Sky Mobile deals – what you need to know
In this guide
- Who is Sky Mobile?
- What does Sky Mobile offer?
- How good is Sky Mobile’s network?
- What are the alternatives?
- Frequently asked questions
Sky, a company known primarily for its satellite TV service, and then perhaps its broadband, began dipping its toe into the mobile market in 2017, offering SIM only deals to Sky customers primarily. Sky Mobile does not operate its own network, but rather piggybacks on the O2 network.
Since 2017, Sky Mobile has blossomed into a fully fledged provider, offering contract handset, SIM only, data only SIM and contract tablet deals. You don't have to be an existing Sky customer to take advantage of these deals. Let's take a look in a bit more depth.
Who is Sky Mobile?
Sky Mobile has named its defining selling points with a series of not entirely clear single-word 'brands': Roll, Watch, Swap, and Mix. Rather than sending you digging through Sky Mobile's website to find out what these mean, we've boiled them down into a series of features that we feel are much easier to understand.
This is what you'll get with a Sky Mobile deal.
- Data rollover – In essence, data you don't use can be rolled over to the following month in 1GB chunks. It is stored in a data 'piggybank' for up to three years. Theoretically, this means that if you accrue a decent amount of excess data you can reduce your monthly tariff using Sky's 'Mix' feature, which allows you to adjust your allowances every 30 days. You can also use your saved “piggybank” data to get money off a new phone.
- Remix your minutes, data and texts – 'Mix' as Sky Mobile laconically puts it, describes the ability to alter your usage allowances from one month to the next. It sounds like a lot of faff if you ask us, but beyond the above mentioned data tweaks, you might have a good use for it we haven't thought of yet.
- Upgrade every 12 months – Sky calls this 'Swap'. When you sign up you choose either Swap12 or Swap24. With Swap24 you will have paid for your handset by the end of the contract and are free to upgrade to a new one as normal. With Swap12, though, you can upgrade every year. Sky will buy your old handset from you and credit whatever it's worth to the hire-purchase loan on your next phone – your monthly repayments will then be worked out accordingly on your new contract. You can actually swap to a new device at any time after the first month of your contract, but the value of the device you are swapping will need to cover the cost of the rest of your contract. If it is worth less, you will have to pay the difference.
- Unlimited Sky Go streaming – Provided you are a Sky TV customer, you can stream Sky TV using the Sky Go app without using any of your data allowance
What does Sky Mobile offer?
Sky Mobile offers contract phones from a small-ish selection of popular manufacturers – it has the main bases covered, basically. On top of that it offers a (also small) range of SIM only deals with bonus data for Sky TV and broadband customers.
- Sky pay monthly phone deals – Sky offers a wide range of handsets, both new and refurbished, from a small group of manufacturers: Samsung, Apple, Huawei, Google and Sony. All handsets are available on either Swap12 or Swap24 terms (see above for definition). All Sky Mobile handsets are contracted – it won't sell you one outright
- Sky SIM only deals – Sky Mobile only offers a handful of SIM-only deals. You won't find any unlimited mobile data allowances on Sky, though. The largest allowance is 50GB, which is quite a lot, but if you eat a lot of data each month, you might want to look elsewhere
- Pay as you go SIMs – Sky Mobile does not offer any PAYG SIMs at the time of writing
- Data only SIMs – Sky Mobile does not offer any data-only SIMs at the time of writing. However, it does offer some contract tablets, where the data-only SIM comes as part of the deal
- Contract tablets – Sky Mobile offers a good selection of contract tablets from Apple and Samsung
How good is Sky Mobile’s network
Despite a very long list of UK mobile providers, there are actually only four network providers. Network providers are companies who do everything other providers do, but also own and maintain their own physical UK mobile network. They are: Three mobile, O2 mobile, EE mobile and Vodafone mobile. As for everyone else, they piggyback (lease space) on one of these four networks.
Sky Mobile is on the O2 network. As such, the data speeds and network coverage match O2's own. According to a 2021 report by Opensignal, the O2 4G network is actually the slowest of the four when it comes to download speeds, offering average real-world download speeds of 17.1 Mbps. Vodafone fares better with an average of 21.2 Mbps, Three better still at 25.2 Mbps, and EE is the clear winner with average download speeds of 44 Mbps.
Roaming on Sky Mobile
Now the UK has left the EU, mobile contracts don’t automatically include roaming in Europe. However there are a number of European countries where you can still use your call, data and text allowances as you would at home with no additional charges.
They are Austria, Azores (Portugal), Belgium, Bulgaria, Canary Islands, Croatia Cyprus (excluding Northern Cyprus), 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.
You can also add something called 'Roaming Passport Plus', which will allow you to use your minutes, texts and data as you would at home for 24 hours, for a flat fee – around £6 at the time of writing. Countries included in Roaming Passport Plus are USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Qatar, Switzerland, Thailand, Hong Kong, Christmas Islands and Cocos Islands, and Turkey.
For other destinations, you will need to check what the situation is before departing. Sky Mobile will also allow you to add a roaming spend cap, meaning you will not be able to accidentally spend over a set amount.