Dan Howdle | Updated May 19th, 2022
Sky came rather late to the party with the launch of Sky Mobile: it only started providing phone services at the beginning of 2017, and at first only offered SIM-only plans. But how does it fare in 2022?
Sky Mobile promotes itself on being unusually flexible, with features such as the ability to roll over data from month to month and store it for up to three years, as well as the option of changing your data plan at will and swapping your handset mid-contract.
The company says it came up with its flexible service offerings after interviewing tens of thousands of people about what they liked and disliked about existing mobile phone plans. And the conclusion, says Sky, is that customers wanted to be able to adjust their plans at will and avoid paying for things they don't need. So did the company get it right? Is Sky Mobile all it's cracked up to be? Let's take a look.
Sky Mobile offers six SIM-only deals ranging from 2GB to 60GB of data a month, all with unlimited texts and calls. There is also a 100MB plan that is only available in conjunction with a handset deal. Any unused data rolls over to the next month, and unlimited streaming on Sky apps is included as standard, so you can watch Sky TV on the move without using up your data. Unfortunately there are no discounts for existing Sky customers taking a Sky Mobile deal.
All the company's plans work in the same way, with that much-touted flexibility. While some providers allow customers to roll over unused data at the end of the month, most won't let you keep it for longer than a month. In contrast, with Sky Mobile you can 'piggy-bank' all your unused data for up to three years.
You can change your plan to suit yourself on a month-by-month basis. If you find you are paying for more data than you need, you can downgrade to a smaller plan, or if you need more data you can shift up to a bigger plan. Sky does not offer any unlimited data plans however.
If you go for a handset deal with Sky Mobile, you can also enjoy flexibility with the phone itself, with the option to sign up for a two-year or three-year contract. Slightly confusingly, Swap12 is a 24-month contract which allows you to swap to a new phone after 12 months without being charged, and Swap24 is a 36-month contract in which you can swap your phone after 24 months. With both options you can also choose to pay off the cost of your handset in full after one month.
Sky Mobile only started offering handsets in 2017, and it's still pretty selective in terms of the brands it offers – you'll look in vain for HTC or LG phones, for example. Instead, the company focuses heavily on the latest Samsung Galaxy and iPhone handsets, alongside a handful of options from Huawei, Doro, Fairphone, Nokia and Sony. The latest handsets all come 5G-ready and with access to Sky’s 5G signal at no extra cost.
Sky Mobile also offers a selection of tablets from Apple and Samsung, all of which are available with a SIM-only plan of your choice, although there are no unlimited data options available.
Sky as a whole has a fantastic reputation for customer service. While Ofcom's latest consumer satisfaction figures don't cover Sky Mobile, most customers seem more than happy with the service they receive. And with Sky scoring high for satisfaction in the broadband, landline and pay TV categories, it's a fair bet that the company's mobile customers can expect the same great level of service too.
With special offers no longer available to existing Sky TV and broadband customers, you can take Sky Mobile’s offerings at face value when it comes to assessing value for money.
Sky flaunts its monthly data rollover as a big selling point, but this is also offered by a number of other providers, including Plusnet Mobile, although being able to keep your spare data for up to three years may be an advantage for some.
Its Swap12 and Swap24 schemes whereby you can switch your handset for a new one before the end of your contract are remarkably similar to O2’s Refresh scheme so Sky is not unique in offering this option.
Sky’s higher-end SIM-only plans do not offer particularly good value for money. EE offers 200GB for less money, and Vodafone and O2 offer Unlimited data for the same amount or less. However, its lower-end data offerings do offer pretty good value for money, and are on a par with some other providers.
One area where Sky excels is in its data-sharing. Any data you don’t use each month will be stored away in your Sky Piggybank for up to three years. This spare data can then be shared out between up to seven other SIMs. The value of the data can also be put towards rewards, accessories or a new phone.
Sky Mobile is a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO), and its services run on the O2 network. There's good 4G coverage, with Ofcom recently confirming that O2 can now provide 4G mobile data coverage to 99% of the UK population. O2 also has a growing 5G network, and all Sky’s SIM-only deals offer access to 5G, subject to being used in a 5G-ready handset.
According to Ofcom's latest customer satisfaction figures , O2 has one of the lowest levels of complaints of any mobile operator, with just 1% of customers dissatisfied. An impressive 93% of O2 users say they're happy with their signal coverage, putting O2 on a par with Vodafone, but pipped to the top spot by Giffgaff, 95% of whose customers are satisfied.
Of course, in order to be certain that you'll get decent coverage in your own home, you'll need to use Sky Mobile's availability checker and it's not a bad idea to ask around amongst your neighbours as well.
Sky Mobile offers all the latest flagship handsets and a decent selection of data deals to go with them, all of which come with unlimited calls and texts. However, the lack of an unlimited data option is disappointing, as is the limited selection of 5G-ready handsets.
On the upside, the service's data Piggybank scheme is a big selling point. If you find the amount of data that you use varies a lot from month to month, this could be a really useful feature; and one that could be ideal for families needing to top up the data of social media-mad teenagers. As a bonus, families already signed up to Sky's TV service can enjoy free data for watching any Sky TV app.