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How to switch to Sky

By Emma Woollacott | Thursday, June 10th 2021

So you've seen the ads, and found yourself tempted. Sky's broadband packages are excellent, and its TV services simply can't be surpassed. But how do you go about switching from your current provider without the risk of incurring heavy fees or getting left in the lurch with a gap in service as the changeover happens?

The good news is that the process is generally pretty straightforward; but there are one or two pitfalls to look out for. We detail exactly what you need to do for a hassle-free switch to Sky.

Choose your new Sky package

If you haven't yet found a new deal from Sky, or just want to check you haven't missed anything, you can choose a package from the selection shown or click the button to browse all the available Sky packages. Once you've ordered your new package, Sky will help you through the switching process, and in most cases tell your existing provider about your intended departure.

The process of moving to Sky can vary slightly depending on which provider you are with at the moment – this is especially the case for Virgin customers moving to Sky – so we've outlined the process for each provider in detail below.

Choose a Sky package

How to switch from Virgin Media

First of all, have a look at all the current Sky broadband and TV deals available in your area. Once you've chosen a deal, you can click on the button to go through to Sky's website and make your purchase. You will then need to contact Virgin Media since, unlike other providers, Virgin runs its own network, rather than using Openreach. This makes the transfer a little more complicated, and means that Sky will not contact Virgin Media directly to cancel on your behalf and manage the process itself.

Don't worry, though; Sky will talk you through the process and advise you when it's time to contact Virgin and cancel your service. It'll make sure that you don't lose your Virgin Media service until Sky is set up and ready to go.

Will I have to pay a cancellation fee?

Once your contract with Virgin Media has come to an end, you can switch with 30 days' notice; it's the same notice period if you're on a rolling 30-day contract. Otherwise, sadly, you'll need to pay a cancellation fee that can often top £200 quid. The same applies if you're switching thanks to a house move – even if Virgin Media services aren't available in your new area. On the upside, Sky will pay up to £200 of cancellation fees if you want to leave Virgin Media before your contract is up.

Will I have to return my equipment?

Yes, Virgin Media will send out pre-paid packaging so that you can return your router and set-top box – don't forget to include all the extras like remote control and power cables. In the case of some older items, such as the company's TiVo boxes or Hub 2 routers, it's OK to just get rid of them yourself, although Virgin will take them as well.

Can I keep my Virgin home phone number?

Yes you can, as long as you tell Sky you want to do this before you buy your package.

Can I keep my Virgin Media email?

Unfortunately, no. If you leave Virgin Media broadband, you'll lose your email service after 90 days. You'll need to make sure you save any contacts, emails and files you wish to keep before that happens.

Can I keep some of my Virgin Media services?

You can choose to keep Virgin Media broadband and take Sky TV, but you can’t keep Virgin Media TV and have Sky broadband. Plus, in virtually all cases you’ll get a much better deal by moving your broadband, TV and phone over to Sky all in one go.

What if I'm due a refund?

In some cases, where you've paid for services in advance, you may be due a refund when you leave. Virgin Media says it'll sort out repayment automatically, though it may take six weeks or more to arrive.

Compare Sky packages

How to switch from BT

If you're getting a decent service from BT, the chances are that you'll be absolutely fine moving to Sky, as both providers use the same broadband network – Openreach. If you're not sure, or if you're moving to a new address, you can use our Sky availability checker to see exactly which services are available where you live.

Thanks to Ofcom, there's a very simple process for switching providers when they're using the same network. You won't even need to cancel your BT service yourself. Instead, as soon as you sign up, Sky will get in touch with BT and do the rest for you. Both companies will write to you detailing the services that you're moving, the date of the switchover, and any cancellation charges that you may have to pay.

Will I have to pay a cancellation fee?

Yes, you will, unless your contract has come to an end. If it hasn't, you'll be liable for the charges for the remainder of the term. Happily, Sky offers to pay up to £100 of cancellation fees if you want to leave BT before your contract term is up.

What happens to my direct debit now I'm leaving BT?

If you pay by direct debit, BT will take your final payment the same way. If you pay by monthly payment plan, the company won't take any further payments from your account once your account has been closed, but will send you a final bill explaining how you can pay.

Will I have to return my equipment?

If you've come to the end of your contract, then the equipment is yours to do with as you like. You can, though, return it to BT for recycling and reuse.

Can I keep my BT phone number?

No problem at all: BT and Sky use the same network, so all you need to do is tell Sky customer services you want to keep the same number.

Can I keep some of my BT services?

You can cancel BT TV without needing to cancel your broadband and phone. You can't keep BT TV, though, while dropping the company's broadband and phone services. However, even if you're switching TV services, you needn't lose BT Sport, as it's offered as a separate package by Sky.

How to switch from TalkTalk

TalkTalk and Sky use the same network, so unless you're moving house you can be confident that your new service will be comparable in terms of speed. You can double check Sky availability using our comparison service.

As both providers use the Openreach network, you'll only need to notify Sky that you're planning to switch: Sky will notify TalkTalk and arrange the rest for you.

Will I have to pay a cancellation fee?

If you're out of contract, the answer is no; otherwise, you'll be liable for charges right up to the end of the contract. Be careful, as this can add up to hundreds of pounds. However, all providers are now obliged to inform customers when their contract expires, plus, Sky will pay up to £200 of cancellation fees to anyone who wants to escape their contract early.

Can I keep my phone number?

No problem at all: just tell Sky that you’d like to do this as soon as you sign up.

Will I have to return my equipment?

If your contract's come to an end, the kit is yours to do with as you like. If you're cancelling early, you'll need to send everything back through the company's free returns service – or pay to keep it.

How to switch from other providers

As we've seen, where companies use the same Openreach network, you can be pretty confident that you can switch from one to another and maintain the same speed. If you want to make sure though, maybe because you're moving house, you can check Sky availability in your area using our postcode checker.

Again, because most providers share the Openreach network, Sky will be able to manage the transfer: you won't need to speak to your old provider. You'll get a letter from your old supplier confirming the switch, and telling you of any cancellation charges you may have to pay.

If you're switching from a company that runs its own cable network, then you can't count on Sky to manage the process. Other than Virgin Media, these providers tend to be pretty small and niche. In this case, you'll need to go through the 'cease and re-provide' process, informing both suppliers yourself. It's important to coordinate the time and date of the switchover, to avoid losing service.

Finally, in the unlikely event you are moving from one of the new Ultrafast, Fibre To The Premises (FTTP) services from BT, TalkTalk, Vodafone or EE, you will also need to arrange the cancellation yourself.

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