesn’t work abroad and you do need to have a Sky TV subscription. But other than that it’s a fantastic benefit.
Useful link: Read our full Sky Mobile Watch review
Data rollover: Sky have the best scheme of all networks
✔ 3 years to use up your leftover dataHow 'Roll' works
from Sky's detailed guide
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If you don’t know, data rollover is a feature that adds your unused data from one month onto your next one (see our guide here). It comes on every Sky plan and we think theirs is the best scheme of all UK networks.
Usually networks that offer data rollover only give you one month to get through your unused data. However, Sky give you 3 years(!) to use up your leftover data.
Usually we use less data than what we get out of our monthly plan. That means we’ve piled up lots and lots of unused data, which you can view like a bank statement on your Sky Mobile account:
It’s easy to manage your piggybank. All you have to do is log into your account and it should show up as one of the first options there.
You can withdraw your data from your piggybank when you or another user on your account has used all their data. You can gift as much as you want to any user you want. But it does take a bit of time to go through.
Sky even let you cash in your rolled over data for discounts on a new device or accessory from Sky’s store:
Sky Mobile’s piggybank scheme is easy to use and is very helpful for helping you get the best value for your data. You can see all the details in their guide here if you’re unsure of anything.
Any data you haven’t used at the end of the month goes into your piggybank. So when you or a user on your account have used up their data you can withdraw some 1GB at a time. It’s great for avoiding extra charges.
Sky let you gift your rolled over data to other users on the same account, or you can use it to get a discount on a new device from Sky. In all, we think a lot of users will like the sound of this scheme.
Useful link: Read Sky's full guide to how data rollover works
Roaming: Sky aren’t great for EU but are good for worldwide
✖ Roaming now costs extraSee the latest countries
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Sky removed inclusive EU roaming from their plans a while ago. You have to pay for every day you use your allowance abroad in these 40 EU/EEA destinations.
It’s £2 a day to roam in their EU destinations. While there you can use up to your entire allowance as Sky don’t have a fair usage policy. Still, the lack of inclusive roaming puts them in last place on our list.
Roaming was turned on automatically, so we didn’t have to go fiddling around in our account settings to get it working.
Right after turning off airplane mode we received a text from Sky welcoming us and informing us of the costs to roam in the destination we were in.
We got 4G where we expected we would and both signal strength and data speeds were healthy.
In all, we appreciate the fact that Sky Mobile’s EU roaming works seamlessly, just like being in the UK. But we have yet to test outside the EU.
One upside is that this £2 a day rate also applies when you roam in these worldwide destinations. That’s pretty great value for roaming beyond the EU, however going anywhere else does get expensive fast.
On the one hand their better worldwide roaming gives customers a reason to stay with them, while on the other hand they’ve taken away a key benefit of their plans. We see it as an overall negative change.
Useful link: See all Sky Mobile roaming costs and charges
Shared / family plans: their data gifting is very handy
✔ Share data with users on your accountHere's how it works
from Sky's own guide
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Sky Mobile let you have up to 5 different plans on one account. This is helpful for families or a tight-knit group of friends who want to keep their plans in one place through one billpayer.
You don’t get any direct discounts on extra plans added to your account, but you can share your rolled over data with them if need be (hence why they’re on our best mobile family plans list).
Gifting data is a great way to stop users going over their monthly allowance if another user doesn’t get through much of theirs. That can stop heavy data users from racking up a large bill for extra data.
It works well, but we think most people would prefer a discount on added plans, like SMARTY’s 10% off extra plans. And you don’t get the same level of flexibility as you do with EE’s data gifting scheme.
Useful link: How sharing unused data works
What other benefits you get on Sky Mobile
✔ Flexible extra spending caps on SkyHow to set a cap
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It’s worth knowing all the smaller benefits of a network before joining them, as these can come in handy now and again.
While every network has to let you set a cap on extra spending, Sky give you extra flexibility with these by letting you set a cap between £0 - £100 in £1 increments. This is handy for avoiding nasty extra charges.
You can also switch your plan up or down every month on Sky. If you switch to a bigger plan it will change right away, while you’ll have to wait until your next bill date to switch to a smaller plan.
Sky also won’t increase the cost of your plan as long as you stay on it. That also applies to their 36-month phone contracts, which is generous of them.
Overall, Sky offer a bit of added flexibility with your plan which just makes things a lot easier to manage.
Useful link: See costs for going over limits on Sky
What you don’t get on Sky Mobile
You might think that Sky would offer free subscriptions to their services for joining their mobile network. But you’d be wrong (but existing customers benefit from their unlimited streaming data).
EE offer subscriptions to Apple TV+, Apple Music, Netflix, BT Sport. And Vodafone include a subscription to Amazon Prime, Youtube Premium or Spotify Premium on their Entertainment plans.
Extra data can get expensive on Sky, with their 1GB add-on costing £6 a month. The fact that they also don’t offer any unlimited data plans means that heavy data users might end up spending a lot on extra data.
You will also have to pass a credit check to join a Sky Mobile plan, which might be hard if you’ve missed payments in the past. There are no PAYG bundles or any other ways around this on Sky.
Sky offer add-ons to reduce the cost of their international calls. But these cost £3 a month and you’re not getting international calls included, just a reduction. So Sky aren’t a great choice for calling abroad.
Useful link: The best networks for free subscriptions
Sky Mobile deals and plans
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✔ Sky’s finance based phone deals have their ups and downs
Sky’s phone contracts are all based around finance agreements, which are essentially loans Sky give you to buy a phone from them. You’ll pay off this loan over 24 months (Swap12) or 36 months (Swap24).
It might be tempting to join on a 36 month contract as the monthly payments are lower, but the total cost of your phone will be higher on these. If you pay over 24 months you’ll pay more per month, but less overall.
It can be quite hard to get accepted for a Sky Mobile phone contract. They’ll check your credit score and run an affordability test, and if you’ve missed other bill payments in the past you’ll probably be rejected.
One major upside of Sky’s contracts is that you’re free to pay off the cost of your device early so you can upgrade or leave your contract (you will have to stay on it for at least 12 months, however). We go into this more detail below.
✔ Sky also let you upgrade to a new device a year early
✔ Trade in your phone to pay off your loanHow 'Swap' works
from Sky's guide
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Sky let you leave or upgrade early after 12 months (Swap 12) or 24 months (Swap 24) by paying you to return your phone to them. The best case scenario is you paying off your loan entirely, and upgrading right away.
But this scheme has more downsides than upsides. Firstly, after 12 or 24 months you’ve already paid off most of your loan. So there’s no point selling the phone you’ve almost paid off just to get a new one.
Secondly, if your device is in even somewhat worse condition than what Sky expect then they may not pay you the whole amount, meaning it won’t cover the cost of your loan. You’ll still be paying for a phone you no longer have.
Thirdly, there are ways of getting more value out of your phone. You can sell it through a 2nd hand retailer and get more money back than Sky would give you by waving your loan.
Useful link: Read more to see if Swap is right for you
Pay As You Go: Sky don’t offer it
Sky haven’t offered a way to pay as you go on their network since their now long defunct “Pay As You Use” scheme. You have to join on a contract on Sky Mobile.
giffgaff are a decent choice if you want to join on pay as you go on O2’s network. Their rates are somewhat pricey, but if you don’t use your phone much then it might just work for you:
However, 1pMobile are the cheapest network for pay as you go rates by a mile. And they use EE’s fantastic network:
If you want to pay as you go then there are a few good options out there. You can see all the best Pay As You Go networks in our guide here.
Useful link: Read our 1pMobile review
Sky Mobile customer service
Customer service: Sky are great at helping their customers
✔ Very few complaints about Sky MobileRead Ofcom's report
Ofcom are the government’s regulator for the telecoms industry. So if customers can’t get their issues resolved with their mobile network they can make a complaint about them to Ofcom.
The more customers go to Ofcom to log a complaint, the worse it reflects on a networks’ customer service. Sky’s number of complaints has gone up slightly from 1 complaint to 2 complaints per 100,000 customers, but that’s still low.
And you can visit a Sky store. It’s a bit annoying that Sky don’t offer an online chat. If you’d rather not call them, the only way to get help is to use their online help articles and you’ve got to be tech savvy.
Typically being on Sky is a smooth experience and we never had to phone them up as they inform you of your bill dates, direct debits and everything else via SMS messages. And their app can help you manage things as well.
Useful link: Read Ofcom's latest telecoms report