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Sky Mobile review 2020:
testing their 4G coverage & benefits for real

Sky Mobile logo with a phone and a SIM card

The retailers featured on this page may compensate us when our readers follow links to their websites and make a purchase. More

We join Sky Mobile as a real-life customer to try out their 4G signal, speeds, customer service and perks. Here's how we found the whole experience. SIM Sherpa is your trusty guide. Last updated: January 20th 2020.

Overall rating

SIM Sherpa rates Sky Mobile as excellent option
 (4/5, excellent)

"Sky Mobile have got the bedrock of excellent mobile coverage right and their pricing is really fair too on SIM only and phone contracts. But what really sets them apart is their superb benefits like unlimited Sky TV app streaming and keeping your unused data the longest."

Our guide below walks you through the advantages and disadvantages of joining Sky Mobile in 2020.

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) Slower than average 4G speeds
2) Patchy WiFi calling support
3) No free Sky TV content

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.

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: Sky Mobile uses the extensive O2 network

Map showing Sky Mobile's coverage

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

at Sky.com
(opens in new window)

Sky Mobile uses the O2 network for signal. As with any mobile network, there are advantages and disadvantages when it comes to 4G data coverage and 2G/3G signal for calls, texts and slower data.

For calls and SMS texts, Sky Mobile's indoor reception is better than providers using EE and Three, because the frequencies are better at getting into buildings (although a lot depends on where your nearest mast is).

We've used our Sky Mobile SIM for everyday use in small towns, out in the country and in big cities to get a feel for what their signal is like. Our experience was similar to the big independent network testers.

It was extremely rare that you'd drop down 3G (H or H+) when you're anywhere near places people live.

We were particularly impressed with Sky's indoor reception. Where we'd have to go to the windows to make calls with other test SIMs, our Sky Mobile SIM worked throughout the house.

Outside you'll rarely struggle to get reception for calls and texts, even in smaller towns and villages - although some independent network testers say O2's weak point is coverage on railways and roads.

4G data coverage is a real strong point too. Testers Opensignal found customers using the O2 network spent 85% of their time with a 4G signal (only EE could beat that).

Of course, no UK network has universal mobile coverage, so we highly recommend checking your Sky Mobile signal here before signing up. Search everywhere you'll use your phone, not just your home address.

Useful link: Read differences between Sky and O2

Our coverage rating:
★★★★☆ (excellent)

Rank:
Joint 2nd
(out of 14 providers)

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

Better than:
Three, iD Mobile, SMARTY

Download speeds: Sky Mobile's 4G is slower than average

Sky Mobile 5G banner

Sky now offer 5G data tooLatest 5G news

at Sky.com
(opens in new window)

There's a trade-off with Sky Mobile using O2's network. While the availability of 4G is excellent, the typical download speeds you'll get over a 4G connection are lower than other providers.

This isn't our opinion. It's the findings of independent network testers Opensignal and Speedtest by Ookla, who've taken millions of speed measurements on all the UK's mobile networks.

They found typical 4G download speeds on Sky's host O2's network to be around the 15.8 Mbps to 16.95 Mbps mark. That's like a non-fibre home broadband connection. But it's slower than all other providers.

Our experience out-and-about with a Sky Mobile SIM matched the findings of the specialist independent network testers too. Their 15.8 Mbps to 16.95 Mbps results seem accurate.

Over 4G, we mostly measured speeds between 10 Mbps and 30 Mbps on Sky. It was rare to get any higher or lower. That's lower than other networks but didn't particularly feel like a huge problem.

Reading the news, checking social media and other day-to-day internet usage were all perfectly fine over 4G. Even YouTube videos loaded without buffering.

If you just want to browse the net, or even stream HD videos, these speeds will be adequate (and remember they're an average so you will get higher too). Sky will be fine for many users, just not really demanding ones.

Useful link: What difference having 5G will make

Our speeds 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 technology: Sky Mobile's WiFi calling is ok

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)

Fortunately, the 3G and 2G signal used for carrying calls and texts on Sky Mobile is quite good at getting into buildings, so you might not need extra technology so much to help improve indoor signal.

You do still get WiFi calling as standard on all Sky Mobile's plans. This lets your phone use WiFi instead of mobile signal to make and take calls - useful if regular signal can't get into the building you're in.

We put our Sky Mobile in our manufacturer-bought Samsung Galaxy S7 test phone. And WiFi calling did not work. We'd say your Android phone definitely needs to be on the list for it to have a chance of working.

It did work when we put the same SIM in an iPhone 7. Although Sky claim you can move from WiFi to 4G calling mid-call, this didn't work in any of our tests.

If you have an iPhone with the feature, Sky's WiFi calling should work fine. But if you've got an Android phone, you probably need to have bought it from Sky with their software on it, to guarantee it'll work (read why here).

This is a big downside. And our own testing with an non-Sky/O2 phone didn't work. So if you need the feature, we'd recommend testing it immediately and returning your product within 14 days if it doesn't work.

Useful link: Sky's WiFi calling help page

Our rating:
★★☆☆☆ (average)

Rank:
Joint 4th

Better than:
All others

Free WiFi hotspots: nothing you can't get free anyway

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

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

We like it when mobile networks offer their customers free automatic access to public WiFi hotspots, as it helps you save your mobile data and can provide a more reliable internet connection sometimes too.

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. But it's worth saying, it's not an exclusive benefit.

The service is actually free for anybody who isn’t a Sky Mobile customer too. All you have to do is sign up to get a free Cloud account and log in when you're in range of a hotspot.

It’s unlimited and there are thousands of hotspots located in busy public areas like shopping malls, cafes, restaurants, pubs and public transport hubs.

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:
All others on pay monthly

Better than:
N/A

Sky Mobile benefits

Unlimited streaming: watch Sky TV without using data

Sky Mobile Watch banner

Watch Sky TV apps without using dataRead more benefits

at Sky.com
(opens in new window)

Our absolute favourite thing about Sky Mobile is their unlimited streaming benefit that you get with all SIM only plans and phone contract (even the very cheapest). If you've got Sky TV at home, we think you'll love it:

When you're out and about, you can now use any Sky app, without it using your mobile data. It's unlimited data for streaming their TV, films and reading news (Sky's guide here has full details of what's included).

The reason we like it so much is that video streaming is one of the most data-hungry activities on your phone. So getting an unlimited amount for Sky apps is hugely valuable for saving on the costs of data.

It's also an excellent way to get more out of your mobile and your TV package. For commuters and people with kids, you can stay entertained on journeys, without having to holding back to avoid spending on data.

Useful link: Read our full Sky Mobile Watch review

Our rating:
(best choice)

Rank:
1st

Way better than:
All others

Data rollover: Sky have one of the best schemes in the UK

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)

Data rollover is when a mobile network lets you keep data that you've not go through for the future (read our full guide here). Sky Mobile include it with all their pay monthly plans - and it's one of our favourite schemes:

While other providers only let you keep unused data for one month, Sky just let you keep piling it up for up to an insane three years, the longest of any provider in the UK!

Our data usage was consistently below how much our plan gave us, so we found we were stacking up more and more data each month, which Sky show you in your online account, like a bank statement:

Screenshot of data activity

It's easy to manage your Piggybank. You just go into your online account and it's one of the first options.

Screenshot of claiming data from Piggybank

If you or anyone on the same account has run out of data, you can withdraw from Piggybank to person of your choice, using a simple dropdown. It take just a few minutes to take effect.

Sky also show you how much your leftover data is worth if you decide to cash it in against buying a new device or accessory from them:

Screenshot of Piggybank rewards

Overall, we find Sky Mobile's whole Piggybank system really self-explanatory and easy to use. Have a read of their help article here if you're in any doubt.

It all gets added to your data piggybank (a sort of bank account for data). Then if you ever need it, you just make a withdrawal, 1GB at a time. That's really handy if your usage changes month to month.

You can even share data from your piggybank with others on your account or swap it for discounts on new phones or tablets with Sky. Overall, it's an excellent sweetener to join Sky for mobile.

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 have 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: Sky Mobile are ultra-flexible

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 bi ll (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.

Save £288 on top-end Samsung and iPhone handsets

Save £288 on Samsung Galaxy S20

See phones in offer

at Sky.com
(opens in new window)

It's a good time if you're looking to get one of the latest 5G versions of the Samsung Galaxy S20 on Sky, because they've reduced the cost of the 20GB plan on each by £8 a month.

That means a total saving of £288 over the course of a 36-month contract, or £192 on a 24-month one. The offer runs until 6th May and also covers the iPhone 11.

On SIM only, Sky's best current offer is their 8GB for £10 below, which at the time of writing is the best value deal for the amount of data with a provider using O2:

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

Find a SIM only plan

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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 36 months (Swap 24).

Paying over 36 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 Mobile offer very long tablet deals

A mobile WiFi device

Some contracts are 4 years long!See tablet deals

at Sky.com
(opens in new window)

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!).

You'll get a monthly allocation of mobile data and spread the cost of the device over the course of your contract. The total you pay for the device is usually around 2% to 20% higher than buying outright from the manufacturer.

So even though the finance is offered as 0% APR, you are paying a premium vs buying outright. But the rates aren't agressively higher than other financing options. It really pays to compare though.

Useful link: See Sky's range of tablets here

Sky Mobile customer service

Customer service: Sky have a positive record with Ofcom

Ofcom customer service data for Sky

Sky are middle of the pack for complaintsRead Ofcom's report

Sky have long had a good record when it comes to customer service for their broadband and TV - when you look at how many complaints the telecoms regulator Ofcom receives about them.

And that's now carried through to their mobile services too. For every 100,000 Sky Mobile subscribers, Ofcom receive 3 complaints. That's about typical for the entire mobile industry.

People only complain to Ofcom if they've tried sorting out a problem with the provider directly. So operators with a low number of Ofcom complaints are either good at sorting problems (good customer service) or have fewer problems to start with.

If you've been bitten with a poor experience elsewhere before, Sky Mobile should be a much more re-assuring choice than many other networks.

Useful link: Read Ofcom's latest telecoms report

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