Claire Nottage | August 2nd, 2022
Both Sky and EE are popular mobile providers in the UK. EE runs its own network whereas Sky piggybacks on O2. Both offer 4G and 5G connectivity, and cover a majority of the country signal-wise. So how to choose between Sky Mobile and EE?
Both providers offer some good deals, but what about the specifics of pricing, coverage, speed, extras, and, importantly, customer service? We’ve taken a detailed look at what both providers have to offer to help you choose the one that’s best for you.
Both EE and Sky Mobile offer new phones on contract as well as SIM-only deals. Whether you are looking for the best deal on a new iPhone or just a cheap SIM deal for your current handset, both providers have something to offer.
When it comes to contract length, EE offers customers a choice of one month, 12 months or 24 months. Inevitably the price of the data is cheaper if you select a longer contract period. In comparison Sky only offers 12-month plans with its SIM-only deals.
Sky focuses on smaller data allowances, starting from around a fiver per month, with the most expensive deal costing about £25. In comparison, EE offers much more in the way of bigger data allowances for not much more than Sky’s most expensive deal. However, its smaller data offerings cost more than double those of Sky Mobile. In short, if you’re looking for a big data allowance, look to EE. If you’re only after 2GB or 3GB, then Sky is your best bet.
If you are looking for a pay-as-you-go deal, your only choice is EE as Sky Mobile does not offer PAYG. EE offers four PAYG packs ranging from 5GB to 100GB, all of which are valid for 30 days, but do enable data rollover. You can choose to set your PAYG deal to automatically recur with direct card payments. This will also give you a 10% discount each time you renew.
When it comes to mobile speeds, EE leads the way. According to the latest research from industry analyst RootMetrics, EE is still way ahead of the other networks when it comes to download speed, with an average overall of 60.4Mbps. In comparison, O2 only manages 15.2Mbps on average. This average represents a national average of both 4G and 5G speeds combined for both networks.
If you are looking for fast download speeds and unlimited data then EE is the provider for you. As well as unlimited data, EE also offers some very limited data deals, including 100GB and 160GB, both of which would keep almost anyone connected through the month.
On the other hand, the maximum data allowance offered by Sky Mobile (at the time of writing) is just 50GB. This is more than enough if you spend most of your time connected to home or work wifi, but if you tend to rely on your mobile connection to get online and regularly use your mobile data to stream audio and video, you will rapidly eat through 50GB in a month.
If you just want a small data allowance to keep you connected for those times where you are not using wifi, however, then Sky Mobile offers some cheap, small data allowances which may be just perfect for your needs.
EE was the first provider to introduce 5G in the UK and still offers excellent 5G coverage. EE 5G is currently available in 193 towns and cities across the UK and coverage continues to grow. You may be surprised to know that O2 5G claims to be available in 200 towns and cities, giving Sky Mobile the slight edge over EE when it comes to 5G coverage.
For 4G coverage, both O2 (Sky Mobile) and EE claim to cover 99% of properties in the UK, meaning that you are unlikely to be without a signal almost anywhere.
According to communications regulator Ofcom’s latest report on mobile customer service satisfaction, only seven per cent of both EE and Sky Mobile customers had a reason to complain about their service, against an average of 10. Sky Mobile fared better with an average call waiting time of 1 minute and 50 seconds, whereas EE customers had to wait an average of two minutes and 25 seconds.
EE ranked joint third with Vodafone when it came to satisfaction with service overall with 92 per cent. Sky Mobile was not included in this metric by Ofcom, but O2 also scored 92 per cent. The highest level of satisfaction was with Tesco Mobile customers (which also operates on O2) with 96 per cent.
Both Sky Mobile and EE have seen an improvement in the number of complaints made to Ofcom per 100,000 customers since last year, down six and five respectively.
EE offers customers a selection of Smart Benefits to choose from. Depending on the plan and handset you choose, you can enjoy up to three Smart Benefits at no extra cost, including Apple Music, AppleTV+, Apple Arcade, Netflix and BT Sports Ultimate. EE also offers Roam Abroad, which gives the customer the option to use their minutes, texts and data abroad at no extra cost, and the Video Data Pass, which allows you to stream as much video as you want without using your data allowance.
It’s also worth knowing that if you sign up to EE broadband as well as EE mobile, you will benefit from an extra 5GB on your monthly mobile plans at no extra cost.
Sky Mobile has less to offer in the way of extras, but there are a few bonuses to be had. If you don’t use up your monthly data allowance, you can roll on any unused data for up to three years by keeping it in what is known as your Sky Piggybank. You can also mix your plan around from month to month, changing your data up or down as you need to. Plus, if you’re an existing Sky TV customer, you can watch Sky apps with SKy Mobile without using your data.
Since the UK has left the European Union roaming charges have been reintroduced for British travellers visiting the European Union as well as elsewhere.
For EE customers that took out a plan before 7th July 2021, there are still no roaming charges. You simply need to enable roaming on your mobile phone and text ROAMING to 150 before you leave the UK to enable you to make calls and texts at no extra cost.
For EE customers that joined on or after 7th July 2021, roaming charges will apply. If you have signed up to the Roam Abroad Smart Benefit, you won’t have to pay. Alternatively, you can choose to pay for Roam Abroad, which costs just a tenner a month, otherwise you will be charged £2 per day that you are abroad. Roam Abroad allows you to use your UK allowances in the USA, Canada, Mexico, Australia and New Zealand, as well as in 47 European countries.
Sky Mobile offers its Roaming Passport Plus pass which costs £2 a day and will allow you to use your UK minutes, texts and data in over 55 popular destinations, from Europe to the USA and Australia. There is no need to ask Sky to activate this; simply enable roaming on your phone and the charge will be automatically levied if you are in one of the covered countries. Check that the country you are visiting is covered by the Roaming Passport before you set off, otherwise you are likely to be hit by sky-high charges.
When it comes to download speed, EE is still miles ahead of the other networks – including O2, which is used by Sky Mobile – so if this is important to you, then EE is your best option. In terms of coverage, both Sky Mobile and EE offer 99 per cent UK coverage with 4G, with Sky Mobile (O2) slightly leading the way when it comes to 5G.
EE offers an extensive range of deals to suit every customer, from the latest handset and pay monthly deals to unlimited SIM-only deals. It also offers pay-as-you-go options. In contrast, Sky Mobile offers smaller data plans and no pay-as-you-go packs, although, like EE, it does offer all the latest handsets.
Both providers do pretty well when it comes to customer service, but if you travel frequently, EE is your best bet with its Roam Abroad option offering better value than Sky’s Roaming Passport. EE also offers better extras with its Smart Benefits than Sky.
Overall, EE wins this battle, with its unlimited data deals, pay-as-you-go options, faster download speeds and valuable Smart Benefits. However, if you just want a well-priced, modest data deal and maybe already have a Sky TV plan that you would like to watch on the go without using your data, Sky Mobile is a great option.