Sky Mobile is a relative newcomer to the mobile market. However, with a storied history in providing other stellar services and special privileges afforded to Sky TV customers, Sky Mobile may be right up your street.
Succinct. Easily summed up. Simple. These are words that could easily be used to sum up Sky Mobile’s handset offering. It appears to be a conscious choice in Sky’s part: Keep it simple, hit the important notes. And with 23 handsets from just three manufacturers at the time writing, it’s certainly doing that.
Yes, we could rue the non-appearance of handsets from some other manufacturers – especially considerably cheaper but similarly featured Chinese handsets from the likes of Huawei and OnePlus – but what we have does cover much of what anyone might want with full ranges available from Apple, Samsung and Sony.
On top of that, Sky Mobile offers a similarly limited range of mobile data SIMs. Unusually, 10GB is currently the maximum amount of data Sky Mobile offers, and we would also add that its SIM deals are only really competitive if you’re already a Sky TV customer. Otherwise they are somewhat expensive in the grand scheme – if you’re just after cheap, copious data you will be better served elsewhere.
Most mobile providers in the UK don’t have their own physical network (the masts and so on that send and receive signal). Instead they ‘piggyback’ one of the UK’s four physical network providers: O2, EE, Three or Vodafone. Providers like Sky Mobile, which piggyback rather than provide their own network are known as Mobile Virtual Network Operators, or MVNOs.
Truth be told which mobile network a provider is on only matters when it matters. They all cover over 98% of the UK, so it only comes down to whether it covers you and the places you go or not. Most should rest easy – coverage is unlikely to be a problem unless you’re in the sticks. To be on the safe side, however, we recommend using either O2 of Sky’s coverage checker.
It should be considered, however, that coverage checkers do not do a very good job of telling you how signal will behave indoors, so if you want to be absolutely certain it’ll work at home, get a friend over who’s on Sky or O2 and check what the signal is like in various rooms.
Sky Mobile has two different upgrade incorporated into its with-handset pay monthly offering: Swap12 and Swap24. As their names imply the former allows you to upgrade your handset to a new one every 12 or 24 months respectively. Obviously, this means sending your old handset back to Sky at that time.
Whichever plan you choose it remains an ‘option’, not something you have to do. However, since swap plans mean paying a higher monthly premium for the privilege you’ll need to inform Sky Mobile if your intention is to keep your old handset so it can lower your premiums accordingly.
It’s worth bearing in mind that each time you swap your phone you are entering a new credit agreement – a loan, essentially, covering the cost of the handset – and that this loan agreement may extend beyond the swap period, essentially tying you in for longer.
To be fair a number of providers are offering something similar. The way it works with Sky Mobile is you’ll get a ‘Sky Piggbank’, which contains your unused data from the previous month. To access it you’ll need to log in to your Sky account and ‘roll back’ the data 1GB at a time. It’s convoluted, for sure, but Sky no doubt has its reasons for doing it this way.
Ultimately, when you’re going to really need a bit of extra data as you hit your limit is likely to be out and about and away from wifi. Having a little extra to reach out and grab at no extra cost then certainly does fit the purpose.
Though Sky Mobile’s range of tariffs is fairly limited it does offer one feature that the majority of other providers do not: You can change is pretty much whenever you like to a maximum of once a month.
This means that if you’re someone who has phases of differing usage throughout the year you can always make sure you’re on the most economic plan. For example those with kids may find their text or call usage varies up or down during school holidays.
As we mentioned earlier, Sky Mobile is hard to recommend as anything particularly special in many ways – and that’s something that actually should be the case of any TV and broadband provider branching out into mobile when you really think about it. Ultimately, it should be most tempting to those who either already have, or are planning to get, Sky TV and/or broadband.
But there is a catch: It’s all rather expensive at the time of writing whether you’re an existing Sky customer or not. It’s in the way Sky Mobile splits out its plans. You get a plan that includes no free texts or calls for similar money to those offered by other providers that do offer those things, but then if you want unlimited calls and texts you have to add it on for an extra tenner. And that works out as a lot, in the grand scheme.
It’s quite ill-advised on Sky Mobile’s part. This is the same model Sky has recently applied to both its broadband and TV deals: Get a basic package then bolt on what you want. And it’s a good idea were it not for the fact that the sum of all parts gets rather expensive compared to other providers.
The Sky Go App can be downloaded to your phone or tablet and allows you to stream content from Sky TV whenever and wherever you are, provided you are a Sky TV customer. Sky Go Extra layers on top of that the ability to pre-load content you want to watch on the move (download it in advance and watch it whenever you want to).
So this is pretty good: Provided you’re a Sky Mobile and Sky TV customer, you get Sky Go Extra for free – it normally costs about £60 per year. But that’s not the best thing about this. The best thing about it is you won’t eat into your data allowance when streaming while out and about. You get infinite data for Sky TV.
While not the widest selection of countries, Sky Mobile’s ‘Roaming Passport’ offering is decent enough. Free roaming just means your normal charges will apply when you’re away in certain countries. They are: Austria Azores (Portugal), Belgium, Bulgaria, Canary Islands, Croatia, Cyprus, Cyprus (Northern), Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland (Republic of), Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madeira (Portugal), Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Reunion, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden.
Sky Mobile also offers something called ‘Roaming Passport Plus’ which adds a further ten roaming destinations, albeit for data only. They are: Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Qatar, South Africa, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, and the USA.