If you're a Sky customer and looking to upgrade your Sky services in some way, we have all the information you could possibly need – what's available, how to get it, and what the pitfalls might be.
Adding mobile SIMs, more TV channels, making your broadband run faster – it all seems so simple: just give Sky a call and let it know what you want. But there are a few things you should know about upgrading with Sky before taking the plunge. It's not all unicorns and rainbows.
One of the best ways of getting more from Sky is to move your mobile contract (and indeed those of your entire family) to Sky, either with a new SIM, or if the timing is right by upgrading your existing handset. Sky doesn't discount its SIMs or its handsets for its existing broadband and TV customers, however it does offer them free unlimited calls and texts with any data plan or phone and if you already have Sky TV you can sync your box with your phone and create playlists you can watch on the go. Non-Sky customers won't get this.
Sky Mobile also, more generally, has a raft of attractive features if you choose it as your mobile provider. Sky Mobile will allow you to roll over any unused data to the following month, swap your phone for a new one every single year, and grab a tariff that is customised specifically to your needs in terms of minutes, texts and data (though of course if you're a Sky TV and/or broadband customer you won't need to worry about those first two anyway – they'll be unlimited).
Cable.co.uk, as a service, is here to help you switch provider – it's how we help you, in finding the best deal for you, and how we keep the lights on at Cable Towers. So, looking at this cynically it would be easy to assume that this section of switching away from Sky is more in our interests than yours. Not so.
You see, while Sky would definitely like to see you upgrade/take out more of its services, both from a monetary and quality-of-service perspective, that may not actually be the best course of action on the table. If you're already past your initial contract period you may be in a position to get a better deal from another provider.
It's war out there in the UK broadband and TV market, which means providers are constantly battling it out to win your custom. As a result there are always dozens of great introductory offers out there – everything from rock-bottom prices to free gifts and substantial amounts of cashback. If you're on Sky's TV and broadband, your best bet for a switch is going to be Virgin Media as it offers four times faster broadband and comparable TV services. Worth taking a look to see what deals are on, at least.
If you're thinking of upgrading your broadband speed to help you cope with your household usage, here's something you might want to consider. All broadband providers in the UK run on the Openreach network, except Virgin Media which runs its own separate fibre network. Why is this important?
It's important because of the technology used by Openreach. You see, despite advertising 'fibre', providers on Openreach are only actually offering a part-fibre connection. The cabling as far as the green cabinet on your street corner is fibre optic, but between the cabinet and your house it comes through a copper phone wire. Depending on how far you live from the cabinet, if you are beyond 800 metres or so this is going to substantially slow down the maximum speed you can get.
So if you're thinking of upgrading your speed with Sky because it's not what you thought you were going to get, or if it's just hellishly slow, you're not going to improve your situation much by upgrading your speed. You may get some extra benefit, but it's unlikely to solve your problems. The best alternative if this is the case is to switch network; only one other provider offers a network that isn't Openreach - and that's Virgin Media.
If you're getting something approaching the speed you're paying for, but stretching those limits quite frequently, upgrading your broadband speed is definitely going to help. If you're not getting the speeds you're paying for, then please refer to the section above, which contains important information about networks and speed limits.
As a general rule, we advise setting aside 10Mbps for each household member who uses the internet, and if any of them are online gamers and/or movie/TV streaming addicts you should double that in their case. This will provide you with a good amount of headroom so you don't butt up against those speed limits at busy times – with half the household staring at little spinning circles.
Sky offers two potential speed upgrades depending on the speed you're already getting. If you're on Sky's standard ADSL (non-fibre) broadband at 10Mbps, you have the option to upgrade to Sky Fibre Unlimited or Sky Fibre Max, which offer speeds averaging 36Mbps and 63Mbps respectively. You can use the rough guide above to decide which one is best for you.
Up until fairly recently Sky partitioned its TV offerings into specific TV bundles, which on the one hand made things somewhat easier to understand, but on the other caused quite a lot of waste – if you went for the Family Bundle because you wanted kids' TV you probably also had a bunch of channels you weren't so fussed about. These days there's only one TV package – the Sky Entertainment Pack – onto which you can bolt on whatever you need.
That has made upgrade options rather numerous. You can add on Sky Sports, Sky Cinema, Kids' TV, Sky Box Sets, extra HD channels, multiscreen, or you can even upgrade your Sky+ or Sky Q box to the 4K UHD-capable Sky Q 2TB. Perhaps to keep things as simple as possible, Sky actually throws in the Indian and Asian channels these days, whereas they used to cost extra.
Not too long ago Sky had all the Premier League and Champions League football matches. These days it has to share them with BT Sport. Where competition is usually good for the consumer, this most definitely is not because it means you have to bolt on BT Sport to your Sky TV package to be able to watch it all. Unsurprisingly perhaps, the cost of football never stops rising.
Lastly, you can upgrade your calls package in an effort to pay for less calls made from your landline. Of course, this will only be useful to households where the landline is in frequent use, and you'll likely upgrade as soon as you get a bill with call charges you don't like the look of, but it's worth mentioning. If you're finding your Sky bill is higher than you'd like, look into upgrading your calls package to include anytime calls or mobile numbers.
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