Dan Howdle | January 9th, 2023
Whereas Sky started as a satellite TV provider, EE started as a mobile network, and now both companies also offer home broadband. Both also run on the UK’s Openreach network and offer both fibre and ultrafast fibre speeds.
UK households have been enjoying Sky broadband since its launch in 2006, whereas EE was a relatively late arrival to the home broadband market, following its takeover of Orange and its internet services in 2012. Since 2016, EE has been part of the BT Group and is now one of the UK’s leading broadband providers, so how to choose between Sky and EE?
Here's a quick feature comparison on how Sky and EE stack up.
|Feature||Sky broadband||EE broadband|
|Download speeds||Up to 900Mbps||Up to 900Mbps|
|Upload speeds||Up to 60Mbps||Up to 28Mbps|
|Router||Sky Hub||EE Smart Hub|
EE wins over Sky when it comes to speed by offering a top download speed of 900Mbps against Sky’s 500Mbps. However, when it comes to ultrafast speeds, you will struggle to notice a lot of difference in day to day activities. EE also offers better upload speeds than Sky, which may be of interest to anyone who does a lot of livestreaming.
Although both Sky and EE run on the Openreach network, their average speeds differ slightly. For standard broadband, Sky offers 11Mbps download speed, and EE offers 9Mbps. For entry-level fibre both Sky and EE offer 36Mbps average speeds. EE pips Sky to the post with the higher fibre speeds by offering 67Mbps against Sky's 61Mbps.
When it comes to ultrafast speeds, Sky offers 145Mbps and 500Mbps, whereas EE offers 100Mbps, 500Mbps and 900Mbps. A fast download speed will ensure you can enjoy downloading and streaming TV shows, films and videogames without any irritating buffering, and also keep all your devices connected to your wifi without any problems.
But upload speeds are also important, especially for saving files online, uploading photos, livestreaming video and sending emails. You will get upload speeds of 1Mbps with both Sky's and EE’s 10Mbps package, and 10Mbps upload speed on both 36Mbps fibre packages. EE's 19.5Mbps on the top fibre offerings beats Sky's 18Mbps.
For anyone keen to have as fast an upload speed as possible, the ultrafast packages of 100Mbps and more are the best choice. EE’s top speed of 900Mbps comes with an upload speed of 110Mbps – far more than the average user will ever need, and Sky’s 500Mbps packages comes with 60Mbps upload speed.
There isn’t much to differentiate these two on packages, with EE just pipping Sky to the post on speed with its top fibre package of 900Mbps.
EE offers six different broadband speeds to Sky's five, by the inclusion of its 900Mbps top package. They both operate on the Openreach network, which is used by the vast majority of broadband providers. EE standard broadband and fibre broadband packages up to 67Mbps come with a landline and pay-as-you-go calls as standard although you can choose to bolt on a call package if you use your landline. Ultrafast (full fibre) packages come without a landline as standard since they do not use copper telephone wires, but you can choose to have a digital phone line installed if you wish. All EE’s broadband packages come on 18-month contracts.
In comparison, Sky offers five broadband packages, and a top speed of 500Mbps to customers in full-fibre areas. LIke EE, its standard broadband and regular fibre packages come with a phone line and pay-as-you-go calls with the option to bolt on a calls package. Its ultrafast packages of 145Mbps and 500Mbps come without a functioning phone line but you can choose to have a digital line if you need one. Sky broadband deals also all come on an 18-month contract.
Sky and EE both score highly overall for customer service according to Ofcom, so customers of either provider can rest easy knowing they have a good chance of being treated well if things go wrong. However, due to the fact that Sky makes it difficult to get in touch directly, in our opinion EE wins when it comes to customer service.
EE does very well when it comes to customer service. The latest Ofcom figures show 85% of EE customers were satisfied with their service overall, the highest number apart from BT, which came out top with 88%.
Sky sits just behind EE, with 84% of its customers satisfied with their service overall. However, Sky just beats EE when it comes to the number of customers with a reason to complain, with 16% against 17% of EE customers, putting the two providers neck and neck when it comes to customer service.
EE customers tend to get through to customer services pretty fast, with average waiting times of just 53 seconds, compared with a typical 2 minutes 16 seconds across all broadband providers. Sky takes considerably longer to pick up the phone however, at 2 minutes 17 seconds.
Sky comes out better in terms of how complaints are handled, with 54% happy with how issues are resolved, compared with 49% at EE, against an industry average of 50%.
EE offers customer service in its branches and through its call centres on 0800 079 8586 between 8am to 9pm Monday to Friday and 8am to 8pm on weekends, but its live chat online doesn’t cater for broadband. There is an EE customer forum where you can raise issues and see if others are facing similar problems and find solutions.
Sky positively encourages customers not to call if they have an issue, and instead directs them to its range of online guides. However, you can call on 0333 759 0582 if you want to speak to someone, or visit the live chat service. You will need your account details to hand before you can speak to anyone.
It’s worth knowing that both Sky and EE offer a little extra to those looking to switch before their current broadband contract is up. Sky offers a maximum of £100 credit towards payment of early exit fees whereas EE only offers up to £50.
Broadband customers don’t like being treated differently to each other, especially if they are using the same provider. So Sky wins on this round as no matter what package you choose, you will always get its most up-to-date technology with the Sky Broadband Hub, unlike EE, which reserves its best router for fibre customers.
The technology you get with EE depends on the package you choose. Standard broadband users get the EE Bright Box, which supports remote assistance, has four ethernet ports and a built-in dual-band antenna. Fibre broadband customers get better tech with EE’s Smart Hub. It comes with seven internal antennas, dual wi-fi bands, four ethernet ports and the ability to set when certain devices can access it.
In contrast, Sky gives all its customers the same router. You will get the Sky Broadband Hub with all its broadband packages, whether it is fibre or not. This makes it easier to upgrade. The Sky Broadband Hub comes with four gigabit ethernet ports, eight antennae, and will let you connect up to 64 devices at the same time.
There isn’t much difference in the extras between these two as both offer the typical internet security and parental controls, although EE offers an extra layer of security with its free Norton software. Sky falls behind by no longer offering free McAfee security software, but deserves a big tick for offering wi-fi on the move.
All EE’s broadband packages are accompanied by a year’s free Norton Security Premium, which can be used on up to 10 devices. You also get parental controls. EE mobile users who sign up for broadband can also get a free data boost of 5GB on a pay monthly mobile or 12-month SIM-only plan. The data allowance is boosted by 20GB if you take out a full fibre broadband deal with EE.
Sky offers its Sky Broadband Shield software that lets you filter websites and offers parental controls. You can customise your privacy settings into age categories and also set age rating restrictions depending on the time of day – a handy way to get the kids off their devices at bedtime.
You can also use your internet on the move with the Sky WiFi app and The Cloud public wifi, although EE can boast about its extensive 4G coverage for mobile customers, as unfortunately EE broadband customers cannot make use of BT’s free wifi network.
Both Sky and EE bring decent speeds and a good customer service reputation. But if you want a broadband service that offers the fastest speeds, free security software, benefits for its mobile customers and easily accessible customer services, then EE is the way to go.