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How to switch between Sky and BT

By Steve McCaskill | Friday, April 12th 2024

BT and Sky are two of the UK’s biggest communications providers, and both offer a wide range of broadband, television and phone services. There are pros and cons to both companies depending on your specific needs, but what if you want to switch between the two?

Perhaps you’ve seen a great deal, or you want to take advantage of Sky Stream or maybe you’re desperate for BT Sport. Whatever the reason, changing providers might seem difficult at first but it doesn’t need to be. Our guide will help you to decide which services you want from which provider, and how to go about switching.

Decide which services you want to switch

Back in the day, the equation was simple. Sky was a TV platform, while BT was a broadband and landline company. But over the past decade, the two have encroached on each other’s area of traditional strength and it’s possible to get everything from a single provider.

Taking multiple services from one company has its benefits. There’s just the one bill to pay or direct debit to set up, only one company to deal with if something goes wrong, and it often makes economic sense.

But sometimes it pays to shop around, or maybe you want to choose the best of breed. For example, you might want to keep Sky TV and take broadband and a landline out with BT. Just bear in mind that although you can take Sky TV without also taking Sky broadband, the same does not apply to BT, which still requires you to take BT broadband if you also want EE TV (formerly BT TV – BT owns EE and it was rebranded).

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Once you’re clear about what you want to keep and what you want to change, it’s time to go shopping. Both providers offer a range of fibre and Full Fibre broadband products. Sky’s Superfast service averages 59Mbps, and its Full Fibre packages are available in three speeds, averaging 145Mbps, 500Mbps and 900Mbps. All Sky broadband customers can take advantage of free wifi when they are away from home by connecting to The Cloud hotspots.

BT offers superfast fibre broadband, with a top average download speed of 67Mbps. LIke Sky, BT also offers ultrafast packages with speeds averaging 150Mbps, 500Mbps and 900Mbps. All packages have access to BT Wi-Fi’s nationwide network of five million hotspots.

Any BT or Sky customers who cannot access a fibre optic service at their address will be offered a standard broadband connection averaging 11Mbps. This speed is no longer available to customers who are on the fibre network.

Sky and BT customers that choose a superfast fibre broadband and phone deal will have pay-as-you-go calls as standard. BT customers can choose to pay extra to have either 700 minutes or unlimited minutes each month, and bolt on internal calls too if required. Sky customers can choose to add evening and weekend calls, unlimited anytime calls and international calls. BT superfast customers can choose to save a fiver a month by foregoing their landline completely and going broadband-only.

Customers that choose Full Fibre with BT or Sky will have a broadband-only package by default, but can choose to add an internet calls package if they wish at extra cost.

Make sure you check to see what privileges you are losing by changing provider and whether the new benefits make up for it. And don’t forget to see if your new broadband service is available where you live. BT and Sky both use the Openreach network so it’s likely, but it doesn’t hurt to double check.

If you want television services as well, then you can get broadband with EE TV included too. BT TV has rebranded, but like before, EE TV cannot be purchased on its own and is only offered with BT Broadband.

Making the change

Breaking up is hard, especially over the phone, but because both BT and Sky use the Openreach network it’s fairly straightforward thanks to legislation that means you don’t actually need to tell your old broadband and landline company that you’re leaving.

Instead, your new provider will speak to the old one to inform them they’re being dumped and both BT and Sky will write to you telling you about the change. However the same rules don’t apply to television, so if you’re planning to switch your TV service over as well, you will have to give your current provider a ring.

If you’re switching from BT to Sky

Simply place your order with Sky, whose team will talk to BT to tell them about the change. About two weeks after your order has been placed, your service will be automatically switched over. If you are switching to Sky broadband and TV, the relevant Sky router will be sent to you in the post, along with your chosen TV option; Sky Glass, Sky Q or Sky Stream. If you are just switching broadband, you will be sent the Sky Broadband Hub.

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If you’re switching from Sky to BT

Once you place your order, BT will give Sky the news on your behalf. BT will then give you a switching date which is usually within two weeks, unless you opt for a later one. A BT Smart Hub will be sent through the post and you can connect the router easily yourself. If you need an engineer installation (for a new line, for example) then BT will let you know. If you are taking a BT TV package too, then the BT TV Pro Box will also be sent in the post.

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Check your current contract

Before making the switch, you should check your contract to see whether there is an early cancellation fee. If your minimum term has expired, then there shouldn’t be anything to pay beyond your final bill.

Sky requires 14 days’ notice for cancelling its broadband, and 31 days’ notice for its TV services, whereas BT needs 30 days’ notice for all its services. If you leave before either of these terms expire, you could be liable for an early cancellation charge. However, in some cases, your new provider might pick up the bill. Sky will give you up to £100 credit on your account if BT charges you for leaving. Simply pay the charges, send the details along with evidence of payment to Sky and a credit will be paid into your account within 14 days.

During the transition period, it’s possible that Sky will ring you and entice you to stay with them with a fantastic offer – even after you’ve cancelled. BT are less likely to do this, but may still want to keep your custom. If cost is a factor, then it might be worth considering what they have to say, but if it’s not, stay strong.

Frequently asked questions


Will there be a set-up fee?

With some packages there may be an installation or activation charge, especially if you need a new phone line to be installed or want a TV and broadband package.

How long will it take to switch?

If you’re switching to BT, then it will give you a switching date once you’ve placed your order. This is usually within two weeks unless you choose a later one. You can even change this if you need to, as long as it’s not too close to the completion date.

If you already have a phone line, then Sky will endeavour to make the switch remotely and this will usually happen within two weeks. If you need an engineer to install a Full Fibre connection or put up a satellite dish, then it will depend on availability. You can track your order using Sky’s online portal and appointments can be rescheduled up to 48 hours before the visit.

Will I lose service?

BT advises that you should only lose service for around 30 minutes on the day of the switchover, while Sky suggests it is 25 minutes.

Will I need new equipment?

Yes. Sky and BT will supply you with their latest routers to access the internet. For BT, this is the Smart Hub 2 and for Sky it is the Sky Stream, Sky Glass, or Sky Q Hub for TV, and the Sky Broadband Hub for broadband services. The same is true of your TV box: BT supplies the EE TV box whereas Sky offers a choice of three options: Sky Q, Sky Glass (with built-in Sky TV) and Sky Stream.

In most cases, you will need to return your old equipment to your previous provider (they should arrange for collection) so that means all your old recordings will be gone.

Will I face a cancellation charge?

Normally only if you’re breaking a minimum term contract and trying to switch before your initial contract term is up. Check the terms and conditions of your previous provider to make sure.

Can I keep my phone number?

Yes. When you place your order with your new provider, tell it you want to keep your existing number and provide the name of your existing provider. If for some reason it can’t be transferred, then you will be given a new one.

Can I rejoin Sky or BT in the future?

Yes, of course. And you can use our guide to make the switch as seamless as possible.

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