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Various logos of UK mobile networks

Sky Mobile review: the pros and cons of joining their network in 2019

Sky Mobile logo with a phone and a SIM card

Will joining Sky Mobile leave you "believing in better"? We guide you through essentials like coverage, 4G speeds and rate their plans and benefits. SIM Sherpa is your trusty guide. Last updated: March 21st 2019.

Overall rating

Sky Mobile

SIM Sherpa now rates Sky Mobile as a very good network thanks to new added benefits (3.5/5, very good)

"Despite their excellent coverage, generous data rollover scheme and cheap smartphone contracts, we had found it hard to get too excited about Sky Mobile, before their new unlimited streaming benefit came along.

We've still got a few concerns about slow 4G speeds and their average-value SIM only plan pricing but Sky Mobile are now a more appealing prospect than ever, especially if you have Sky TV."

Our guide below walks you through the advantages and disadvantages of joining Sky Mobile in 2019.

The 3 best bits

1) Unlimited Sky TV app streaming
2) Keep mobile data you haven't used
3) Excellent UK 4G coverage

The 3 worst bits

1) Slower than average 4G speeds
2) Average-value SIM only plans
3) No free Sky TV content

In our Sky Mobile review

Overall rating

Our verdict

Overall rating

Network review

Network

4G, 3G, 2G coverage
Data speeds
Call quality
Tethering
Free WiFi hotspots
WiFi calling

Perks review

Benefits & features

Unlimited streaming options
Data rollover scheme
Inclusive EU roaming
Shared family plans
Free entertainment content
Spending caps

Deal review

Deals & plans

Special offers
SIM only plans
Phone contracts
Pay As You Go
Mobile broadband

Customer service review

Customer service

Ofcom data

Sky Mobile's network

Coverage: if you missed it, Sky Mobile uses the O2 network

Map showing Sky Mobile's coverage

Sky's map predicts indoor and outdoor coverage Check Sky Mobile signal

at Sky.com
(opens in new window)

They don’t make a huge song and dance about it but Sky Mobile runs on O2’s reliable UK network for signal. You’ll get identical coverage to being on O2 direct with but with Sky’s unique added mobile benefits.

Out of general UK population, 99% live where you can get 4G Sky Mobile signal. For 3G and 2G, it’s 99% to (used for calls). O2 have invested millions in their network and Sky Mobile customers gain from that.

These are impressive statistics and mean you’ll rarely struggle to make calls or get online outside on Sky Mobile in places people live. But what about elsewhere and indoors?

It's worth thinking about places you take your phone away from residential areas, like your route to school/work, and checking you'll still be able to get a signal using Sky's map on the link below:

Useful link: Check indoor and outdoor Sky Mobile coverage in all the places you use your phone

Our rating:
★★★★☆ (excellent)

Rank:
Joint 2nd
(out of 14 providers)

Not as good as:
EE, BT Mobile, Virgin Mobile

Better than:
Three, iD Mobile, TPO, SMARTY

Speeds: are slow results why Sky are shy about using O2?

Sky Mobile 4G speeds
16 Mbps
(O2 4G downloads)
4 Mbps
(O2's 3G downloads)

Sky Mobile customers might get to benefit from the expansion work O2 have put into bringing 4G to more places but we do expect O2's typical 4G speeds to be slower than the most of the competition.

O2 customers can expect 4G downloads at around 16 Mbps and we don't believe there is a difference between being on Sky Mobile or O2 directly.

Though these aren't the fastest in the UK, they are faster than many copper-based home broadband speeds, which will let you load internet pages in less than a second and watch SD videos buffer-free.

They’re just not going to support hard-core gaming or downloading huge files as fast, so we can only give Sky Mobile an average rating in this category.

Useful link: What Sky Mobile customers are saying about 4G speeds

Our rating:
★★☆☆☆ (average)

Rank:
Joint last

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

Same as:
O2, Tesco Mobile, giffgaff

Call quality: there may be better options than Sky Mobile

Sky Mobile call quality

We'd expect satisfactory call quality on Sky MobileRead full report

at p3-networkanalytics.com
(opens in new window)

Call us old fashioned but it’s still important that your phone works well on a mobile network for making phone calls, even if the majority of what we now do on them is internet based.

We’ve looked at the reports of P3 network analytics who specialise in running tests across the UK into how quickly calls connect with each major provider and the sound quality once you’re talking.

They give Sky Mobile's host network O2 a 'satisfactory' rating in their voice category (EE got 'very good', Vodafone and Three both got 'good'). They don't test providers like Sky who don't have their own network.

This means you shouldn't expect bad call quality on Sky Mobile, it's just that calls may connect more quickly and give you clearer sound on other mobile networks.

It's also worth noting that Sky Mobile don't yet offer 4G calling. This means you don't benefit from better quality calls and improved coverage that this technology normally brings.

Useful link: Read full test report by P3 on each network's call quality

Our rating:
★★★☆☆ (good)

Rank:
Joint last

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

Same as:
O2, Tesco Mobile, giffgaff

Free WiFi hotspots: Sky Mobile are one of the better choices

Free WiFi data when you're out and aboutHow free WiFi works

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

Sky point out to their new mobile customers that they can access Sky Wifi (The Cloud) hotspots free of charge as a Sky Mobile customer.

We’d point out that this service is actually free for anybody who isn’t a Sky Mobile customer too, but it’s still useful. Using their hotspots saves on your mobile data when you’re out and about.

It’s unlimited and there are thousands of hotspots located in busy public areas like shopping malls, cafes, restaurants, pubs and public transport hubs (read our guide to free WiFi to see how Sky compare).

One of our criticisms of Sky Mobile is that you can’t get a huge amount of mobile data in their plans so anything that saves yours is a welcome bonus.

Useful link: How to get free Sky WiFi access on Sky Mobile

Our rating:
★★★☆☆ (good)

Better than:
All others

Tethering: it's included with Sky Mobile's plans

Tethering on Sky Mobile

Tethering's allowed on Sky MobileRead full terms

at Sky.com
(opens in new window)

In all our reviews, we look at whether a mobile provider lets you use your plan for tethering. And if they do, whether there are any sneaky terms and conditions or restrictions.

Tethering is when you use your phone's mobile data to create a small WiFi hotspot around you, which you can connect other devices to. Most modern phones let you do it but not all networks allow it.

Sky Mobile's terms and conditions contain nothing preventing your from using your SIM or phone creating a hotspot, including abroad.

The devices you connect via tethering may use more data than your regular phone does, so it's worth checking Sky's extra charges here in case you go over your limit. Or pick a bigger data plan in the first place.

Useful link: See costs for going over your data limit on Sky

Our rating:
★★★★★ (joint best choice)

Rank:
Joint 1st

As good as:
EE, Vodafone, O2 & most others

Better than:
Three, iD Mobile, Virgin Mobile

WiFi calling: Sky Mobile have it but not every phone is compatible

Screenshot of Sky's WiFi calling help page

Make sure your phone is compatible up frontSee supported phones

at Sky.com
(opens in new window)

Sometimes you’ll find yourself somewhere poor mobile signal indoors, even if a provider has the best coverage (like underground or in a building with thick walls).

WiFi calling is a feature that solves this on some networks. We list and compare the UK networks with WiFi calling in our article here. Sky Mobile are now among those providers.

It works by letting your phone connect to WiFi instead of conventional mobile signal to make and receive calls, which come out of your normal monthly allowances.

But you'll need to have a supported phone. See the full list of phones on Sky's website here, because they don't guarantee their WiFi calling will work on your device, even if it works on other networks.

Useful link: Full details on Sky's WiFi calling scheme

Our rating:
★★☆☆☆ (average)

Rank:
7th

Better than:
All others

Sky Mobile benefits

Unlimited streaming: watch Sky TV without using data

Sky Mobile Watch banner

Watch Sky TV apps without using dataSee full details

at Sky.com
(opens in new window)

Most people know that streaming video is one of the most data consuming activities we do on our phones. So we either avoid doing it (boring) or buy massive data plans (expensive). Sky think they have an answer:

Every Sky Mobile customer now gets the data used for streaming Sky TV apps for free. It won't come out of your regular allowance. And you can do it as much as you like. You do need a Sky TV package too.

You get the benefit with every plan, even the cheapest on SIM only or phones. And it works with 12 of Sky's TV apps, including the main Sky Go app (our full review here looks for catches and restrictions).

Sky aren't the only provider doing this. Three also offer unlimited Netflix streaming via their Go Binge benefit. But if you've got Sky TV, we think this is the most generous scheme of its type in the UK.

Useful link: Read our full Sky Mobile Watch review

Our rating:
(best choice)

Rank:
1st

Way better than:
All others

Data rollover: Sky let you keep unused data the longest

Sky Mobile's Roll data rollover scheme

Keep data you've not used for up to 3 yearsHow 'Roll' works

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

Only a few mobile networks let you keep data you haven’t used (read our data rollover guide here). And we say Sky are very nearly the best: only SMARTY who discount your future bills beat Sky in our view.

Sky's scheme is called 'Roll' and it adds any data you haven't used up at the end of the month to what Sky call your Piggybank. It’s basically like a savings account for mobile data.

You can store unused data there for up to 3 years (on other networks it’s only a month). And if you find one month you do use up all your data, you simply make a withdrawal from your Piggybank and carry on.

It's an excellent system because we all know our data usage varies month-to-month. It beats similar schemes because you get to keep data for much longer, and you can share it with other people on your account.

Now, there's a new feature called Piggybank Rewards too. If you're never going to use the saved data, you can trade it in for discounts against purchasing phones, tablets and accessories from Sky too.

Useful link: Read Sky's full guide to how data rollover works

Our rating:
★★★★☆ (excellent)

Not as good as:
SMARTY

Customer rewards: extra perks if you Sky TV

Sky Go Extra

Free upgrade to Sky Go ExtraSky Go Extra features

at Sky.com
(opens in new window)

In this category of our reviews, we're looking for how companies look after their existing customers when it comes to improved deals on mobile products. For Sky Mobile, this means their TV customers.

As well as unlimited streaming on their TV apps, Sky TV customers taking a mobile SIM or phone will also get an upgrade on Sky Go to Sky Go Extra, which has some extra benefits.

You can register more devices that you can use it on (4 instead of 2). It lets you download programems to watch them later. Plus if you have an Xbox/Playstation, you'll be able to watch on their too (full details here).

You' don't get to join Sky's VIP loyalty scheme, if you only have mobile from Sky. We'd be able to give them a better rating in the category if you did.

Useful link: All Sky TV customer benefits on Sky Mobile

Our rating:
★★★☆☆ (good)

Rank:
7th place
(out of 14 providers)

Not as good as:
O2, Tesco Mobile, giffgaff, Plusnet, BT Mobile, Three

Better than:
Virgin, EE & all others

Roaming: free within the EU and some worldwide passes

Sky Mobile roaming passports banner

Free roaming in 30 countries, passes for 10 moreSee the latest countries

at Sky.com
(opens in new window)

When it comes to roaming, Sky Mobile are pretty much the same as every other network in the UK. They offer free EU roaming as standard in these 30 countries using your plan’s inclusive minutes, texts and data.

This is actually now a legal requirement of all UK networks, so isn’t actually anything special. You can read our guide to the best mobile networks for roaming here, where we compare each provider inclusive deals.

Where Sky Mobile do go one step further than some other providers is by offering 10 further countries outside the EU where you can use the data from your regular plan for a fixed daily charge (see latest costs here).

This is welcome because the data roaming charges on Sky Mobile outside the EU are really quite horrendously high. Even with a pass it’s worth noting, you’ll still pay for minutes and texts separately as you use them.

Useful link: See all Sky Mobile roaming costs and charges

Our rating:
★★☆☆☆ (average)

Not as good as:
Three, Vodafone, O2, EE

Same as:
Most others

Shared / family plans: share leftover data on Sky Mobile

Share leftover data on Sky Mobile plans

Share unused data with others on your accountHere's how it works

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

On Sky Mobile, you can manage up to 5 plans on one single account. So that’s useful if you have one billpayer in a family, who wants to be responsible for other members’ phone deals.

Doing this really only has one benefit currently. And that’s being able to share unused data held in your Piggybank between other users on your account (this gets Sky an entry in our guide to shared-data plans).

It’s handy if you have someone who often gets through their data and another who regularly has some spare: the first person avoids wasting data already paid for and the second avoids charges for going over their limits.

Other than that, there are no generous discounts for extra plans like we see with BT Mobile’s Family SIMs. Nor is there anything as flexible as EE's data gifting on shared accounts.

Useful link: How sharing unused data works

Our rating:
★★☆☆☆ (average)

Better than:
All others

Entertainment subscriptions: Sky Mobile don’t include any

Other networks with free content

Some networks get you free content

It’s funny for a brand who has so much TV content available to them that you don’t get any free or exclusive streaming services when you join Sky Mobile (you do get data to stream their TV apps though).

EE for instance give their pay monthly customers 6 months of free Apple Music on top of at least 3 months BT Sport App access. BT Mobile offer BT Sport App access on selected plans.

And Vodafone offer a choice of a NOW TV, Sky Sports Mobile TV or Spotify Premium with their top-whack mobile bundles.

This is definitely an area that Sky could improve on with their mobile offering.

Our rating:
★☆☆☆☆ (poor)

Rank:
Joint last

Not as good as:
EE, BT Mobile, Vodafone

Same as:
All others

Spending caps: you can now set your own limit on Sky Mobile

Tesco's capped contracts

Set your limit between £0 and £100How to set a cap

at Sky.com
(opens in new window)

With any mobile network provider, if you use more minutes, texts or data than are included in your monthly plan, you’ll be charged extra on top of your regular bill (here’s how much you’ll pay on Sky Mobile).

This can be a worry if you’ve taken out a plan that only just covers what you need or if you’ve taken a deal out and given it to someone else like a son or daughter and you’re not in control of what they use.

Now the government regulator Ofcom have changed the rules so that every mobile provider must let you choose to set a spending cap on extra charges to your account. If you reach the limit, most services that would cost extra will be stopped until next month.

We rate Sky Mobile's system as one of the best in the UK. You can choose an amount anywhere between £0 and £100 in £1 increments. And you can do it when you sign up, or later on if you want to change (here's how to set yours).

Useful link: See costs for going over limits on Sky

Our rating:
★★★★☆ (excellent)

Rank:
TBC

Better than:
TBC

Not as good as:
TBC

Sky Mobile deals and plans

What type of deal are you interested in?

Choose an option to skip to the right section:

Special offers running on Sky Mobile

Here are the latest promotions on SIM only or phone contracts.

Double data on selected phone and SIM only plans

Sky Mobile double data offer

Get this offer

at Sky.com
(opens in new window)

If you're after a phone or SIM only contract with a moderate amount of data, this is one of the best months to join Sky Mobile this year. There's double data on their phones and SIMs on the 3GB 6GB plan.

On SIM only that means:

On phone contracts, you can combine the offer with Samsung Galaxy S10 models at very competitive prices and a number of small discounts too:

£2 monthly discount on Samsung Galaxy S9 (totalling £60 over 30-month contract)

£1 monthly discount on either the iPhone XS or the iPhone XR (totalling £30 over 30-month contract)

Useful link: All current Sky Mobile offers

SIM only plans from Sky Mobile

Use our price comparison tool further below to find the right deal

Key facts about Sky Mobile's SIM only plans

Number of plans available:
Price range: £ - £ a month
Contract lengths:
SIM card sizes: Standard, Micro, Nano

Minutes allowances:
Texts allowances:
Data allowances:
Data speed: 4G on all plans

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Phone contracts from Sky Mobile

Here's some quick info on how Sky's phone contracts work:

Sky Mobile’s deals are based on finance: that's good and bad

An example of a Sky Mobile credit agreement

How the loans work

at Sky.com
(opens in new window)

When you take a smartphone from Sky Mobile, you’re essentially signing up to a loan to pay for the cost of the phone. You can choose to spread that cost over 24 months (Swap 12) or 30 months (Swap 24).

Paying over 30 months gives you a lower monthly cost but Sky do increase the overall cost of the phone if you choose this. Paying over 24 months costs more per month but gets you a cheaper overall handset price.

Being a loan, the requirements to get accepted for a Sky Mobile smartphone deal will be more strict than a regular mobile contract. If you’ve been declined for a contract before, we wouldn’t recommend trying Sky.

That said, this type of phone contract does have the advantage of letting you pay off your phone early to upgrade to a new one or leave altogether (though you have to stay for at least 12 months). More below.

Useful link: How a Sky Mobile credit agreement works from Sky's help guide

Phone contracts: upgrade early with Swap 12 and 24

Sky Mobile Swap contracts

How 'Swap' works

from Sky's guide
(opens in new window)

Above, you can see that Sky’s mobile contracts are based on finance and that one advantage of this is being able to upgrade early. ‘Swap 12’ offers a way to upgrade after 12 months and ‘Swap 24’ after 24 months.

What happens is that Sky offer to buy back your phone off you. In theory, the price they pay you is equal to the amount left on your loan. This clears the loan and leaves you free to upgrade to a new phone.

For us, this system has too many risks and potential disadvantages ever to bother using:

Firstly, by the 12th or 24th month, you’ll have paid for most of your phone. So why would you give it back to Sky just to sign up to a new agreement where you’ll be paying for another phone again from scratch?

Secondly, if you’ve not looked after the device, you won’t get paid the full amount, so won’t clear your loan. You’ll then have money left to pay for a phone you don’t even own any more.

Thirdly, you might be able to get more for your phone by selling to another 2nd hand retailer or privately.

Useful link: Read more to see if Swap is right for you at Sky.com

Compare Sky Mobile smartphone deals

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Pay As You Go: Sky Mobile don't offer it at all

Don't confuse Pay As You Use with regular PAYG

You may have read something about Sky Mobile offering what they call "Pay As You Use". This shouldn't be confused with regular Pay As You Go (paying for mobile deals up front).

Pay As You Use (PAYU) is just one of the two ways Sky sells their pay monthly deals:

First you select how much data you want each month. Next you choose to pay for your minutes and texts at 10p per minute or text (PAYG) or pay £10 a month for unlimited mins and texts (free for Sky TV customers).

If you're looking for the type of SIM only or phone deal where you top up with credit, then everything you use comes out of that, we'd recommend taking a look at 1pMobile's 1p payg plan or Three's Three's 321 plan.

Both are cheap deals. 1pMobile's deal is 1p per minute, text or data, while Three's is 3p per minute, 2p per text and 1p per MB data. We don't expect Sky Mobile ever to launch pay as you go themselves.

Useful link: Read our 1pMobile review

Mobile broadband: Sky don't offer it but do have tablets

A mobile WiFi device

Sky Mobile don't offer any of the following mobile broadband products: data-only SIMs, mobile WiFi devices / dongles. It's just not their speciality.

They do have a small range of tablets here, which are sold with data plans on financing agreements similar to how they sell their phones (sometimes even longer arrangements up to 48 months!).

We'll update this section if they do launch mobile broadband.

Sky Mobile customer service

Customer service: Sky have a good record with Ofcom

Ofcom customer service data for Sky

Sky receive fewest complaints for TV and broadbandRead Ofcom's report

It's worth saying it's pretty difficult to gauge in advance how good a company's customer service is going to be.

Review websites can be unreliable, as people only tend to go there to moan when they've had a bad experience. Also, some companies pay to manage their profiles on those sites to improve their scores by resolving bad reviews. Others don't pay, so their results may look worse than they are.

We use Ofcom complaints data. This is when a customer's complaint hasn't been resolved by the mobile network, so they take it to Ofcom. Lots of Ofcom complaints=a network is poor is sorting out problems.

As Sky Mobile is still quite new, Ofcom have not collected data for pay monthly mobiles with them but if Sky's broadband, landline and TV scores are anything to go by, Sky Mobile's customer service should be good.

At the moment though, this is still a bit of an assumption as running a mobile network is different to broadband. We'll watch Ofcom's data closely once Sky Mobile have enough customers to be included.

Useful link: Read Ofcom's latest telecoms report

SIM Sherpa can help you find your next SIM only deal

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