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Sky Mobile SIM only explained

By Dan Howdle | Friday, March 22nd 2019

In this guide

  1. Why choose Sky SIM only?
  2. Sky Mobile network
  3. Data and calling features
  4. Roaming
  5. Best alternatives
  6. Frequently asked questions

Sky Mobile was launched in 2017 and has a range of plans you can take with or without a handset. If you’re happy with the phone you already own or have your eye on a great deal to buy one outright, you’ll just need to pick the right SIM only plan based on the amount of data you need.

Sky Mobile offering is very much aimed at those who already signed up to Sky TV, but that’s not to say there’s nothing to tempt new customers to join the service.

Why choose a Sky Mobile SIM only deal?

Sky Mobile is packed full of features – some of them unique to Sky – and there’s even more benefits to enjoy if you’re already a Sky TV customer.

  • Data rollover – Sky Mobile’s data rollover feature, called Roll, lets you store your unused data in an online ‘piggybank’ for up to three years. You can dip into it and use it whenever you like, and even share it with family members on the same account if you want to.
  • Flexible plans – Sky Mobile’s Mix feature allows you to change your plan each month if you so wish. SIM only contracts are for 12 months but if you find you’ve opted for too much data or not enough, you can just change your plan using the Sky Mobile app.
  • Free unlimited calls and texts – Sky Mobile has always offered unlimited calls and texts for free to Sky TV and broadband customers, but is currently extending offer to new customers joining Sky Mobile.
  • Unlimited streaming of Sky TV on your mobile – If you have Sky TV and sign up to Sky Mobile, you can use all Sky apps without eating into your data allowance. This includes Sky Go, so get ready to stream all your favourite shows on the go.
  • Separate bills for TV and mobile – Existing Sky TV or broadband customers signing up to Sky Mobile will be able to use the same Sky iD to log into their online account. But you’ll be billed separately for mobile, so it’s easier to keep track of your outgoings.
  • Family SIMs – You can add up to four extra SIMs to your Sky Mobile account – a feature that’s perfect for families. And if you’re in the Diamond or Platinum tiers of the rewards programme Sky VIP then you may also get a free 1GB boost in your Sky Piggybank for each SIM you add.

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Is Sky Mobile a good network?

Sky Mobile is what is known as an MVNO (mobile virtual network operator). This means it doesn’t have its own network and instead uses one of the UK’s four national networks (run by EE, O2, Vodafone and Three) to operate its mobile services. Sky Mobile uses O2’s infrastructure.

O2’s 4G network covers 98% of the UK’s population and since 2013, 4G coverage has been bought to more than 17,000 towns, villages and hamlets all across the country. The operator is now working to provide more capacity in places where its network gets really busy, such as city centres and train stations.

According a report by analytics firm Opensignal, a 4G signal on the O2 network was available to users 83% of the time between June and August 2018.

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Data and calling features

How you’re allowed to use your data and how easy it is to share or store it varies from provider to provider. So let’s take a look at Sky Mobile’s policies on the following data and calling features.

  • 4G data speed – In the most recent report by Opensignal, the average 4G speed measured on the O2 network was the slowest of the four UK operators. That said, average 4G speeds of 14.6Mbps are plenty good enough to do pretty much everything you’d want to do with your phone and faster than some people get with their home broadband.
  • Data rollover – Sky Mobile’s data rollover goes a bit further than other providers than simply add your unused data to the following month’s allowance. Sky stores your unused data for up to three years and lets you use it whenever you want.
  • Mobile tethering – Sky Mobile doesn’t appear to place any restrictions on the amount of data you can use for tethering, which is when you use your phone as a wifi hotspot, allowing other devices to get online.
  • Wifi calling – Wifi calling, which allows you to make calls over a wifi connection when you have no 3G or 4G signal, is available on Sky Mobile but only on certain devices. If you’re not sure whether you have a compatible device, set up wifi calling and try making a call. If the wifi indicator doesn’t show, your device isn’t compatible.
  • Data gifting – The Roll feature allows you to share the data stored in your Sky Piggybank with other Sky Mobile SIMs on the same account.
  • Data caps – You can set different monthly spend caps for each SIM on your account, of between £0 and £100. This limits your spending on things not included in your plan, such as calls to premium numbers or picture messages.

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Roaming on Sky Mobile

Roaming is automatically enabled for Sky Mobile customers but if you do have a SIM only deal, you’ll need to check that your phone is ready to roam while you’re abroad. You can do this via your phone’s settings. SIM only customers with a Samsung Galaxy S6 or older, or an iPhone 4s or older, will also need to update their Sky iD roaming settings while connected to wifi when they arrive at their destination.

If you want to use voicemail while abroad then there’s also a bit of setting-up to do before you leave. You can do this by following the instructions after calling your voicemail (759 for Sky Mobile customers).

Sky Mobile offers roaming with no extra cost in 30 EU and EEA destinations – it calls this feature ‘Roaming Passport’ and it is automatically enabled.

The places where you can roam like at home for free are Austria, Azores, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canary Islands, Croatia, Cyprus (excluding Northern Cyprus), Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Republic of Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madeira, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Reunion, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden.

Sky Mobile also allows you to access your UK data plan in 12 destinations outside of the EU for £5 per 24 hours. This feature is called Roaming Passport Plus and activates automatically when you start using data in any of the 12 places. If you don’t want to use it, you should turn off mobile data and data roaming in your phone’s settings before you arrive at your destination.

Sky Mobile’s Roaming Passport Plus destinations are Australia, Canada, Christmas Islands, Cocos Islands, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Qatar, South Africa, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey (including Northern Cyprus) and the USA.

Roaming charges, which differ from country to country, apply for a further 100 non-EU destinations.

Calling abroad from the UK on Sky Mobile

All Sky Mobile customers have the ability to send texts and make calls to international numbers from the UK. How much you’re charged will vary depending on the number you’re calling or texting. Picture messages can only be sent to UK mobile numbers (you’re probably better off using a messaging service like WhatsApp anyway) and texts over 160 characters will be charged as two or more messages.

If you regularly call or text an international number, it might be worth adding International Saver to your Sky Mobile account. This gives you discounted calls and texts to more than 60 destinations (5p per minute and 10p per text).

Sky Mobile’s International Saver destinations are Australia, Austria, Azores, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bermuda, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Canada, Canary Islands, Chile, China, Christmas Islands, Cocos Islands, Colombia, Cyprus (including Northern Cyprus), Denmark, Finland, France, French Guiana, Germany, Greece, Guadeloupe, Guam, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Republic of Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Kuwait, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madeira, Malaysia, Malta, Martinique, Mexico, Mongolia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Northern Marianas, Norway, Pakistan, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Reunion, Romania, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, USA, Vatican City and the US Virgin Islands.

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Which providers offer good alternatives?

If you’ve still not made up your mind about Sky Mobile, then maybe it’s worth a quick look at what alternatives are out there. This is how’s Sky’s rivals match up.

  • ASDA Mobile – Asda Mobile, which uses the EE network, offers 30-day SIM only deals and offers free roaming in 50 European destinations.
  • BT Mobile – BT Mobile, which runs on the EE network, offers discounts with every additional SIM you add to your account and cashback with many of its SIM only deals.
  • EE – EE lets you gift data to family members with SIMs on the same account and will give you 10% off for every additional line you add.
  • giffgaff – giffgaff, which uses the O2 network, doesn’t do data rollover but does let you start your next monthly plan early if you run out of data or minutes. All of its SIM plans are 30-day deals.
  • iD Mobile – iD Mobile, which uses Three’s network, automatically rolls your unused data over to the next month and offers inclusive roaming in 50 destinations in Europe and beyond.
  • O2 – O2 offers free data roaming in its Europe Zone and with certain tariffs you can use roam in 75 countries including USA, Australia and New Zealand.
  • Plusnet Mobile – Plusnet Mobile, which runs on the EE network, offers roam like at home in 40 European destinations and often ogives away Plusnet Reward Cards with its 12-month SIM only deals.
  • SMARTY – Smarty, which uses Three’s network offers 30-day rolling SIM only deals and gives you a discount on your next monthly bill based on the amount of data you had leftover the previous month.
  • Tesco Mobile – Tesco Mobile, which is on the O2 network, has pay monthly SIM deals that include the ability to roam in 48 European destinations with no extra charge.
  • Three Mobile – Three goes above and beyond with its roaming offer and lets you use your allowance in more than 70 destinations including Indonesia, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and the USA.
  • Virgin Mobile – Virgin Mobile, which runs on the EE network, automatically rolls your unused data over to the next month and lets you roam like at home in 43 destinations.
  • Vodafone Mobile – Vodafone will let you upgrade to a new phone after three months if you have a SIM only contract. It also lets you use your allowance in 48 destinations with its Global Roaming feature.

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Frequently asked questions

How can I set up Watch on my device?

If you’re a Sky Mobile and Sky TV customer, you can download the Sky+ app and if you’re connected to your home wifi, it will automatically create a playlist for you to stream on your phone.

What happens if I go over my Sky Mobile data plan?

If you run out of data you have options – you can use any data you may have stored in your Sky Piggybank, you can buy a 1GB add-on for £10 or just pay the out-of-plan per MB cost for data. If you’re regularly going over your allowance, it’s probably worth setting a spending cap and don’t forget you can always increase your package to include more data – that’ll work out cheaper in the long-run.

Can I keep my existing number?

Yes, but there’s a couple of things you need to do. One is to activate your Sky Mobile SIM. You’ll also need to request a PAC code from your old provider, then once you have it submit a number transfer request to Sky. It should then take 1-2 working days for Sky to transfer your number.

Does my phone need to be unlocked to join Sky Mobile?

Most pay monthly phones are ‘locked’ to the provider you bought it from, so if that’s the case then yes you’ll need to get it unlocked before you can use a Sky Mobile SIM. You can do this by contacting your old provider.

Do I need a Sky iD to use a Sky Mobile SIM?

Yes, you need a Sky iD in order to use any Sky services. If you already have a Sky iD because you are a Sky TV or broadband customer then you’ll be able to use the same one for your Sky Mobile account. If you’re new to Sky then you’ll be given a new Sky iD, which consists of a username (or your email address) and a password.

How do I get the right size Sky Mobile SIM?

The SIM sent out with all Sky Mobile deals already comes in three sizes – nano, micro and standard. You just pop out the right size SIM to fit your device.

Does Sky Mobile run credit checks?

Yes, Sky Mobile does run credit checks. If you’re declined a credit agreement by Sky, the provider won’t be able to tell you exactly why your application was rejected, but you may be able to use Sky Credit Builder, which lets you build up a payment history with the company over six months with a SIM only contract.

This won’t improve your credit score for applications to other providers but will build a payment history with Sky that could lead to you getting a credit agreement for a phone if you make all your payments on time and in full.

Can I cancel Sky Mobile early?

If you enter into a SIM only deal with Sky Mobile you can leave within your 14-day cooling off period without incurring a charge. After that, if you cancel before the end of your minimum contract period you will need to give Sky 31 days’ notice of your intention to leave and you’ll probably be charged an early termination fee.

Who can get Sky Mobile?

Anyone can get a Sky Mobile deal as long as you pass all the required credit checks etc. It’s not just for Sky TV and broadband customers, although there are more benefits to the service if you do have Sky TV.

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