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Sky Mobile's free streaming data: pros, cons and how it works

Sky Go logo with a phone and SIM cardVisit

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

We review Sky Mobile Watch, their unlimited streaming data benefit, explain what Sky TV apps are covered and look for restrictions. SIM Sherpa is your trusty guide. Last updated: 3rd August 2020

Our verdict

Watch is the UK's most generous streaming data scheme
 (4.5/5, excellent)

Sky unlimited streaming banner


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"If you've got Sky TV at home, being able to stream programmes and films from your package on your mobile, without it using your data is worth its weight in gold. The data savings are huge.

If you've ever put off watching videos on your phone because you're worried about paying for the data, having Watch is going to change everything. Commuters and people with children are going to love it.

Sky have finally hit the nail on the head with a benefit that combines their strengths in TV entertainment and good value mobile plans. We think this will fly off the shelves."

Choose a deal: Sky's SIM only plans | Sky's phone contracts

How does Sky Mobile Watch work?

It's unlimited data for streaming Sky TV apps on your phone

Sky TV app icons

A huge range of programmingFull list of apps

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With any normal mobile deal, watching videos on your mobile is one of the quickest ways to get through your data allowance - meaning you'll need a big data plan to avoid paying extra for going over your limits.

That's a bit of a shame, as it keeps you entertained in boring situations. So Sky have come up with their "Watch" benefit, which doesn't take data out of your allowance when watching their TV apps over 3G/4G/5G.

It means you're free to watch as much TV on your mobile from your Sky home package, without worrying about how much data it's using - perfect for long journeys in the car, commuting or if you've not got home broadband.

Unlimited streaming data helps you get a load more value out of your Sky Mobile deal (because it's effectively loads of free data) and also your Sky TV package, as you can watch it more, even when you're not at home.

Useful link: Full terms, conditions and FAQs

All phones, SIMs and tablet plans qualify for it

A Sky Mobile phone and SIM cards

Take a phone contract or SIM only planSee latest offers

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One of the most impressive things about Sky Mobile Watch is the fact that it comes on every single one of Sky's pay monthly deals, even the very cheapest ones, with the least regular data.

It can work out to be genuinely ridiculous value if you'll use the benefit a lot. Here's the current cheapest SIM only plan you can unlimited streaming data on Sky TV apps with on Sky Mobile:

Sky Mobile's phone contracts routinely come out as the cheapest monthly options when you use our phone price comparison tool here. And they've got a big range of iPhone, Samsung and other Android models.

Make sure you understand that "SWAP24" contracts last for 36 months and "SWAP12" last 24 months. It's also worth pointing out you'll need to pass a credit check for their phone deals based on finance (basically loans).

Choose a product: SIM only plans | Phone contracts

Which Sky TV apps does it work with?

The Sky Go app is probably the most useful to use data-free

Sky Go app

Stream Live TV and On Demand all you likeMore about Sky Go

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Out of all the data-free apps included with Watch, it's really Sky Go that you're most likely to use on a day-to-day basis. It comes free with every Sky TV package. And it's the one that'd consume the most data normally.

It lets you watch up to 73 Sky TV channels from your package live on your mobile (or other devices). It also lets you access hundreds of On Demand programmes, sports highlights and kids shows.

All the most popular channels are on there like Sky Atlantic, Sky 1, Sky Living and Sky Arts 1. So are all the Sky Sports channels. Plus all 11 Sky Cinema Channels. And nine kids channels too.

If you love having Sky TV at home, Watch makes it even better, because you can now take it with you on your mobile, without having to fret about how much data you're using to watch it. It's a huge benefit.

Useful link: Everything you get with the Sky Go app

Sky Cinema, Sky Sports and other apps are included too

Sky Cinema app

Watch the latest films on your mobileSee latest prices

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If you've got some of the more-premium sports and movies channels in your TV package, you can use them too on your Sky Mobile without being charged for the data.

We're currently talking to Sky to confirm whether Virgin Media customers who have Sky Sports and Sky Cinema in their TV package can also join Sky Mobile and stream for free.

If you didn't know, Virgin Media customers can download the separate Sky Sports and Sky Cinema apps and login with their Virgin Media ID (as long as you have them in your Virgin package).

As well as letting you watch movies and live sport via the app, the sports app also contains news, video highlights and loads of other features.

Useful link: Sky Cinema packages | Sky Sports packages

The Sky Kids app can also be streamed without using data

Sky Kids app

Long car journeys can be more fun with WatchMore about Sky Kids

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We really see Sky Mobile Watch coming into its own for parents who want to keep their kids entertained in boring situations, where previously you might have held back letting them watch something on your mobile.

So it's a nice touch that Sky Kids is one of the apps you can use without being charged for the data (you'll need to have it in your TV package though, see latest costs here).

Even if you've got more grown-up children who you're taking out a mobile contract for, it'll be re-assuring to know that they can't rack you up big bills for data for Sky TV streaming.

Combine that with the fact that you can also set spending caps on every Sky Mobile phone or SIM plan and you take away a lot of the worry of having them over a licence to spend your money.

Choose a product: SIM only plans | Phone contracts

How much data does it save you?

Streaming videos is one of the most data-hungry activities

Screenshot of Sky's press release

Sky calculate how much data Watch savesRead press release

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Short of specialist things like filesharing, watching videos on your mobile is one of the fastest ways to blast through your monthly data allowance. So what will you save if Sky aren't charging you for it?

According to Sky's own predictions (which we think are realistic), the savings are huge. Here's how much they predict some of the most popular movies, shows and matches on Sky would use up normally:

An episode of Game of Thrones (63 mins): 1.4GB
A full Premier League match (120 mins): 2.7GB
One episode of Friends (23 mins): 500MB
A full-length film, e.g. Love Simon: (110 mins): 2.5GB
A full F1 race (125 mins): 2.9GB

Watch one of these a day and you're looking at 60GB usage for the month (bigger than Sky's biggest plan anyway). And then don't forget you get this even on Sky's smallest 1GB plans.

Useful link: Get a Sky Mobile plan

Are there any restrictions to Sky Mobile Watch?

You'll need a Sky TV subscription (obviously)

Sky Q box and television

It works with any Sky TV packageSee TV packages

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To avoid any confusion, Sky aren't giving away the actual subscription to their TV services with their Sky Mobile products. It's only the data those apps use that you're getting free.

You'll also only be able to watch programmes and films that are in your home Sky TV package too. You're not getting anything extra for free by signing up to Sky Mobile.

If you don't have Sky TV, you'll still get the data their apps use for free. You'll just only be able to use and watch the parts of the apps that are free anyway, like Sky News.

Virgin Media customers with Sky Cinema or Sky Sports in their package should also be able benefit by downloading the relevant app and joining Sky Mobile (we're still confirming this for sure with Sky).

If you're wondering why Sky are going around giving away free streaming data, part of the reason is probably to work as a way to sell their TV content to more people. The more ways to watch, the more people want it.

Useful link: See all Sky's TV packages and upgrade options

You must have some of your regular data left over

My Sky App data management

You need at least 50MB data left to use WatchRead full terms

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One key limitation is that you will need at least 50MB of your regular data allowance left for Watch to kick in. Any lower and it will use up that remaining data and you'll need to buy more (or take from your Piggybank).

Rather than Sky being tricky, we'd say this is more to do with "Net Neutrality" principles, which say companies supplying internet services shouldn't treat the data they send you differently based on what you're using it for.

i.e. if you run out of regular mobile data, you should run of Sky Mobile Watch data too.


Useful link: Read Sky's terms and conditions for Watch

There are device usage limits on Sky's apps themselves

Sky register devices

You can only register a set number of devicesHow to manage devices

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If you take Sky Mobile, even though the free data for streaming is unlimited, the apps themselves do have limits on how many devices you can use them on and watch at the same time.

At the time of writing, you can register two devices for Sky Go and stream on two devices at the same time. Sky Go Extra lets you register four but still only watch two at once.

So this is a key limitation of Sky Mobile Watch. It means for example that you can't get more than two family members a Sky Mobile phone or SIM and expect them all to be able to make use of the Watch benefit with Go.

Useful link: How to manage your registered devices

Roaming: Sky Mobile Watch still works within the EU

Sky Go EU streaming banner

Watch Sky Go in the EUSee what you get

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Currently all mobile networks have to make roaming in the EU cost the same as using your device in the UK. This means you can still stream Sky TV apps without data limits when you're abroad in any of these countries.

You no longer get free streaming if you travel outside of the EU. All streaming will be charged at the usual per MB rate, which on Sky gets very expensive, very quickly. Check rates per country here.

The only other thing to think about is the viewing rights of the actual content you watch while you're abroad. Within the EU, Sky say you'll still be able to stream their TV services.

While you're abroad in the EU, Sky say they won't reduce the streaming quality of what you're watching. But they do point out that it's all dependent on the host mobile network in that country, which Sky don't control.

Useful link: Sky's guide to streaming in the EU

Similar schemes

Three offer something very similar with different apps

Three's similar Go Binge scheme

More options if you don't have Sky TVRead how it works

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Sky Mobile's Watch is by no means the original unlimited streaming scheme on the market (read our guide to them all here). Three's Go Binge has been around much longer, writing off data usage for certain apps.

Where Go Binge is worse than Sky's scheme is that you don't get it on so many plans. You only get it on 12GB data plans and above. Here's the cheapest option currently:

But Go Binge does have the edge over Sky Mobile Watch if you've not got a Sky TV. It offers free streaming on Netflix and some channels on the TVPlayer app.

You also get unlimited music streaming data included for Apple Music and these other apps. And even data-free Snapchat too. All-in-all, it's a broader service.

Useful link: Read our review of Go Binge

EE's Video Data Pass is a much more premium option

EE Swappable Benefits banner

Choose one as a Swappable BenefitHow they work

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You can also get a similar unlimited streaming benefit on EE but it's a premium option. You either have to join on an more-expensive plan that lets you choose it as a Swappable Benefit or pay for it monthly.

Choose a Video Pass as a Swappable Benefit with these plans:

The Video Data Pass covers a massive list of popular streaming services - and it's the only to cover YouTube and BBC iPlayer. You can stream these as much as you like, as long as you have regular data from your plan left over.

The actual day-to-day usage of the pass is probably superior to Sky, depending on what you want to watch. But it is definitely a more-expensive option. You plan will almost always cost more on EE than on Sky.

Useful link: EE's guide to their Video Data Pass

Other Sky Mobile guides