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Sky Mobile review 2023: why their customers are so happy

Sky Mobile logo with a phone and a SIM cardVisit

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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: 31st October 2022.

Overall rating

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.

Information symbol We're a professional reviews website but we bought our Sky Mobile SIM card as a regular consumer, to test what it's actually like for real life paying customers. The contents of this review are a combination of our expert industry knowledge and what we experienced during our test.

Sky Mobile's network

Coverage: great indoor and outdoor signal on Sky

Map showing Sky Mobile's coverage

Sky’s current predicted coverage map Check signal here

(opens in new window)

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:

Unless you’re somewhere odd geographically, you should be able to get call signal (2G/3G) on Sky Mobile. Their call signal is also broadcast on frequencies that are good at getting into buildings.

4G data reception on Sky Mobile is probably a little less extensive than rivals EE and Vodafone. Sky’s coverage in urban areas is typically as good as most other networks, but you can find yourself booted down to 3G rurally.

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.

In urban areas we were hardly ever dropped onto 3G signal (H or H+) instead of 4G.

Their indoor coverage is also genuinely impressive. There was nowhere in our house we could go to totally lose Sky’s call signal. With some networks you have to stand next to a window or outside to make calls, but not on Sky.

In any case it’s always worth checking Sky’s coverage map anywhere you’ll end up using your phone. Check at home, at work and anywhere else you’ll be going.

Useful link: Read differences between Sky and O2

Our speeds rating:
★★★★☆ (excellent)

Joint 2nd
(out of 14 providers)

Not as good as:
EE, BT Mobile

Better than:
Three, iD Mobile, SMARTY

4G speeds: they can be a bit underwhelming on Sky

Sky Mobile 5G banner

Sky’s 5G speeds can help make up for thisLatest 5G news

(opens in new window)

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.

Results from independent network testers Opensignal reflect this. They put average 4G speeds on Sky at 17.1 Mbps. That’s the same results as their hosts and is by far the slowest of all UK networks.

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.

Our speed test results went as low as 10 Mbps but on rare occasions as high as 90 Mbps or so. We didn’t tend to go over or below that range. While speeds were slower than on other networks, we didn’t really notice it that much.

This won’t make too much of a difference if you’re just browsing 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.

Those sorts of speeds are comparable to lower mid-range broadband. You should still be able to stream HD video comfortably, but heavier data activities like file-sharing may be noticeably slower than on other networks.

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

Our speeds rating:
★★☆☆☆ (average)

Joint last

Not as good as:
EE, Three, Vodafone
(and other providers that use these)

Same as:
O2, Tesco Mobile, giffgaff

Sky Mobile get you 5G access but not every device is supported

Sky 5G map

5G is still on a street-by-street basisFind 5G locations

(opens in new window)

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’s 5G coverage is identical to O2’s. You can get 5G in over 190 locations. Coverage in those locations is decent, but still only 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:

Adding 5G in the online account

With our test iPhone we were able to get 5G signal where Sky said we would, but the coverage map doesn’t show signal strength. It’s not necessarily misleading, it just doesn’t give you an idea 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:

Screenshot of 5G speed test on Sky Mobile

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.

Between Speedtest by Ookla and Opensignal’s results we can see typical 5G speeds on Sky’s host network sit between 90.61 Mbps - 110.9 Mbps. Those results have gone down over time and are the slowest of all networks, but are still decently fast.

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

Our 5G rating:
★★★★☆ (good)

Joint 3rd
(out of 14 providers)

Not as good as:
EE, BT Mobile

WiFi/4G calling: Sky Mobile’s scheme is decent

Screenshot of Sky's WiFi calling help page

Not a lot of phone models are supportedSee supported phones

(opens in new window)

While call signal (3G/2G) is usually a strength on Sky Mobile, you can still run into indoor blackspots on any network, especially if you’re far from the nearest mast. A strong WiFi calling scheme can help with this.

Nowadays most networks have systems to let your phone connect to calls over WiFi signal and Sky is one of them. They also offer 4G calling that does the same thing via 4G. Their WiFi calling is good, but not as good as 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 tried putting the same SIM into an iPhone 7 we were able to use WiFi calling without issue. But it only “kicks in” when you really have no call signal at all.

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 it works with your phone then it’s an alright feature. But you can’t send/receive SMS texts over WiFi and if you move from WiFi to 4G we found your call will drop. Sky’s WiFi calling works best when you stay in one place.

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

Our rating:
★★☆☆☆ (average)

Joint 4th

Better than:
All others

Other network features: Sky offer a handful of helpful features

Sky Mobile hotspots

Sky offer lots of free WiFi hotspots around the UKSee nearby hotspots

(opens in new window)

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 Mobile offer a network of free WiFi hotspots up and down the country. These can help you hold onto your data on the go. But these hotspots are available for anyone to use, and there’s no exclusive benefit to being a Sky user.

Tethering is also allowed without limits, letting you turn your phone into a personal hotspot to connect non-data devices to. This will eat your data quicker, however, and Sky don’t offer unlimited data plans to help with this.

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.

The only major network feature Sky are missing out on are eSIMs, but these are typically restricted to the main networks for now. But considering Virgin Mobile offer them, we could see Sky bring them out some time in the near future.

Useful link: Best networks for WiFi hotspots

Our rating:
★★★☆☆ (good)


Not as good as:

Better than:

Sky Mobile benefits

Sky Mobile let you stream their TV apps without eating into data

Sky Mobile Watch banner

It’s definitely their strongest benefitRead full details

(opens in new window)

Sky offer unlimited streaming data for their 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 a very generous benefit, and it means you can keep watching your favourite shows and movies while you’re out and about without having to worry about data usage. We tested it in real life and it worked as expected:

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 left it streaming for three hours before we came back to see we had used up 3GB of data, which would have been our entire data allowance for the month:

Screenshot of app data usage showing 3GB

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:

3GB data left screenshot

Unlimited means unlimited when it comes to this benefit. We did our test using our Virgin TV log in for Sky, so you don’t necessarily have to be a Sky TV customer to get the benefit working since it applies to the app.

Streaming video is one of the quickest ways to burn through your data allowance, so this benefit can save you GBs of data every month. It’s especially great that you get it even on their cheapest plan:

So if you’ve got Sky TV at home you can essentially take your TV subscription on the go without having to take a big data plan. You’ll never have an excuse to be bored on a long journey again.

Useful link: Read our full Sky Mobile Watch review

Our rating:
(best choice)


Way better than:
All others

Data rollover: Sky’s scheme is the best in our eyes

Sky Mobile's Roll data rollover scheme

Keep your unused data for up to 3 years! How 'Roll' works

from Sky's detailed guide
(opens in new window)

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). This feature comes on every Sky plan and we think theirs is the best scheme of all UK networks.

Other networks with data rollover only let you keep your unused data for one month. But Sky go the extra mile by letting you keep your rolled over data for up to 3 years!

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:

Screenshot of data activity

Managing your piggybank is simple. You just have to go into your account and it’s one of the first options there.

Screenshot of claiming data from Piggybank

True to its name 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 give you the option to cash in your unused data to get discounts when you buy a new device or accessories from Sky:

Screenshot of Piggybank rewards

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.

The data you don’t use at the end of the month goes into your piggybank. When you or another user on your account runs out of data, you can withdraw 1GB at a time. If you’ve got some banked up it’s a good way of 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

Our rating:
★★★★☆ (excellent)

Not as good as:

Roaming: EU roaming is no longer free on Sky Mobile

Expired stampSky Mobile roaming passports banner

You can no longer use your allowance abroad for freeSee the latest countries

(opens in new window)

Sky Mobile are yet another network to remove free EU roaming from their plans. Now you’ll have to pay a daily rate to roam in these 30 EU/EEA countries.

That’s why they’ve gone way down in our rankings for the best EU roaming networks. You will still get the benefit of having no fair usage policy, but you now have to pay £2 a day to roam in their EU destinations.

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 in the places we expected to get it and the signal speeds and strength were pretty good.

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.

But this £2 daily rate also applies when you travel in their worldwide roaming destinations. This makes Sky Mobile one of the better value networks for worldwide roaming. But going beyond these will get pricey.

It’s a case of give and take. 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

Our rating:
★★☆☆☆ (average)

Not as good as:

Same as:

Shared / family plans: gift data to users on your account

Share leftover data on Sky Mobile plans

Gift data to users on your accountHere's how it works

from Sky's own guide
(opens in new window)

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.

While they don’t offer discounts for adding other users to your account, you can share your unused data with them if they’ve run out (that’s why they’re in our list for best mobile family plans).

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’s a great scheme, but it’s not as good as getting a straight discount like with BT’s family SIMs or SMARTY’s flat percentage discount. It’s also not as flexible as EE’s data gifting benefit.

Useful link: How sharing unused data works

Our rating:
★★☆☆☆ (average)

Better than:
All others

Entertainment subscriptions: none offered on Sky

Other networks with free content

A few providers give you extra freebies

If you were thinking Sky would give out free subscriptions to their services on their mobile network, then you’d be wrong (existing customers get their unlimited streaming data benefit, however).

EE offer subscriptions to Apple TV+, Apple Music, Netflix, BT Sport and others as Smart Benefits for a premium price. BT Mobile include access to the BT Sport App on certain deals.

And with one of Vodafone’s premium Entertainment plans, their customers can get free subscriptions to Amazon Prime, Youtube Premium or Spotify Premium, which usually works out cheaper than getting both separately.

This is one thing we could see Sky adding at some point to add more value to their plans.

Useful link: The best networks for free subscriptions

Our rating:
★☆☆☆☆ (poor)

Joint last

Not as good as:
EE, BT Mobile, Vodafone

Same as:
All others

Spending caps: Sky’s are particularly flexible

Tesco's capped contracts

Cap overspending anywhere between £0 - £100How to set a cap

(opens in new window)

When you go over your allowance of minutes, texts or data you’ll start to pay extra for using more (here are Sky’s current out of plan rates). The same applies to things like premium rate phone numbers, additional roaming and more.

It’s not always possible to avoid going over your allowance. Your data needs might be different for a month, or maybe you have a child on a plan who doesn’t realise how much they’re using.

Government regulators Ofcom introduced a law so that mobile networks must allow their customers to limit overspending outside of their plan. When you hit your limit you won’t be able to use any extras until your next month.

Sky Mobile let you set your cap between £0 and £100 at £1 increments. You don’t get that sort of flexibility on all networks. You can set it up when you first take your deal or at any time afterwards (here’s how).

Useful link: See costs for going over limits on Sky

Our rating:
★★★★☆ (excellent)


Better than:

Not as good as:

Sky Mobile deals and plans

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Added features

Phone contracts from Sky Mobile

We’ll go over how Sky Mobile’s contracts work:

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Upfront: (Any upfront cost)

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Length: (6 - 36 months only)

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There are advantages and disadvantages to Sky’s finance-based contracts

An example of a Sky Mobile credit agreement

All Sky phone contracts are based around finance agreementsHow the loans work

(opens in new window)

Sky base their phone plans around finance agreements. Think of it like Sky loaning you money to buy a phone off them, and the payment of this loan is spread over either 24 months (Swap 12) or 36 months (Swap 24) depending on how you want to pay.

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.

Understandably, it’s quite difficult to get accepted for a Sky Mobile phone contract. They’ll check your credit history when you try to take one, and if you have a history of missed payments then it’s very unlikely you’ll be accepted for a phone contract.

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.

Useful link: How Sky’s credit agreements work from Sky’s help guide

Phone contracts: you can upgrade a year early on Sky

Sky Mobile Swap contracts

Trade in your phone to pay off your loanHow 'Swap' works

from Sky's guide
(opens in new window)

Because Sky’s contracts are based on finance, you could upgrade early or leave Sky entirely after a minimum of 12 months on their “Swap 12” contracts or after 24 months on their “Swap 24” ones.

If you do so then Sky will then offer to pay you to return your phone to them. In the best case scenario they pay you an amount equal to what you’ve got left to pay. This would clear your loan and allows you to upgrade to a new device.

However, we think this system has more downsides than upsides and is too risky to be worth it for most users:

Firstly, if you’ve paid for 12 or 24 months, then you’ve already paid for most of your loan. There’s no reason to then sell the phone you’ve almost paid off just to get onto a new contract with a new phone.

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: not available on Sky Mobile

Expired stampSky Mobile Pay As You Use

No way to pay as you go on Sky

Sky used to offer a unique scheme which they called “Pay As You Use”. But now there’s no way to pay as you go 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:

So if you’re looking for a pay as you go network then you’re best off looking elsewhere. You can see our rankings for the best pay as you go networks here.

Useful link: Read our 1pMobile review

Mobile broadband: pay the cost of your tablet over a long time on Sky

A mobile WiFi device

Pay off the cost of your tablet over 4 years! See tablet deals

(opens in new window)

Mobile broadband contracts aren’t really a speciality of Sky Mobile as they don’t offer data-only SIMs, mobile WiFi devices/dongles or anything like that.

However, Sky do offer a few tablet deals that come with data offers on finance agreements, similar to how their phone contracts work. However, some of these are sold on 48-month contracts!

At the end of each month you’ll pay for your monthly allowance of data as well as your monthly instalment to pay back the cost of the device. But you’re paying from 2% to 20% more than just buying from the manufacturer directly.

On one hand these finance agreements are offered as 0% APR, on the other you’ll still end up paying way more than just buying the device in one. But their prices aren’t massively more expensive compared to other options, so it’s worth comparing.

Useful link: See Sky's range of tablets here

Sky Mobile customer service

Customer service: Ofcom don’t receive many complaints about Sky

Ofcom customer service data for Sky

Sky’s complaints record is usually lowRead Ofcom's report

Ofcom are run by the government as a regulator for the telecoms industry. As such they’re the first place to go when your network has failed to resolve your issue and you’ve reached the end of the road.

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.

You can also visit a Sky store. But the lack of an online chat with a Sky agent is a bit annoying. To get your issue resolved online you have to click through their articles and you have to be tech savvy to help yourself.

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

More guides about Sky Mobile

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