Home  ›  Guides  ›  BT vs Sky - A side-by-side review of broadband  ›  ...

BT vs Sky - A side-by-side review of broadband, TV & phone

Monday, June 30th 2014

BT and Sky are two of the UK’s foremost providers of digital TV, broadband and home phone services, but in many ways, that’s where the similarity ends. Sky is renowned for its TV services, but can BT compete in other areas?

Here the providers go head to head on their respective broadband, TV and phone offerings, along with any extras and the quality of customer service. Let the battle commence.

At a glance

Download speed76Mbps
up to
76Mbps
up to
Upload19Mbps
up to
19Mbps
up to
Traffic management
Public wi-fi
Standard TV channels70+240+
HD channels1050+
Line rental per month£16.99£16.40
Line rental saver£164
per year
Compare bundles →Compare bundles →
BT
Download
Up to 76Mbps
Upload
Up to 19Mbps
Usage limits
Yes
Traffic management
  •  
Public wi-fi
  •  
SD channels
70+
HD channels
10
Line rental
£16.99
Line rental saver
£164 per year
Sky
Download Speed
Up to 76Mbps
Upload Speed
Up to 19Mbps
Fair Usage Policy
No
Usage limits
Yes
Traffic management
No
Static IP
No
Minimum contract
From 12 months
Public wi-fi
Yes
Prices from
£0 per month

Broadband

BT broadband

BT offers several standard and fibre broadband packages, each of which comes bundled with a landline calls plan and a BT Home Hub wireless router along with unlimited access to the UK’s largest public wi-fi network. BT's fastest available package is up to 300Mbps, but only a tiny proportion of the UK population can access this sort of speed. BT's fastest widely available package has speeds of up to 76Mbps, which is the same as Sky's fastest package.

Sky broadband

Sky offers two standard broadband and two fibre broadband products. They come bundled with weekend calls as standard, a Sky Hub wireless router and, with the exception of Sky Broadband Lite, unlimited access to The Cloud network of public wi-fi hotspots. Sky's wi-fi network is nowhere near as extensive as BT's, covering around 20,000 locations rather than the millions covered by BT.

Download speed76Mbps
up to
76Mbps
up to
Upload speed19Mbps
up to
19Mbps
up to
Fair usage policy
Usage limits
Traffic management
Static IP
Minimum contract18 monthsFrom 12 months
Public Wi-Fi
From free£4.75 per month£0 per month
 Compare dealsCompare deals
BT
Download speed
Up to 76Mbps
Upload speed
Up to 19Mbps
Fair usage policy
No
Traffic management
No
Static IP
No
Minimum contract
18 months
Public Wi-Fi
Yes
From free
£4.75 per month
Sky
Download Speed
Up to 76Mbps
Upload Speed
Up to 19Mbps
Fair Usage Policy
No
Traffic management
No
Static IP
No
Minimum contract
From 12 months
Public Wi-Fi
Yes
From free
£0 per month

TV

BT TV

BT offers three TV packages – TV Starter, the Essential and Entertainment packs – which can only be accessed when taken in conjunction with BT broadband and phone. The TV Starter package comes with up to 70 Freeview channels, a Youview box, catch up TV and BT Sport. The Essential package includes everything TV Starter has, but comes with a Youview+ box, which allows you to record as well as watch your favourite shows. The Entertainment package offers everything the Essential package delivers plus an additional 20 extra channels, including Fox, SyFy and Comedy Central.

Sky TV

Sky TV is a more complete digital TV offering. It can be taken either as a standalone service or in a bundle with Sky broadband and home phone calls. Whichever option you choose you’ll get a Sky+ box for free. The basic package – The Original Bundle – features over 240 free-to-air channels, including Freeview, plus 35 entertainment channels including Sky One and Sky Atlantic. The Original Bundle can be upgraded if you want additional channels, along with HD and 3D options, or it can be further enhanced with Sky Sports or Sky Movies.

Standard channels70+
up to
240+
up to
HD channels1050+
up to
Mobile appsSky Go
Digital recorderYouview+ boxSky+ HD box
Prices from£5 per month£16.12 per month
 Compare dealsCompare deals
BT
Standard channels
Up to 70
HD channels
Up to 17
Mobile apps
None
Digital recorder
YouView box
Prices from
£5 per month
Sky
Standard channels
275
HD channels
Up to 66
Mobile apps
Sky Go
Digital recorder
Sky+ box
Prices from
£16.12 per month

Home phone

BT home phone

BT line rental is £16.99 per month and includes unlimited weekend calls to UK landlines and 0845 & 0870 numbers, and you have the option to pay extra to add anytime calls. However, if you fail to make at least two qualifying calls in any given month you will be fined £2. BT holds an important advantage over Sky in that it offers a line rental saver option, which means you can pay a full year’s line rental in advance for one payment of £169.90.

Sky home phone

Sky line rental costs £16.40 per month, which means an annual cost of £184.80. You’ll get inclusive weekend calls to UK landlines and 0870 numbers, or you can pay to upgrade this to anytime calls. Any bundle that includes calls and broadband requires you to pay line rental to Sky.

Line rental£16.99£16.40
Line rental saver£169.90
1471 featureFreeFree
VoicemailOptionalOptional
Call waitingOptionalOptional
Caller displayOptionalFree
Call diversionOptionalOptional
Contract length12 months12 months
BT
Line rental
£15.99
Line rental saver
£141.00
1471 feature
Free
Voicemail
Optional
Call waiting
Optional
Caller display
Optional
Call diversion
Optional
Contract length
12 months
Sky
Line rental
£15.40
Line rental saver
  •  
1471 feature
Free
Voicemail
Optional
Call waiting
Optional
Caller display
Free
Call diversion
Optional
Contract length
12 months

Bundles

BT bundles

Home phone lies at the heart of BT’s business, and whichever services you choose to sign up for you’ll have to pay line rental at £16.99 per month or £169.90 in advance per year. On top of that you can add BT services in the following combinations: home phone only, broadband and phone and broadband, TV and phone. BT's bundles operate on a pyramid. To get broadband, you need a home phone (landline). To get BT TV you need broadband and a home phone – all of which must be taken from BT.

Sky bundles

There is a little more flexibility with Sky packages with the option to take TV on its own. Bear in mind that for any Sky bundle that includes calls or broadband you will be required to pay line rental at £16.40 per month. Sky services are available in the following combinations: TV only, broadband and phone without TV, TV and phone without broadband and TV, broadband and phone. Sky customers have much greater scope for bundling their services. Sky bundles are competitively priced, and you get more for your money than with BT, but there is a catch; if you live outside the Sky network area you’ll pay more for a basic broadband package.

Customer service

BT customer service

Ofcom frequently rates the customer satisfaction levels of broadband, TV and home phone providers in its reports. BT took a bit of a battering in Ofcom's latest report, which revealed that the provider rated beneath the industry average for customer satisfaction. Even worse, the latest complaints figures from Ofcom show that BT had more complaints in than any provider other than TalkTalk. So overall, BT hasn't done great in this department.

Sky customer service

Sky performed significantly better than BT across all measurable standards in the same Ofcom reports. The provider rated above average in terms of customer satisfaction, and Ofcom's recent complaints report shows that Sky has one of the lowest rates of customer complaints of any provider other than Virgin Media. In this respect, Sky far outshines BT.

Extras

BT offers millions of public wi-fi hotspots

There's a whole raft of extras available when you sign up to BT. Broadband customers (and anyone with BT TV) will get access to cloud storage, parental controls, entirely free access to BT Sport either through the online player or your BT TV, and free use of any BT hotspot in the UK. There are millions of these BT hotspots knocking around the country too, so can be a great way to get online with your mobile device when you're away from home.

Sky has Sky Shield software and

Sky customers also get a bunch of extras - but not as many as those with BT. Sky TV can be thoroughly enhanced with extra channels, such as Sky Sports and Sky Movies (though don't forget, you'll have to pay), and you get Sky's mobile online player Sky Go for free. Broadband customers will get parental controls through the much-touted Sky Shield software. You can also get online for free with Sky wi-fi hotspots. But as these hotspots only number in the thousands, rather than the millions, this service pales in comparison to BT's.

Package comparison

  • Broadband
    Max Download Speed17Mb
    Max Upload Speed1Mb
    Monthly UsageUnlimited
    Fair UsageNo
    Traffic ShapingNo
    IP AddressingDynamic
    Digital TV
    TV Channels74
    SD Channels64
    HD Channels10
    3D Channels0
    Radio Channels30
    Home Phone
    Daytime Calls9ppm
    Evening Calls9ppm
    Weekend CallsInclusive
    Pricing & Contract
    Monthly Cost
    -
    £13
    Upfront Cost£41.95
    Contract Length12 months
    Line Rental p/m£16.99
    Average Monthly£33.49
    First Year Cost£401.83
    Lifetime Cost£401.83
    See deal →
    or call 0800 380 0064
  • Broadband
    Max Download Speed17Mb
    Max Upload Speed1.3Mb
    Monthly Usage2GB
    Fair UsageNo
    Traffic ShapingNo
    IP AddressingDynamic
    Digital TV
    TV Channels310
    SD Channels299
    HD Channels11
    3D Channels0
    Radio Channels70
    Home Phone
    Daytime Calls7.95ppm
    Evening Calls7.95ppm
    Weekend CallsInclusive
    Pricing & Contract
    Monthly Cost
    (£21.50 after 12 mths)
    £16.12
    Upfront Cost£16.95
    Contract Length12 months
    Line Rental p/m£16.40
    Average Monthly£27.68
    First Year Cost£332.19
    Lifetime Cost£332.19
    See deal →
    or call 0800 840 5394

Conclusion

BT

BT has the edge over Sky when it comes to offering extras like pubic wi-fi hotspots, while it also offers a line rental saver, which saves you around £33 for paying 12 months in advance. Plus you'll get BT Sport for free.

Sky

Sky is the clear winner when it comes to TV channel choice and customer service, and has truly unlimited downloads on its broadband. However, these two heavyweight providers are equally matched when it comes to widely available download speed.

Our advice is to focus on which is the better provider for you and your needs. Remember to check availability in your area, and make sure to check the latest BT and Sky special offers in our comparison section.

Compare BT deals → - Or call 0800 211 8695
Compare Sky deals → - Or call 0800 840 5395

Comments (11)

Dennis
23rd January 2015

I`ll be going back to Sky at the end of my contract with B.T. I`ve had to deal with BT`s helpline in India twice one operator I could understand the other, no chance and what a job to get through!

Lucas Philpott
3rd December 2014

Sky are way better in every aspect. I pay 49.50 for my sky tv because I have the complete bundle with multiscreen and I joined sky from virgin and if you join sky from virgin, you get 50 % off sky tv forever. This deal is only available to those who leave virgin media but not any other providers so I guess I'm lucky!

Damien
11th August 2014

Did I say you wanted to. And sky is 50p cheaper a month on line rental. You go to your sky internet. With their c*** router that needs boosters and call their free 0844 number when u need a bit of help.

hughezee
10th August 2014

Who cares about how many wifi hotspots ...its not if I'm going to travel around the uk like a bee looking for pollen. .. just go to mcds and get a coffee and free wifi ..cheapest line rental is the key ..bye

Damien
21st July 2014

Have you tried an alternative Ethernet cable? If not contact bt. I work for them and had a few problems with connectivity on the new sky box and home hub 3. The home hub 4 should resolve if not

21st July 2014

Hi Gaynor

Thanks for your comment. There's a thread on this in the BT forum. Hope it helps.

Hannah - Cable.co.uk

Gaynor
19th July 2014

I cannot link btinternet homehub3 with /Sky HD+box and neither /Sky nor BT will resolve problem . I am very upset !

James
1st June 2014

Bt also offer line rental saver.

Neither company shouts out about it as it's a loss overall for them. Think of a line rental saver as a loop hole to save you the money.

Also sky have a higher contention ratio than bt on both copper and fibre. There's a lot more too it than just the above.

damien
25th May 2014

bt have 7 million wifi hotspots, sky have 18'000 also bt have 24/7 tech support and free customer service number unlike sky. also bt offer a customer service gaurentee not offered by other provides but bt are more expensive

nobab
6th April 2014

Sky do offer line rental saver....when you pay up front it works out around 11.40 a month

Leave your comment

We will never share your email address and it will not be displayed.

Your name
Notify me of replies by email

Why do we need your postcode?

Once you enter your postcode, Cable.co.uk will perform a live lookup and check all the available providers in your area.

This ensures you receive accurate information on the availability of providers and packages in your area.

Your information is safe with us. We won't share your postcode with anyone. Guaranteed.

Close