Sky Limited thinks of itself as Europe’s leading entertainment company, placing its extensive TV content at the forefront of its identity. Boasting 23 million customers across seven countries, it’s difficult to argue, but is it your best bet when deciding on a provider for your TV and broadband? We’re here to give you the full picture on Sky so you can decide for yourself.
Initially a simple satellite TV provider, Sky made the transition to digital and was an early pioneer of several of the televisual features we now take for granted. It broadened its focus in the mid-2000s with the launch of (link coming soon)Sky Broadband and later Sky Talk, and as early as 2012 it was pioneering superfast broadband - offering speeds of up to 58 Mbps.
In 2010, Sky reached 10 million customers, and it has continued to grow its customer base. In the last decade, it has expanded into several European countries while also continuing to launch new projects - premiering its first original television programme in 2015, and since then launching (link coming soon)Sky Q, Sky VR, and Sky Mobile.
Let’s take a closer look at the company’s history up to the present day.
Sky launched in 1989 as the UK’s first satellite television service. Retrospectively terming itself in those early years as a West London startup, its modest offer of four TV channels included Sky News - Europe’s first 24-hour news channel. In the years that followed, Sky Sports was introduced, and later Sky Digital added over 140 live channels to their offer.
Moving into the new millennium, Sky focused not only on widening its selection of channels but on improving its customers’ experience. In 2001 the provider revolutionised the industry with the introduction of Sky+, which for the first time allowed subscribers to record, pause and rewind live TV as they liked. It was also an early proponent of streaming, with the addition of Sky Mobile TV in 2005, and of HD, with Sky+ HD being rolled out in 2006.
In the same period, Sky broadened its focus from TV to broadband and calls with the launch of Sky Broadband and Sky Talk in 2006 and 2007 respectively. Having reached its target of 10 million customers by 2010, Sky went on to expand its TV offer, launch its TV anywhere service Sky Go and the streaming service NOW TV, launch Sky Fibre broadband, expand into Europe and start developing its own TV shows - all in the space of five years! It has since then even gone on to launch Sky VR - a virtual reality app released in 2016.
Sky has a history of keeping itself at the forefront of the technology behind the entertainment industry, and we see it maintaining its position as a market leader in the UK. Here’s a summary of the company’s most important landmarks to date:
- 1989 - Launched as UK's first satellite TV service.
- 1991 - Sky Sports starts broadcasting.
- 1998 - Sky Digital is launched.
- 2001 - Sky+ introduced, allowing customers to record, pause and rewind live TV.
- 2005 - Sky Mobile TV, its first streaming service, is launched.
- 2006 - Sky+ HD introduces the first 10 HD channels to the market; Sky Broadband launched.
- 2007 - Sky Talk launched.
- 2009 - Introduction of the Sky+ app..
- 2011 - Launch of Sky Go, letting customers watch live and on-demand TV from their mobile devices.
- 2012 - Sky Store introduced, offering pay-per-view films; Sky Fibre launched; NOW TV launched.
- 2014 - Sky purchase Be Broadband.
- 2015 - Premier of Sky’s first original programme, Fortitude.
- 2016 - Sky Q introduced to the UK market; Sky Kids app created; Sky VR launched; Sky Mobile launched.
Now, aside from its 13 million UK TV subscribers, Sky also supplies 6 million customers across the UK with broadband services. It is, simply speaking, the UK’s largest TV provider and its second-largest ISP. Outside of the UK, Sky’s customer base is extended, as we’ve mentioned, to 23 million. This expansion into continental Europe has happened over the course of just five years, with the first acquisitions (Sky Italia and Sky Deutschland) taking place in 2014, and their venture into the Spanish and Swiss markets taking place in 2017.
Despite this, it has not ceased to move with the times - last year saw Sky embrace the rise of streaming giants like Netflix and Spotify by adding them to the Sky Q platform. We take this as a strong indication that Sky fears no up-and-comer in today’s market, and it would seem that it has done enough to position itself strongly enough not to worry about becoming obsolete in the coming years.
Sky in the News
- 4-8-2019 - The Express reports that Sky is updating its recommendations service on Sky Q.
- 18-8-2019 - The Express reports that Sky TV is offering two free upgrades this month as price crash continues.
Sky buys Be There
Be There, also known as Be Unlimited and BE, was founded in 2004 as an independent Internet service provider. In 2006, it was bought by Spanish telecommunications giant Telefónica, however it continued to trade in the UK under its original Be There name. Under Telefónica ownership, Be There provided one of the fastest broadband services in Britain, with download speeds of 16 Mbps and upload speeds reaching 1.9 Mbps.
In 2013, Be There was bought by Sky, a move that saw the end of the Be There brand. Shortly after purchasing the successful internet provider, Sky rebranded the company to Sky Home Communications Limited and announced it would close the Be There network. As a result, all existing Be There customers were transferred on to a Sky broadband package. During this time, many customers actually chose to end their contracts as they did not want to become Sky customers!
If you’re interested in a career at Sky, the first place you should head to is careers.sky.com. Sky is currently advertising for positions all over the UK - including a role as Network Design Engineer in London or as a Service Delivery Manager in Leeds. The site’s Life at Sky section can also give you an insight into what working there is like, and there’s a job search function for you to look for a role that suits you.
For those just getting their career off the ground, there’s an Early Careers section with information on work experience and graduate programs, apprenticeships and diversity placements, as well as (paid) summer internships and what Sky calls ‘insight days’ - one-day events to help you decide on what shape you’d like your career with Sky to take.
We’ve put together heaps of information on Sky’s products across a series of dedicated pages. You’ll find links to these throughout, but here’s a short summary of what they have to offer:
Sky TV needs very little introduction. Whether you like it or not, it’s the home of all your favourite channels - Sky Sports, Sky Cinema, Sky Atlantic. Want to know how to get them? Let us fill you in.
In their words, it all starts with Sky Entertainment. This is its base package, coming with over 300 channels including Sky Atlantic, Sky One and Comedy Central to name a few. From here you can customise your deal according to your preference. Here’s a list of add-ons Sky offers - some of them will be familiar to you:
- Ultimate On Demand (500 Sky box sets + Netflix (in HD))
- Sky Cinema (over 1,000 movies on demand in HD + a new premier every day)
- Sky Sports (7 dedicated channels including Premier League, F1, Cricket and Golf)
- Kids (11 channels, 5,000 episodes of kids’ shows on demand + Sky Kids app)
- Sky Q experience (watch everything from your main box on TVs and tablets around your home)
For full details of Sky’s TV offer, go to our dedicated page and find out everything there is to know. You can also find details about the (link coming soon)Sky Q box and the (link coming soon)Sky Go app, which we haven’t gone into here, on their respective pages.
Sky differs from most major internet service providers in only advertising two broadband speeds. So with Sky, you can either get basic broadband or superfast fibre - there’s nothing between the two. Let’s take a look at them:
11 Mbps downloads
59 Mbps downloads
0.8 Mbps uploads
18 Mbps uploads
Fine for browsing, emailing and using social media
Snappier, allowing you to stream shows and share files quickly
With either of these deals, you can also add Sky Broadband Boost - an add-on which guarantees you a few handy extras:
- Flexible engineer visits
- Daily line checks
- Sky Broadband Buddy app
For more information on Sky broadband(link coming soon) take a look at our dedicated page, where we go into more detail about speeds, upgrades, etc. If you’re thinking of switching and you’re currently with BT, TalkTalk, EE, Vodafone or Plusnet, Sky will contact your provider for you to make the switch. If you’re with Virgin Media, however, you’ll need to get in touch with them yourself.
When you sign up for Sky broadband, whether you like it or not, your deal comes with line rental and Sky Pay as you Talk as standard. This, as its name suggests, will cost you nothing unless you make a call. If you want to get yourself a calls package, here are your options:
- Sky Talk Evenings and Weekends Extra (evenings are defined as 7pm-7am)
- Sky Talk Anytime Extra
- Sky Talk International Extra
The names of these deals pretty much speak for themselves. It’s important to note that inclusive calls on all deals means calls to 01, 02 and 03 numbers, and can only last up to an hour - if you need to be on for longer you’ll need to hang up and redial! To see their full terms and conditions, including the countries included in the international package, head over to the Sky website (in the section titled “the legal bit”).
Sky has a reputation for being one of the pricier providers. Is it well-founded? Probably, but let’s take a closer look.
As we’ve mentioned, Sky TV packages are pretty flexible. Starting with the Entertainment package, which will set you back £22 per month, you can add all the extras you want - but it will cost you. Here’s what all of Sky’s TV add-ons will set you back individually:
|Ultimate On Demand||+£12/month|
|Sky Q experience||+£13/month|
Yes, adding each of these will add the corresponding amount to your bill. Adding up all of them (we’ve tallied it up) will bring your TV bill up to an eye watering £88 per month. In fact, given the structure of their bundles, it won't quite come to this. If you want all of Sky’s great content, however, you’ll need to pay top dollar. This said, you may only want one or two of these add-ons - Ultimate On Demand and Kids, for example, which would come to a more reasonable £39 per month.
For the full picture of what you get for your money with Sky TV, see our dedicated page (link coming soon). If what you’re looking for is Sky TV for your business, you can get in touch with a sales agent at the following number:
Sky for Business Sales Contact
Please check with your provider if you don't know how much a call will cost.
03337 594 740
*Monday to Friday: 8.30am-9pm; Saturday and Sunday: 8.30am-7pm
With Sky’s two broadband packages you get unlimited downloads, line rental, Sky Pay as you Talk and the Sky Hub for your money. Despite being poles apart in terms of speed, there’s not a lot of difference in what you pay. Here’s what each would set you back:
£20/month for 18 months
£27/month for 18 months
£19.95 setup fee
£19.95 setup fee
If you ask us, for the sake of £7 it’s worth going for Superfast. What you do need to take into consideration, however, is that when your 18-month contract ends your broadband bill will go up by £5 per month - so Essential customers will end up paying £25 per month and Superfast customers £32. This often takes customers by surprise and is important to know when you enter into your deal.
For more information on Sky’s broadband packages, go to our Sky broadband page.
As we said before, Sky’s basic calls package comes as standard when you subscribe to Sky broadband. Sky Pay as you Talk will add nothing to your monthly bill, but should you make a call here’s what you can expect in terms of charges:
If you do want to add a Sky calls package to your deal, here’s what they would set you back:
|Sky Talk Evenings and Weekends Extra||£5/month|
|Sky Talk Anytime Extra||£10/month|
|Sky Talk International Extra||£12/month|
It’s important to remember what we said about calls only being inclusive up to an hour - this is true of all calls on all packages, so be sure to hang up and redial if you’re about to hit the hour mark! Calls to UK landlines will cost you the standard rate of 15.5p per minute after this, and calls to mobiles will be 19.35p per minute during the day and 18p per minute in the evening.
If you want to know all the ins and outs of when to expect a charge and how much, see the Sky Talk tariff guide.
Sky has three bundles to choose from, but customers largely have a lot of freedom to custom-make their own deals, especially around a TV package. Here are your options:
- All-Together Bundle
- TV and Superfast Broadband Offer
- Home Cinema Bundle
Let’s take a look at these individually:
All Together Bundle
The All-Together Bundle offers customers discounted prices if they sign up to an 18-month contract with certain TV packages. Here are the packages you need to sign up to and how much they would cost each within the bundle:
- Sky Entertainment - £15/month
- HD pack - £4/month
- Sports complete pack - £23/month
- Sky Cinema - £5/month
Taken altogether the bundle offers a significant saving, and if these deals appeal to you we’d say it’s a good offer. Remember that you have to keep all four packs for 18 months to continue receiving the discount - if not you’ll end up paying the standard price. Take a look at Sky’s website for full terms and conditions.
TV & Superfast Broadband Offer
This offer speaks for itself. With it, you get basic Sky TV (the Entertainment package) and Superfast broadband. It’s currently on offer for £39/month on an 18-month contract, though Sky admits that the price may change during your contract - this throws up a red flag for us. You will also be charged a setup fee of £40. If you want to add any TV packages on top of Sky Entertainment, normal add-on prices will apply.
Home Cinema Bundle
If all you really care for is films, you can ditch the Complete Sports Pack and just get yourself the Home Cinema Bundle. Here’s what you’d get with that deal and how much you’d pay for each pack:
- Sky Entertainment - £15/month
- HD pack - £4/month
- Sky Cinema - £11/month
You’ll notice that Sky has sneakily upped the price of Sky Cinema by more than double compared to how much you pay for it in the All-Together Bundle. This doesn’t seem particularly fair to us, but it does still come in quite a bit cheaper than if you put these packages together at the standard price - beggars can’t be choosers!
How do prices compare with market average?
Sky is a tricky one to compare with the average, given that it has no middle-of-the-road package and we usually compare with a provider’s middle-range speeds. So let’s see how its fastest package compares with the average 35 Mbps broadband deal:
As you can see, Sky Superfast, as well as being significantly faster than the average 35 Mbps deal, is a full £4 a month cheaper. On the face of it, it offers exceptional value. With Sky you could be getting superfast speeds for the price of good value medium speed deal.
And if we compare the price of Sky Superfast against the market average for speeds close to its own (around 60 Mbps), the difference is obviously even more marked:
Here you’d save £13 a month, so if you were going to get a superfast fibre deal anyway we’d say it’s definitely worth your while. The problem with Sky, however, comes when you begin to add TV to your deal, as we’ve seen earlier. If it’s just broadband you’re after, however, we may have found a winner!
How to contact Sky
There are several ways to contact Sky depending on what your reason for contacting them is. Let us start with info for new customers and then we’ll get to what options there are for existing subscribers.
Sky sales contact
Please check with your provider if you don't know how much a call will cost.
0800 151 2747
*Monday to Sunday: 8.30am-11.30pm
Support for customers
If you’re already a Sky customer, there are several ways to get in touch with them. We’ve outlined all these methods in our Sky contact page, so head there for the full details, but here are some important support features you should be aware of first:
Sky Help centre
For any issues you’re experiencing with your Sky TV, broadband or your My Sky account, Sky has a help centre with all sorts of useful guides and info to help you through without going to the hassle of calling them up, waiting around and explaining things to an agent. In the help centre, you’ll find guides to help you with everything from on-screen messages that pop up when you’re watching TV, a loss of internet connection, to dealing with nuisance calls. You may not need to go to the trouble of calling after all!
Sky has a specific guide to help customers who are moving home and want to take Sky with them to their new place. Here you’ll find everything you need to know to make the process as easy as possible.
Sky generally receives abysmal ratings from the vast majority of reviewers on the review site Trustpilot. Of 3,857 ratings, 79% gave Sky the worst possible score of 1 star. A theme common to much of these reviews is that if they could score them worse they would - ouch!
Oddly, despite performing reasonably well in the latest Ofcom study into service quality for speeds and reliability, it’s precisely these factors that reviewers point to as most disappointing. Several reviewers refer to slow speeds or regular drops in connection - one reviewer described his service as “horrendous,” and another states that “regular browsing is a pain” and “a video of 20 mins changes into 2h watching.”
All reviewers agree on the issue of pricing: Sky is expensive, they say, having a reputation for taking advantage and ramping up costs whenever it can. As one reviewer put it: “all that for £33!!! What the hell Sky?!”
Pros and cons
- Broadband prices compare well with the market average.
- TV deals offer flexibility.
- Broadband service is often criticised.
- Price rises (subtly admitted on their website) cited as being common.
- TV packages can be very expensive depending on your chosen combination of packages.