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Sky Mobile Review and Network Coverage

7th March 2022

Sky Mobile Network

Sky Mobile is an MVNO which uses O2’s infrastructure. That means wherever O2 has signal Sky Mobile does too, which currently means 4G coverage for around 99% of the UK population indoors.

You can expect that figure to continue to grow, as will its 5G coverage, which it also shares with O2. But coverage isn’t the main reason to pick Sky Mobile, as the network aims to stand out by offering roll over data – meaning that if you don’t use all your data one month you can add it to a future month, for up to three years.

The network also allows you to change between tariffs each month, even if you’re locked into a contract. And if you’re already a Sky TV customer you can get free extras.

These are all high points of the network, but it falters in some areas too, which you’ll find details of below. Read on then for a full review of Sky Mobile, along with an overview of its coverage.

Summary

Pros

Cons

Data roll over

Middling data limits

Flexible plans

Inclusive roaming is ending

Fairly low cost

No Pay As You Go

Our Rating

Table of Contents

Coverage

Which network does Sky Mobile use?

Sky Mobile uses O2’s infrastructure and spectrum, so its coverage is exactly the same, meaning you can get 5G, 4G, 3G and 2G in all the same places as you can on O2, and as O2’s coverage improves, so will Sky Mobile’s.

Sky Mobile Network Coverage

Network Type Coverage by population
5G Now available in 194 locations
4G  99%
3G 99%
2G 99%

Sky Mobile Coverage Checker

5G coverage

Sky Mobile also offers a 5G service. It uses O2 for coverage, meaning its 5G is available in the same locations. At the time of writing that means at least 194 towns and cities, including but not limited to:

Aberdeen, Ambleside, Ashford, Aughton, Aylesbury, Banstead, Basildon, Basingstoke, Beaconsfield, Bedford, Belfast, Bilston, Birkenhead, Birmingham, Blackburn, Blackpool, Blaydon, Bolton, Bournemouth, Bradford, Bradley Stoke, Bridge of Don, Brighton, Bristol, Brombourgh, Bury St Edmunds, Byfleet, Cambridge, Cardiff, Chadwell St Mary, Chatham, Chelmsford, Cheltenham, Chesterfield, Chipstead, Clacton-on-Sea, Colchester, Coventry, Darlington, Dartford, Derby, Dewsbury, Dinas Powis, Doncaster, Dudley, Dundee, Dunstable, Durham, Dyce, Eastbourne, Edinburgh, Egham, Epsom, Esher, Eton and Windsor, Falmer, Gateshead, Gatton Bottom, Gillingham, Glasgow, Gloucester, Gravesend, Grays, Great Yarmouth, Halifax, Harlington, Harlow, Hastings, Hebburn, Hemel Hempstead, Hextable, High Wycombe, Hove, How Wood, Huddersfield, Hull, Inverness, Ipswich, Iver Heath, Jarrow, Lancaster, Leeds, Leicester, Lincoln, Lisburn, Liverpool, Llandudno, London, Longford, Loughborough, Lowestoft, Luton, Maidstone, Manchester, Mansfield, Middlesbrough, Milton Keynes, Monifieth, Morley, Musselburgh, Newcastle Upon Tyne, New Denham, Newbury, Newtownabbey, North Shields, Northampton, Norwich, Nottingham, Nuneaton, Orpington, Oxford, Peterborough, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Potters Bar, Rainham, Reading, Redhill, Rochdale, Rotherham, Royal Tunbridge Wells, Rugby, Salford, Sheffield, Shepperton Green, Slough, Solihull, Southampton, South Shields, Southend-On-Sea, Staines, Stanraer, Stevenage, Stockport, Stockton, Stoke-on-Trent, Strathclyde, Sunbury, Sunderland, Swansea, Swindon, Thundersley, Tynemouth, Wakefield, Warrington, Washington, Watford, Wavetree, West Bromwich, Weybridge, Whickham, Whitley Bay, Wolverhampton, Worthing, and York.

Of course you’ll also need a 5G phone, but a number of these are available on Sky Mobile too.

4G coverage

Sky Mobile (through O2) currently has around 99% UK population coverage with 4G, which puts it in line with Vodafone, but likely behind EE, Three and any MVNOs powered by them.

4G from O2 and by extension Sky Mobile is now available in well over 16,000 UK towns, cities and villages.

The major towns and cities include but are not limited to: Antrim, Bradford, Birmingham, Bournemouth, Bridgend, Brighton, Burnley, Castleford, Coleraine, Coventry, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Leicester, Leigh, Liverpool, Livingston, Manchester, Newcastle, Sheffield, London, Macclesfield, Newtownabbey, Nottingham, Nuneaton, Pontypool, Poole, Portsmouth, Reading, St Albans, Sittingbourne, Southampton and Tamworth.

3G coverage

Sky Mobile also has widespread 2G and 3G coverage, at around 99% population coverage for each.

Use Sky’s coverage checker above to find out more about Sky 4G coverage in your area, including signal strengths and details on both indoor and outdoor coverage.

Plans

Sky Mobile currently offers just a small number of Pay Monthly and SIM Only plans, detailed below, with no Pay As You Go option. All plans come with 4G and 5G at no extra cost. All plans also allow you to roll over any unused data from one month to the next. There’s no limit to how much you can roll over, and you can store it for up to 3 years.

Sky Mobile Pay Monthly Plans

 

Mobile Phones

SIM Only

Data Only SIM

Plans Available

x

Max Data

50GB

50GB

N/A

Contract lengths

24 or 12 months

12 months

N/A

 

View deals

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SIM Only Deals
Sky Mobile

12 Month Contract

2 GB data

Unlimited mins

Unlimited texts

£6.00 a month

View Deal

Sky Mobile

12 Month Contract

3 GB data

Unlimited mins

Unlimited texts

£7.00 a month

View Deal

Sky Mobile

12 Month Contract

7 GB data

Unlimited mins

Unlimited texts

£9.00 a month

View Deal

Sky Mobile

12 Month Contract

12 GB data

Unlimited mins

Unlimited texts

£12.00 a month

View Deal

Sky Mobile

12 Month Contract

30 GB data

Unlimited mins

Unlimited texts

£15.00 a month

View Deal

View All Sky Mobile Sim Only Deals

Sky Mobile’s Pay Monthly and SIM Only plans come with a choice of 2GB, 6GB, 10GB, 15GB, 20GB, or 50GB of data. Those data costs come in at £6, £8, £10, £12, £15, and £25 respectively each month. Pay Monthly plans also come with the option of a 100MB plan which at the time of writing is free, but has a usual price of £5 per month.

Of course, on a Pay Monthly plan you'll pay more on top of that for your phone.

All plans also come with free unlimited calls and texts. You used to have to pay £10 extra per month for this unless you were a Sky TV customer, but at the time of writing it's available to everyone.

However, Sky TV customers now get a different bonus instead – they can stream an unlimited amount of content from Sky apps that they’re subscribed to without it coming out of their data allowance.

Pay Monthly plans last either 12 or 24 months - though for a 12-month plan you'll pay more each month for the phone component. Sky Mobile’s SIM Only plans last 12 months, but you can switch between them every 30 days if you need more or less data.

Sky Mobile also has tablet plans if you want to get your slate online. These come with the same data allowances as above, but aren’t available SIM Only (so you can’t get a Data Only SIM). Instead, you have to get a new tablet as part of the offering.

Data rollover is the clear highlight of Sky Mobile’s plans, while limited choices and middling data limits are a drawback.

Sky Mobile Perks

 

Mobile Phones

SIM Only

5G

Roaming

Tethering

Wi-Fi Calling

VoLTE

Data Rollover

Spending Caps

Unlimited Data

Family Plans

Credit Check

Sky Mobile offers more extras than some networks, as you can see in the chart above. Full details of these – and key policies – can be found below.

5G

Sky Mobile offers 5G on both SIM Only and Pay Monthly plans. This requires a 5G add-on, but that’s available at no extra cost.

Roaming Destinations

At the time of writing, Sky Mobile lets you use your full allowance of minutes, texts and data at no extra cost in over 30 EU and EEA countries.

Outside the EU you can pay £6 per 24 hours to roam in Australia, Canada, Christmas Islands, Cocos Islands, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Qatar, South Africa, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey and the USA.

However, from May 3rd, 2022, Sky Mobile will start charging £2 per day to access your allowances in EU/EEA destinations (other than the Republic of Ireland, the Channel Islands, and the Isle of Man).

But it’s not all bad news, because that £2 charge will also apply to the places outside Europe listed above (which currently cost £6 per day), and to the UAE.

Tethering

Sky Mobile allows you to use as much of your data as you want for tethering, meaning you can use your mobile data to get other devices online.

The only limitation is your overall data allowance, but as that tops out at 50GB at the time of writing it’s not the best network for tethering, though nor is it awful.

Wi-Fi Calling

Wi-Fi Calling means using a Wi-Fi network rather than your mobile network to call and text, but it typically still works with your normal number and dialler, so you can seamlessly switch between Wi-Fi and mobile networks and stay in touch where there’s no normal signal.

Sky Mobile offers this but currently only on the iPhone 6 or later, or a selection of Android phones, such as the Samsung Galaxy S8 or later, Galaxy Note 10, Galaxy Note 10 Plus, Sony Xperia 1, Sony Xperia 5, Huawei P30 and Huawei P30 Pro. You can find the full and up to date list here.

VoLTE

VoLTE stands for Voice over LTE and is sometimes called 4G Calling. It refers to the ability to make calls over 4G, which is beneficial because it means you can stay in touch when there’s only a 4G signal, and can also lead to better voice quality.

This is available on Sky Mobile, but at the time of writing only for select phones, including the iPhone 7 or later, the Samsung Galaxy S9 or later, and others. The full list of compatible devices can be found here.

Data rollover

One of the big selling points of Sky Mobile is data rollover, which is available both on SIM Only and Pay Monthly plans with a handset. This allows you to roll over any unused data for up to three years, which is far longer than most networks with data rollover, as the standard is just one month (if you can roll it over at all).

You also have the option of exchanging your spare data for discounts and rewards if you don’t plan to use it.

Spending caps

Sky Mobile lets you set a spending cap of anything from £0 to £100, rounded to the nearest pound. Whatever cap you set is the maximum you’ll be able to spend each month on data, call charges and texts that aren’t included in your standard allowances. Having a cap is optional though, so you can allow an unlimited amount of spending if you’d prefer.

Unlimited data

One area where Sky Mobile is a bit lacking is in its data allowances, as there’s no unlimited data option, despite a large number of networks now offering this.

Family plans

Sky Mobile doesn’t provide discounts for having multiple SIMs on your account, so in so much as it has any sort of family plans, they’re more limited than some networks, but it does let you share rolled over data with other SIMs.

This data can be shared with up to seven SIMs on your account, and since data can be rolled over for up to three years you might find that you have lots available to share.

Credit checks

All of Sky’s Mobiles plans require credit checks, which is no surprise, since they’re all at least 12 months long. If you don’t want to be credit checked then consider a network with Pay As You Go plans.

Unique perks

The main unique perk of Sky Mobile is being able to use Sky apps without them eating into your data allowance. However, this of course is only useful to Sky customers who already have access to Sky’s apps, as that access isn’t included as part of your Sky Mobile plan. It’s a way of rewarding customers of other Sky products then.

Awards

Sky Mobile has won a number of awards in recent years, including both Best Pay Monthly Network and Best Value Pay Monthly Network at the 2021 Uswitch Awards.

It also won Best MVNO at the Mobile Industry Awards 2021, and swept the board at the Expert Reviews Awards 2021, winning Best Overall, Best Customer Service, Best Value, and Most Reliable Network.

This is a heavily awarded network then, beating most rivals on this front.

Network

Network Speeds

Opensignal – Mobile Network Experience, September 2021, and April 2020

Network

Download/upload speeds

4G latency (ms)

EE

44/9.7Mbps

36.0ms

Three

25.2/6.3Mbps

48.3ms

Vodafone

21.6/7.4Mbps

39.0ms

O2 (Sky Mobile)

17.1/5.4Mbps

38.1ms

In a September 2021 Opensignal report (above), O2’s average download speed was found to be 17.1Mbps and its average upload speed was 5.4Mbps – that’s relevant because Sky Mobile uses O2’s infrastructure, so its speeds are likely to be similar.

In this case, that’s not a great thing, as that’s slower than the average download speed of any major rival. Note that these speeds factor in a combination of 5G, 4G and 3G.

Its average latency (from an earlier April 2020 report) is slightly better though at 38.1ms. That’s the measure of how long it takes the network to respond to a request and for that it beats Three and Vodafone, but still loses out to EE.

We’re also largely reliant on studies of O2 for 5G data. On that front, O2 apparently has average 5G download speeds of 115.7Mbps according to a September 2020 report from Point Topic, so Sky Mobile’s speeds may well be similar. Ookla meanwhile found in H1 2021 that O2’s median 5G download speed was 155Mbps.

Traffic management

Sky Mobile’s traffic management policy reads: “We will manage the network in order to give you the service we have agreed to. For example, we may automatically direct traffic onto different parts of the network such as 3G, 4G or WiFi.”

The network adds that if your use of ‘unlimited’ or roaming services exceeds “that reasonably expected of a reasonable person” the network may temporarily suspend your services or charge you, but you’ll be notified before any charges are made. This sort of fair use policy is unlikely to affect most users.

Network Frequencies

Sky Mobile Network Frequencies

Frequency

Frequency Band

Network

700MHz

n29 4G & 5G

800MHz

Band 20

4G

900MHz

Band 8

2G & 3G

1800MHz

Band 3

2G & 4G

2100MHz

Band 1

3G & 4G

2300MHz

Band 40 4G

3400MHz

n78 5G

3600MHz

n77 5G

Sky Mobile through O2 should have access to the above frequency bands. The 800MHz band is a good band to have access to, as it's long range, so it can travel a long way between base stations, making it suited to rural environments.

And it’s also good at penetrating walls and buildings, making it great for built up areas as well, and ensuring strong coverage both indoors and out.

The 2300MHz band meanwhile is shorter range, but works well in busy areas. The 900MHz, 1800MHz and 2100MHz bands are a middle ground.

Sky through O2 also has access to the 3400MHz and 3600MHz bands, which are the highest frequency of any it uses and are ideal for 5G. The 700MHz meanwhile fills out the low frequency end, and could be used to bolster 4G or 5G networks.

You can find in depth details of the various bands in our 4G and 5G frequencies guide.

Customer Service

An Ofcom service quality report covering 2021 found that 6 of every 100,000 Sky Mobile customers complained about the company to Ofcom, which is a fairly low number relative to other networks. Similarly, just 5% of customers found reason to complain to Sky Mobile itself, which is also low. The average call waiting time to get through to Sky Mobile meanwhile was found to be 2 minutes and 33 seconds, which is slightly longer than the average across all the tested networks.

Plus, as noted above, the network won Best Customer Service at the Expert Reviews Awards 2021.

Conclusion

Sky Mobile is clearly best for Sky TV customers, since you can stream without using your data allowance when using its apps.

However, it’s worth considering even if you get your entertainment elsewhere, as being able to roll over an unlimited amount of data is a big selling point that few networks can match.

Being able to change your plan every month also makes Sky Mobile very flexible, and the costs are reasonable. However a lack of plans, middling data limits and the impending end of inclusive roaming holds it back, as does being on O2, as that network seemingly currently can’t match the speed of rivals.

Overall then it’s not one of the very best networks, especially if you’re not a Sky customer already, but it’s certainly suited to some users.

Alternatives

As Sky Mobile uses O2’s infrastructure, O2 itself is an obvious alternative, especially if you’re interested in Pay As You Go or Data Only plans, as O2 offers them while Sky Mobile doesn’t. O2 also offers unlimited data plans. However, O2 lacks data rollover on most of its plans, and is typically more expensive.

Mobile Networks

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