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How to switch between Sky and BT

By Steve McCaskill | Tuesday, June 15th 2021

BT and Sky are two of the UK’s biggest communications providers, offering a selection of broadband, landline, television and mobile 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 Q 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. With our handy guide you’ll be able to decide which services you want from which company and how to go about it.

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 Q and take broadband and a landline out with BT to take advantage of its Smart Hub router and get inclusive BT Sport. Just bear in mind that although you can take Sky TV without also taking Sky broadband, the same does not apply to BT, who still requires you to take BT broadband if you also want BT TV.

Pick a new deal

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 standard and fibre broadband products. Sky’s Broadband Essential service has no data limits and speeds averaging 11Mbps, while Sky Superfast fibre promises average speeds of 59Mbps.

BT also offers standard broadband, averaging 10Mbps with no data limits, as well as Fibre Essential with 36Mbps, while its Fibre 1 averages 50Mbps and its Fibre 2 averages 67Mbps. All packages are unlimited and have access to BT Wi-Fi’s nationwide network of five million hotspots.

Line rental is included as standard with both BT and Sky products. BT offers the option to have broadband only as well as broadband with a landline. Both providers have pay-as-you-go calls as standard now, with the option to pay extra for evening and weekend calls or anytime calls.

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 TV included too. BT’s broadband deals include access to BT Sport on Sky, so you don’t need to take out BT TV to get it. However you do need BT broadband to get BT TV.

Making the change

Breaking up is hard, especially over the phone, but because both BT and Sky use the Openreach network it’s a little easier thanks to new 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 send you a letter 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 landline and broadband service will be automatically switched over. If you are switching to Sky broadband and TV, a Sky Q hub router will be sent to you in the post. If you are just switching broadband, you will be sent the Sky Broadband Hub.

Compare Sky deals

If you’re switching from Sky to BT

Once you place your order, BT will give Sky the bad 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.

Compare BT deals

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 cancelling its TV services, while 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 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. BT will do the same up to the tune of £300 and pay within 28 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 setup 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 Sky Q.

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 phone line 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 and for Sky it is the Sky Q Hub for TV and broadband services, and the Sky Broadband Hub for broadband services. The same is true of your TV box: BT supplies the latest YouView+ box and Sky offers its Sky Q box and Sky Q minis for those wanting multiscreen.

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. 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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