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November 30, 2016updated 13 Jan 2017 11:16am

Sky Mobile launches with flexible data plans to ‘shake up’ UK mobile market

"Shake-up" is "less punchy than anticipated", says Kester Mann, Principal Analyst at CCS Insight.

By Alexander Sword

Sky has launched its highly anticipated mobile network, Sky Mobile, which claims to offer greater flexibility to customers in managing their contracts but fails to compete with rivals on pricing.

For customers who are not signed up to Sky TV, Sky Mobile offers three packages with 1GB, 3GB and 5GB of data for £20, £25 and £30 respectively including unlimited calls and texts.

Sky TV customers will get the unlimited calls and texts included on the same plans for £10, £15 and £20 respectively.

“Some tidy features in Sky Mobile, notably data roll-over and flexible contracts. But nothing truly innovative or ground-breaking,” tweeted Kester Mann, Principal Analyst at CCS Insight.

Sky MobileMann said that while the tariffs were “less punchy than anticipated”, the lack of content was the most surprising thing about the deals.

Where Sky apparently hopes to compete is in the management side of phone bills, where it promises greater flexibility to customers. Sky claims that the average UK customer uses less than half of the data they buy per month.

Accordingly, the most notable feature of the plan is that data can be rolled over for up to three years, as well as pooled and shared between family members on the same plan.

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Sky also allows customers to change their data plan every month according to need, with the contract lasting a minimum of 12 months.

For a 5GB deal with unlimited calls and texts, EE customers will pay £21.99 per month, while Three customers will pay £17 per month for 4GB. Vodafone charges £22 per month for 5GB.

In addition, O2 customers get 20GB for the same price as Sky’s 1GB deal.

Existing Sky + customers will be able to sync TV shows to their smartphones to watch later.

Sky MobileSky says that there have already been 46,000 pre-registrations for Sky Mobile, with Sky Mobile SIM-only contracts going on sale in mid-December to existing customers and those who have pre-registered.

The full market launch will begin in the New Year.

Sky’s entry into the mobile market has been expected for some time, especially as broadband rival BT closed a deal this year to acquire the largest mobile network EE for £12.5 billion.

BT has already been aggressively cross-selling telecoms packages, now offering the BT Sport app free to new EE subscribers.

Sky’s MVNO runs on the O2 network.

Stephen van Rooyen, UK and Ireland Chief Executive, said: “We felt it was time to shake up the mobile market and give customers a completely new way to manage their mobile plan – something no one else is offering. We’ve designed it based on what people told us they want – it’s easy, flexible and transparent and it puts the customer in control.

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