Sky Mobile Review: Swap & SIM Only Contracts With Data Rollover & O2 Coverage

June 8th, 2017

Sky Mobile offers unique features such as ‘Swap’ Pay Monthly plans and the ability to roll over unused data into a piggybank.

Sky LogoIn the UK, Sky Mobile is the mobile network from Sky, a company which is best known for its satellite TV service. Offering 4G coverage from the O2 network, Sky Mobile is available to everyone regardless of whether they’re a Sky TV customer.

A unique feature of Sky Mobile is the Swap24 and Swap12 plans which allow you to upgrade your handset after either 24 or 12 months. Other features include the “data piggybank” for saving unused data and unlimited calling & texting for Sky TV customers. Plans start from £5/month for 500MB of 4G data.

In this article, we’ll review the Sky Mobile service including Sky’s SIM-only deals and Swap Pay Monthly contracts. We’ll also look at the features of Sky Mobile including Roll, Save, Sync and Mix. We’ll then compare Sky Mobile to other networks, look at the handsets available and the level of coverage you can expect. Finally, we’ll discuss how to keep your existing phone number when moving to join Sky Mobile.

Pricing & Tariffs

SIM Only Deals

Sky Mobile SIM CardIn the UK, Sky Mobile offers SIM-only deals on a 12-month contract. SIM-only plans start from £5/month for 500MB of data and go up to £20/month for 5GB of internet.

Unlike almost every other mobile network, Sky Mobile has a fairly unique pricing structure. The basic price plan only includes an allowance of data. Phone calls and text messages are then charged for on a pay-as-you-use (PAYU) basis at 10p/minute and 10p/text. Alternatively, you can add unlimited calls & unlimited texts for an extra £10/month (discounted to free if you’re an existing Sky TV customer).

The following table shows Sky’s current line-up of SIM-only deals:

NetworkMinutesTextsInternetMonthly
Cost
Sky Mobile10p/min
Free for
TV customers
10p/txt
Free for
TV customers
500MB£5.00
Sky Mobile10p/min
Free for
TV customers
10p/txt
Free for
TV customers
1GB£10.00
Sky Mobile10p/min
Free for
TV customers
10p/txt
Free for
TV customers
3GB£15.00
Sky Mobile10p/min
Free for
TV customers
10p/txt
Free for
TV customers
5GB£20.00

Although you’re tied in to a 12-month contract, you can change your price plan at any time. For instance, you can upgrade your price plan to get a larger allowance of data or you can downgrade your plan to save some money each month. Upgrades to your price plan will take effect immediately and downgrades will take effect from your next billing period.

Swap Pay Monthly Contracts

If you’d like a brand new smartphone, you can buy one directly from Sky on one of their Swap price plans:

  • Swap24: This allows you to buy a new handset on a 30-month loan agreement, with the option to trade-in your handset after 24 months to upgrade to a new one. It’s worth noting that you won’t actually own the handset after 24 months. Instead, you’ll need to remain on the plan for the full 30 months if you’d like to keep the handset.
  • Swap12: If you’re willing to pay a bit more each month, this will allow you to upgrade your handset after 12 months. You’ll be buying the handset on a 24-month loan agreement, with the option to trade it in after 12 months. You’ll need to remain on the plan for the full 24 months if you’d like to keep the handset.

After the initial period (24 months on Swap24 or 12 months on Swap12), you’ll have the option to send your handset back to Sky. According to Sky, as long as your handset is in “full working order and undamaged”, the trade-in value should pay off the remainder of your price plan. If it doesn’t, you might need to make an additional payment to clear off the remainder of your plan.

Possible deductions for the value of your handset include:

  • 50% if the handset works but some buttons are missing or broken
  • 50% if the phone has some obvious damage (e.g. cracks in the casing)
  • 50% if the phone is water damaged but still fully functional
  • 75% if the main menu/power button is faulty
  • 75% if the handset has a software/hardware fault
  • 75% if the screen is damaged
  • 75% if there is heavy damage to the device

It’s worth bearing these in mind when choosing a ‘Swap’ contract as accidental damage to your phone could result in additional charges when you later change your handset.

Pay As You Go

At present, Sky does not offer a Pay As You Go service. For non-Sky TV customers, the pay-as-you-use (PAYU) pricing on Pay Monthly has some of the hallmarks of a Pay As You Go service. However, it is still a post-paid contract requiring customers to undergo a credit check and without the full flexibility of a Pay As You Go service.

If you’d like a full Pay As You Go service, see our guide to the UK’s best value Pay As You Go deals.

Features

Sky advertises five key features of their mobile network:

  • Swap: The ability to swap your handset for a new one after either 12 or 24 months.
  • Roll: The ability to roll over unused data for up to 3 years.
  • Save: Unlimited calls & unlimited texts for Sky TV customers.
  • Sync: A free subscription to Sky Go Extra if you’re also a Sky+ customer.
  • Mix: The ability to upgrade or downgrade your plan at any time.

Swap: Upgrade your phone after 12/24 months

Sky offers their handsets on a “Swap” price plan, where you’ll have the option to swap your phone after 12 or 24 months. This works differently to Pay Monthly price plans on other mobile networks, as you’ll need to return your handset in good condition after either 12 months or 24 months. On other mobile networks, you’ll typically own your handset at the end of the 24-month contract.

Roll: Save unused data in a piggybank

Sky Mobile App RollThe second unique feature of Sky Mobile is the ability to roll over unused data for up to three years. Sky’s name for this feature is “Roll” and customers will get a “data piggybank” for storing their unused data.

With Roll, your unused data allowance will be added up at the end of each month. This unused data will then be moved into your online “data piggybank”. From there, you’ll be able to log in to the Sky Mobile website or app to withdraw data from the piggybank as required.

Data can be withdrawn from your piggybank in 1GB increments. The best time to do this is when you’ve used up your data allowance in a given month. If you don’t have any data remaining in your piggybank, you can alternatively buy 1GB of data for £10 or upgrade to a higher-priced plan.

If you have a Sky Mobile family account, you can assign data from the piggybank to other members of your family.

iD Mobile has a similar data rollover offer on their GoTo price plans. On iD Mobile, data can only be carried over for a maximum of one month.

Save & Sync: Sky TV Customer Benefits

If you’re a Sky TV customer, you’ll receive two additional benefits:

  • Sky Mobile SyncSave: Unlimited calls and unlimited texts (worth £10/month). If you’re a Sky TV customer, you’ll automatically receive the “unlimited calls and unlimited texts” add-on for free. This would normally cost £10/month for non-Sky TV customers. Up to five people in your household can benefit from this offer.
  • Sync: Free Sky Go Extra if you’re a Sky+ customer (worth £5/month). If you’re a Sky+ customer taking out a Sky Mobile subscription, you’ll also receive Sky Go Extra at no additional charge (this would normally cost you £5/month). With Sky Go Extra, you’ll be able to watch Sky+ recordings from your mobile phone. You can watch recordings either using your mobile internet connection or using wi-fi but be aware that this counts as normal towards your monthly download allowance. This service isn’t currently available for Sky Q customers (Sky has promised support for Sky Q later this year).

If you were to cancel your Sky TV subscription at any time, you would lose your Sky TV customer benefits on Sky Mobile. Your Sky Mobile account has a separate 12-month contract and you’ll receive your Sky Mobile bill separately from your existing TV, broadband and home phone bill.

Mix: Change your data plan

Customers on Sky Mobile can upgrade or downgrade their data plan at any time. Upgrades will take effect immediately and downgrades will take effect from the following month. Sky refers to this feature as “Mix”.

More information about the features on Sky Mobile can be found in Sky’s mobile tariff guide.

Comparison to Alternatives

In the following section, we’ll compare Sky’s SIM-only deals against the offerings currently available on rival mobile networks. If you’re buying a handset, you should add this on to the monthly cost of the plan.

500MB Plan

Sky’s cheapest mobile plan is their £5/month tariff which comes with 500MB of data. Sky TV customers will also get unlimited calls and unlimited texts, whereas everyone else will pay as you use at 10p/minute and 10p/text.

The tariff compares as follows to rival mobile networks:

NetworkMinutesTextsInternetMonthly
Cost
Three200Unlimited500MB£5.00
Sky Mobile10p/min
Free for
TV customers
10p/txt
Free for
TV customers
500MB£5.00
Tesco Mobile2505,000500MB£6.00
giffgaff250Unlimited750MB£7.50
Vodafone500Unlimited500MB£12.50
O2UnlimitedUnlimited2GB£13.00
EE500Unlimited500MB£13.99

1GB Plan

10 Pound NoteFor £10/month, Sky Mobile is offering 1GB of data. If you’re a Sky TV customer, you’ll also get unlimited minutes and unlimited texts (otherwise, you can pay as you use for 10p/minute and 10p/text).

On other mobile networks, you might be able to get 1GB of data for a lower monthly price. Alternatively, you could get a larger data allowance for £10/month (for instance, giffgaff will give you 500 minutes, unlimited texts and 2GB of internet).

NetworkMinutesTextsInternetMonthly
Cost
ThreeUnlimitedUnlimited4GB£9.00
Tesco Mobile5005,0002GB£9.00
ASDA Mobile600Unlimited2GB£10.00
giffgaff500Unlimited2GB£10.00
Sky Mobile10p/min
Free for
TV customers
10p/txt
Free for
TV customers
1GB£10.00
O2UnlimitedUnlimited2GB£13.00
Vodafone1,000Unlimited1GB£15.00
EE1,000Unlimited1GB£15.99

3GB Plan

15 Pound NotesFor £15/month, Sky Mobile is offering 3GB of data. Sky TV customers will also get unlimited minutes and unlimited texts included.

For the same monthly price, many other mobile networks will offer a larger allowance of data along with inclusive minutes and texts:

NetworkMinutesTextsInternetMonthly
Cost
ASDA Mobile800Unlimited3GB£12.00
giffgaff750Unlimited3GB£12.00
Tesco Mobile3,0005,0006GB£12.50
ThreeUnlimitedUnlimited4GB£13.00
Sky Mobile10p/min
Free for
TV customers
10p/txt
Free for
TV customers
3GB£15.00
VodafoneUnlimitedUnlimited8GB£17.00
O2UnlimitedUnlimited6GB£17.00
EEUnlimitedUnlimited3GB£19.99

5GB Plan

20 Pound NoteFor £20/month, Sky Mobile is offering 5GB of data (with unlimited minutes and unlimited texts if you’re a Sky TV customer).

Other mobile networks offer substantially more data for the same monthly price. You can also get unlimited calls and unlimited texts included regardless of whether you’re currently a Sky TV customer. For instance, giffgaff, which also uses coverage from O2, offers unlimited minutes, unlimited texts and Always On data (unlimited downloads with the first 6GB per month at full 4G speeds).

NetworkMinutesTextsInternetMonthly
Cost
giffgaff1,000Unlimited5GB£15.00
ASDA Mobile1,000Unlimited5GB£15.00
VodafoneUnlimitedUnlimited8GB£17.00
O2UnlimitedUnlimited6GB£17.00
ThreeUnlimitedUnlimited30GB£18.00
Tesco Mobile5,0005,00012GB£18.00
Sky Mobile10p/min
Free for
TV customers
10p/txt
Free for
TV customers
5GB£20.00
EEUnlimitedUnlimited20GB£21.00

For more information and for a full in-depth comparison, please see our guide to UK’s best value SIM-only deals.

Handsets

For customers wanting a brand new smartphone, Sky offers a number of handsets from Apple, Samsung, Sony and LG. Handsets include the latest flagships like the iPhone 7 from Apple and the Galaxy S8 from Samsung. There are also some cheaper handsets available like the iPhone SE and Samsung Galaxy A5.

If you buy your handset from Sky Mobile, it’s provided to you on either a 30-month or 24-month loan agreement (depending on whether you choose the Swap24 or Swap12 tariff).

If you don’t want to buy your handset directly from Sky or if you’d like a handset that isn’t available directly on Sky Mobile, it’s still possible to buy your handset elsewhere. You can buy an unlocked smartphone from the retailer of your choice and then you can use this on one of Sky Mobile’s SIM-only deals. For an affordable mid-range handset, the Moto G is one of our current recommendations.

Network & Coverage

2G, 3G & 4G Coverage from O2

Sky Mobile offers 99% population coverage by piggybacking on O2.

Sky Mobile is a virtual network operator making use of coverage from the O2 network. Customers using Sky Mobile will therefore receive the exact same coverage as customers on O2.

At the time of writing, Sky Mobile offers 99% population coverage. This includes coverage on 2G, 3G and 4G. The fastest download speeds are available on the 4G network, which currently has about 78% population coverage. O2 has a commitment to increase this to 98% by the end of 2017, so customers of Sky Mobile will also benefit from this.

You can check the coverage in your area by entering your postcode on Sky’s online coverage map:

Check Sky Mobile Coverage (sky.com) »

We strongly recommend checking the coverage in your area before ordering a new phone or SIM card from Sky Mobile. This is because your plan will have a minimum commitment of either 12 months or 24 months.

Tethering

Personal Hotspot on iPhoneTethering or personal hotspot refers to the process of your sharing your smartphone’s internet connection with other devices (e.g. sharing your mobile data connection with a laptop or tablet). This can be a useful feature for getting connected whilst you’re on-the-go (for instance, doing work on your laptop where free wi-fi isn’t available).

On Sky Mobile, it’s possible to tether without any restrictions. Any data used through tethering or the portable hotspot feature will simply be deducted as normal from your monthly download allowance.

For more information, please see our in-depth guide to tethering on UK mobile networks.

International Roaming

Sky provides an international roaming service for customers travelling abroad to another country.

For customers travelling inside of the EU & EEA (the European Union & European Economic Area), Sky’s Roaming Passport feature will allow you to use your smartphone abroad at no extra charge.

International roaming in the rest of the world is much more expensive, with Sky typically charging around £1.50/minute, 35p/text and £1.50/MB. Charges will vary on a country-by-country basis so please refer to the the Sky Mobile tariff guide for an in-depth list of charges.

Keeping Your Phone Number

If you’re switching to Sky Mobile from another mobile network, it’s a straightforward process to keep your existing number.

To begin the process of transferring of your phone number, you should contact your current mobile network to ask for a PAC Code. This is a nine-digit code that authorises the transfer of your phone number to Sky Mobile.

Once you have the PAC Code from your current mobile network, you can then order your new phone or SIM card from the Sky Mobile website. Initially, you’ll be assigned a temporary phone number which will allow you to test out the Sky Mobile service. If you’re then happy to move your phone number to Sky Mobile, you should contact Sky Mobile customer services on 03442 41 41 41. Your phone number will normally be transferred on the next working day after you give your PAC Code to Sky.

For step-by-step instructions on moving your phone number to Sky Mobile, please select your current mobile network from the drop down menu below:

PAC Code Finder: Transfer Your Phone Number to Sky Mobile

Your current network provider:

  More Options

If you’re instead looking to transfer a landline telephone number to Sky, a different process applies for doing this.

More Information

For more information, please see the official Sky Mobile website. You can also see their list of phones and tariffs.

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About Ken

Ken Lo

My passion is helping people to get the most out of their mobile phone. I've been blogging at Ken's Tech Tips since 2005.

Aside from writing about mobile technology, my interests are in software development, digital marketing and physics. Outside of the blog, I work with numerous technology companies helping them to explain their product and helping them to market it to consumers. Please get in touch for more information.

Your Comments

We'd love to hear your thoughts and any questions you may have. So far, we've received 2 comments from readers. You can add your own comment here.

  1. Peter said:

    I have 3 IPhones with Sky and, as I am a Sky tv customer I get unlimited calls to U.K. Landlines and mobiles and 1GB data on each phone for £5/month per phone. This is great value for me and my family.

  2. Richard said:

    Looks pricey to me and not worth bothering with unless you are a Sky TV customer………….better deals elsewhere!

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