iD Mobile vs Sky Mobile 2020: Variety of Cheap SIM Only Plans or Sky TV Streaming and 5G

iD Mobile or Sky Mobile? Which of the two networks offer their customers the best coverage, speeds, customer perks and deals in 2020? Read on to find out.

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Who is iD Mobile?

id-mobile-article-logoiD Mobile is one of the youngest networks in the UK and it’s a subsidiary of Dixons Carphone. iD Mobile is a mobile virtual network in the UK & they operate using Three’s network. Its services were launched on 12 May 2015.

It offers a variety of low-cost 4G, SIM Only deals on 30-day rolling contracts. Thanks to its short term contracts, iD Mobile users can modify their plans monthly, changing their plan to fit their lifestyle. Right now, iD Mobile’s lowest SIM Only offer starts at £6 a month and they offer a variety of other price plans and bundles including handsets and PAYG options.

iD Mobile manages to combine its low prices with some important perks such as Wi-Fi calling and Data Rollover. Of course, with low prices no entertainment packages or subscriptions services are included.

Pro’s

  • Competitive prices, cheapest unlimited data plan currently.
  • One-off data boost that’s valid for 3 years.
  • Offers a data rollover option.
  • Wi-Fi Calling & 4G Calling support.

Con’s

  • Doesn’t support 5G yet.
  • No entertainment packages or such. No family/friends plan options.
 

Who is Sky Mobile

sky-mobile-article-logoSky Mobile is also an MVNO (mobile virtual network operator) and it’s ppowered by O2’s Network. It belongs to the Sky Group and owned by Comcast.

Sky Mobile users can get decent 4G coverage all around the UK thanks to O2’s network and on top of that they already enjoy 5G in some towns and cities at no extra cost as long as they are a Sky VIP member. It’s straightforward to become a Sky VIP member, all you have to do is download the MySky app to your mobile device, log in with your Sky ID and tap the Sky VIP button and you’re done. Sky Mobile comes with a number of unique features, albeit with only a handful of price plans. Sky’s Roll feature allows users to roll over their unused data for up to three years. If you are also a Sky TV customer then you get to Watch Sky TV apps without burning through any of your data allowance.

Sky Mobile also allows you to upgrade your handset every year via their Swap feature. Mobile phones can start to feel outdated before the end of a long 24 or 36 month contract but with Sky’s Swap feature you can upgrade your device when you want.

While these features are all great, Sky only offers four different SIM only plans and unfortunately they don’t have an unlimited data option. At present, the maximum amount of data you can get is 20GB, which makes Sky Mobile a bad choice for data hungry users. There’s no PAYG option either, so you have to sign a contract and go through a credit check if you want to join Sky Mobile.

Pro’s

  • Supports 5G in all SIM Only plans.
  • Offers the best data rollover feature, you can save rolled over data up to 3 years.
  • If you are also a Sky TV member you may use Sky TV apps without consuming data.
  • Also has Wi-Fi Calling & 4G Calling.

Con’s

  • Even the best plan offers limited data (40GB Max).
  • Reward system is loyalty based.
  • No short term contracts.
 

Table of Contents

1. Plans & Pricing

– SIM Only Deals

– Pay As You Go

– Pay Monthly Phones

2. Network Coverage & Speeds

– 2G, 3G & 4G Coverage

– 5G Coverage

– Voice Call Quality

– Wi-Fi Calling & 4G Calling

– Wi-Fi Hotspots

– Tethering

– International Roaming

3. Features

– iD Mobile’s Features

– Sky Mobile’s Features

4. Half Cooked’s Overall Breakdown

5. Frequently Asked Questions

Plans & Pricing

SIM Only Deals

iD Mobile only offers 30-day tariffs, but unfortunately all these deals are contracts, meaning you have to undergo a credit check first if you want to join the network. iD Mobile’s pay monthly SIM deals start from as little as £6/month. The network is currently offering the cheapest unlimited data deal for just £18/month as well! You can also get a data boost that’s valid for three years when you first join the network, however if you upgrade or downgrade your plan, your extra data will expire.

iD Mobile’s Pay Monthly SIM Deals
Minutes & TextsData Price
Unlimited3GB£6.00
Unlimited5GB£8.00
Unlimited12GB£10.00
Unlimited20GB£14.00
Unlimited100GB£15.00
UnlimitedUnlimited£18.00

Currently, Sky Mobile has five different tariffs to choose from. The network only offers low to mid end data deals, with no unlimited data deals available at the time of writing. To join Sky Mobile you have to pass a credit check and all their contracts last for 12 months, however you can switch between available plans on a monthly basis.

All Sky Mobile customers benefit from the network’s amazing data rollover feature, which allows you to hold on to your unused data for up to three years. If you’re also a Sky TV customer you get unlimited streaming through all the Sky TV apps.

DataMinutes & TextsPrice
2GBUnlimited £6/month
3GBUnlimited £8/month
10GB
Unlimited £12/month
25GBUnlimited £15/month
20GBUnlimited £25/month

Half Cooked’s Verdict

iD Mobile winneriD Mobile offers a wider variety of price plans, plus the network’s deals are way more flexible. You can also get one of the cheapest unlimited data deals on the UK mobile market.

Pay As You Go

Some customers don’t want to go through a credit check when purchasing a mobile deal and for these customers a Pay As You Go deal is a great option. iD Mobile also has two different pay as you go services. You can either buy one of their pay as you go bundles which last for 30 days, or alternatively you can use the network on a traditional PAYG basis. The latter option requires you to use your SIM card at least once every 90 days or it will go inactive. You can reactivate your SIM if you top-up though. You also need to top-up at least once a year or your credit will expire.

Network ProviderThree
Available Network Types for PAYG3G, 4G
Traditional Pay As You GoYes
Base Rates40p/Minute, 14p/text, 10p/MB
Mandatory Top-up PeriodThree Months
Minimum Top-up Requirement£5
Data RolloverNo
TetheringYes

As for Sky Mobile, well, the network doesn’t offer any pay as you go services. However, if you want to use O2’s network on a PAYG basis you can check out giffgaff’s goodybags or Tesco Mobile’s PAYG deals. In fact, with Black Friday 2020 just around the corner, you might want to keep an eye on O2’s Black Friday SIM Deals, as they may offer bigger value than any PAYG plan currently available.

Half Cooked’s Verdict

iD Mobile winnerSky Mobile doesn’t have a pay as you go service, but iD Mobile does. Having said that, we recommend checking out other networks’ PAYG deals. iD Mobile’s PAYG deals aren’t the best.

Pay Monthly Phones

iD Mobile is owned by Dixons Carphone and the network takes advantage of this by offering great phone deals. The carrier has flagship phones from Samsung, Apple, Huawei and others, as well as mid to low tier devices from Google, Honor, Motorola, Oppo and Nokia. Some phone deals even come with Apple TV+ and other rewards. iD Mobile’s phone deals are all on 24-month contracts.

Sky Mobile also offers a selection of smartphones from major manufacturers like Apple, Samsung, Huawei, Google and a few others. With handset deals Sky Mobile’s Swap feature comes into play, allowing you to split your airtime bill and phone bill into two, and also letting you upgrade your device before your contract is up. You can also switch between any Sky Mobile plans you want on a monthly basis.

Half Cooked’s Verdict

We think both networks offer some good handset deals. iD Mobile’s deals offer a bit more value but lock you in for 24 months with the same device, Sky Mobile lets you upgrade your phone and you are allowed to upgrade or downgrade your plan every month.

Network Coverage & Speeds

2G, 3G & 4G Coverage

id-mobile-network-coverage-mapiD Mobile is a virtual network and it’s piggybacking on the Three network for 3G and 4G coverage. This means iD Mobile users get the very same coverage as Three users. Meanwhile Sky Mobile is powered by O2, meaning Sky users and O2 users experience and enjoy the same coverage.

All the major network providers in the UK offer 99% or better population coverage for 3G & 4G. Meanwhile EE still leads the competition with its superior land mass coverage. At Half Cooked, we strongly recommend you check the coverage in your area for any network before you make your final decision.

While these two networks seem to be equal in 3G & 4G coverage, there are two key factors giving the edge to Sky Mobile in overall coverage. iD Mobile doesn’t support 2G devices. Old as it may be, 2G is still being used and can come in handy in some situations.

Examining Open Signal’s October 2020 speed test results, we see that iD Mobile’s average 4G download speed is at around 22.2Mbps, and the carrier offers 8Mbps upload speeds. Sky Mobile has an average download speed of 18.2Mbps and upload speeds are measured at 8.2Mbps. iD Mobile has faster average 4G download and upload speeds in 3G & 4G compared to Sky Mobile.

Half Cooked’s Verdict

iD Mobile’s data speeds are a little faster, while Sky Mobile’s network coverage is a bit better. It’s really hard to say one is better than the other in this case. Make sure to check each network’s coverage map!

5G Coverage

5gAll Sky Mobile plans come with 5G, provided you’re a Sky VIP member or pay £5/month for the 5G add-on. Sky’s 5G coverage is live in 75 towns and cities and it continues to expand. Unfortunately iD Mobile doesn’t offer any 5G plans and there is no news or any announcement about it yet, so it’s a mystery as to when their customers will get a taste of the superior speeds of 5G.

One major downside is your 5G device must be purchased directly from Sky Mobile, or else you won’t be able to benefit from the network’s 5G coverage. If you’re looking for a more flexible network with 5G coverage we recommend checking deals from Three. Make sure to read our Three Review to learn everything you need to know!

Half Cooked’s Verdict

sky mobile winnerGiven how iD Mobile doesn’t offer 5G Coverage just yet, the victory belongs to Sky Mobile. All Sky Mobile plans support 5G, provided you bought your device from their stores.

Voice Call Quality

id-mobile-voice-call-qualityWhen it comes to voice call quality, Half Cooked relies on tests performed by the likes of OOKLA, Open Signal and umlaut, which are independent testing bodies. They’re reliable, objective, and they do extensive tests across the country.

As long as you are in a populated area, i.e. towns and cities, neither network will let you down. However, since iD Mobile doesn’t have 2G coverage your mobile device won’t fallback to 2G, so in rural areas Sky has the edge. We can’t say the same with iD Mobile as you’d lose connection completely due to the network not supporting 2G at all.

Half Cooked’s Verdict

sky mobile winnerBoth networks offer similar voice call quality and their call setup times are significantly slower than those of EE and/or Vodafone. It’s a tight race, but we’re giving the win to Sky Mobile here because the network also has 2G as a fall back option.

Wi-Fi Calling & 4G Calling

sky-mobile-wifi-calling-4g-calling4G Calling (4G Super-Voice or VoLTE) means you get to make and receive phone calls over a network’s 4G connection.

Wi-Fi Calling allows you to make and receive high definition voice calls, using a high speed internet connection over a Wi-Fi network. Basically you use a Wi-Fi connection instead of your provider’s network.

Both of them are great features to have, especially if you live in a rural area with poor network coverage. 4G Calling & Wi-Fi Calling are available on both iD Mobile and Sky Mobile, but only on selected handsets. iD Mobile’s Wi-Fi Calling feature is compatible with more phones than Sky Mobile’s though. Make sure to check if your mobile phone supports Wi-Fi Calling and 4G Calling.

Half Cooked’s Verdict

Both iD Mobile and Sky Mobile offer 4G Calling & Wi-Fi Calling at no extra cost. iD Mobile seems to cover more devices, but Sky Mobile takes time to update their website, and their customers report that both features work with unlisted devices too.

Wi-Fi Hotspots

wifi-hotspotsYou won’t find any exclusive free Wi-Fi hotspots on iD Mobile. On the other hand Sky Mobile offers thousands of free Wi-Fi Hotspots to their customers thanks to ‘The Cloud’. Then again, this service is available to all mobile network customers for free, you don’t need to be a Sky Mobile customer to take advantage.

Customers of iD Mobile and Sky Mobile can also enjoy free WiFi from O2, but again this isn’t an exclusive offer either.

Half Cooked’s Verdict

sky mobile winnerWhen it comes to free Wi-Fi hotspots both networks benefit from the same free services. It’s technically a tie, but since The Cloud belongs to Sky Mobile we’re giving the win to them.

Tethering

tetheringTethering or using your mobile phone as a personal hotspot means sharing your smartphone’s internet connection with other compatible devices such as your laptop, your tablet or other smartphones. Most networks used to draw a strict line when it came to tethering as it could lead to congestion on the network, but almost all of them are more lenient now.

Up until 2019 iD Mobile didn’t allow its users to Tether but now they can do so freely. The same goes for Sky Mobile users, there are no restrictions, data used through tethering will be deducted from your monthly data allowance.

However, one thing to consider is that Sky Mobile doesn’t offer any unlimited data plans. The most data you can get in a plan is 20GB with Sky, which is plenty unless you’re planning to tether on a regular basis.

iD Mobile has an unlimited data plan & offers much for flexibility, with customers able to change plans each month. So if you realise unlimited data is more than you need, you could switch to 100GB or 20GB and save some money the following month.

Keep in mind though, the more devices you connect and use simultaneously the more data you’ll eat up. You might want to check which networks offer the best unlimited data plans before you make your final decision.

Half Cooked’s Verdict

iD Mobile winneriD Mobile takes the cake here with its unlimited data plan and flexible options. You can tether freely on Sky Mobile too, but you just won’t have as much data as you need if you’re planning to tether on a regular basis.

International Roaming

international roamingThe current EU roaming regulations allow you to use your data, calls and texts in the European Union destinations at no extra charge. iD Mobile lets you roam like at home in 50 different destinations throughout the EU, EEA and in some other countries. You can visit iD Mobile’s international roaming page for more information.

Sky Mobile lets their customers roam internationally using a feature they call Roaming Passport, with which you’re allowed to use your normal UK allowances in 30 destinations at no extra cost. Then there is Sky Mobile’s Roaming Passport Plus which covers 12 more destinations outside the EU, but for this feature to kick in customers must pay £6 for 24 hours.

Outside EU and EEA destinations both networks charge you different rates, so please see iD Mobile’s and Sky Mobile’s international roaming charge rates Also don’t forget to check Half Cooked’s Roaming Abroad in 2020 Guide.

Sky’s only advantage over iD in this category is that there’s no fair usage limit on Sky Mobile.

Half Cooked’s Verdict

iD Mobile winneriD Mobile covers more destinations with cheap and flexible options. iD Mobile is the clear winner here.

Features

iD Mobile’s Features

Data Boost

If you sign up for an iD Mobile contract you’ll benefit from a data boost scheme that’s valid for three years. However, if you upgrade or downgrade your plan the boost expires. The amount of extra data can be between 10GB to 100GB depending on your initial plan choice.

Data Rollover

id-mobile-data-rolloverIf you didn’t get to spend all your data, iD Mobile will grant you a second chance to use it. Most MVNOs don’t offer a data rollover scheme, especially for their 30-day plans, so iD Mobile is a rare exception on the UK’s mobile market. You’ll always use the rolled over data first.

Unlimited Data Plan

iD Mobile’s unlimited data plan is quite wallet friendly, in fact it’s one of the cheapest 30-day unlimited data plans out there and it certainly offers great value. There are no speed restrictions or fair usage limits, it’s truly unlimited.

Bill Capping

iD Mobile gives you a couple options to limit your monthly spend. You can choose between £1 and £25 above your monthly allowance, and you’re also given the option to change the spend cap anytime you want.

SKY Mobile Features

Roll

sky-mobile-rollSky Mobile’s ‘Roll’ allows you to save your unused data for up to three years! Any leftover data you have will be saved in your Sky Piggybank and the network lets you withdraw the unused data in 1GB increments. You can even cash your leftover data in for a new handset or tablet, or Sky Store vouchers. If you have more than one SIM under an account (or a family mobile plan) all the leftover data will be pooled together. The main account can move data between accounts.

Watch

sky-mobile-watch-v3If you have a Sky TV subscription, you get unlimited streaming for Sky TV and all the other Sky Apps, meaning you’re not eating through your regular data allowance. Sky Mobile customers also get to use Sky Go Extra for free.

Sky Mobile customers, who don’t have a Sky TV membership can also benefit from unlimited streaming, but only on apps which require no subscription.

Mix

sky-mobile-mix-alternativeAll Sky Mobile SIM only and phone deals are long-term contracts, however, you can switch between all the available plans on a monthly basis. When upgrading to a new plan, changes take effect straight away, but if you wish to downgrade to a lower data allowance, the network makes you wait until the next billing date.

The Cloud

The Cloud is also known as Sky WiFi and it’s a free WiFi service for all mobile customers in the UK. All you need is a compatible phone and a Sky WiFi account, don’t worry it’s free. The Cloud has thousands of free Wi-Fi hotspots across the country.

The Cloud is Sky’s free Wi-Fi service, which is available to all the mobile network customers in the UK for free. The service is also known as Sky WiFi and all you need is a free account to benefit from it. You can find thousands of free ‘The Cloud’ hotspots.

Swap

sky-mobile-swap-alternativeIf you wish to purchase a new handset from Sky Mobile, the network gives you multiple options to upgrade your device before your contract ends. The network offers a feature called ‘Swap’, which allows you to upgrade your device by giving your old handset to Sky Mobile. However, as you can guess, there are certain conditions that need to be met. Your device has to be in good condition after 12, 24 or 36 months in order for you to not pay any extra. Sky Mobile will check out your phone and if it meets the condition required, your old device will cover what’s left to pay on your current contract, and you can upgrade to a new one.

If your device isn’t eligible for ‘Swap’ or you want to swap early (before 12 months for Swap12, before 24 months for Swap24 or before 36 months for Swap36), Sky Mobile will still accept your phone, but there’s a big chance your device won’t cover the rest of your contract, so you’ll have to pay whatever’s left.

Half Cooked’s Verdict

sky mobile winnerThis was a close race, because both networks offer some good features that add decent value to their contracts, but we think Sky Mobile is the better choice here. We especially love Sky Mobile’s data rollover feature, Sky Piggybank benefits and free streaming, plus the early upgrade options that come with Swap.

Half Cooked’s Overall Breakdown

It’s a tight race between the two network operators, really hard to call a distinct winner, therefore we think it’s a tie between the two network providers. iD comes with a great variety of plans and they are budget friendly. Sky Mobile has 5G and also 2G, iD Mobile doesn’t support either. If you need a cheap, reliable provider then iD is the way to go. If you don’t mind limited data, and can benefit from 5G then Sky is the right choice for you.

id-mobile-vs-sky-mobile-banner-review

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I keep my number if I switch networks?

Yes you can. It’s a simple procedure. All you need is a PAC code (porting authorisation code) from your current mobile telephone network operator. A PAC code will allow you to transfer (port) your current mobile phone number to Sky Mobile or iD Mobile. Once you have your PAC number click on the carrier name you want to switch to and follow their guidelines.

Which mobile network does SKY use?

Sky Mobile uses O2’s network, their customers get the same network coverage and speeds as O2 customers.

Which mobile network does iD Mobile use?

iD Mobile uses Three’s network. Their customers get the same network coverage and speeds for 3G and 4G, but as of yet no 5G is on the horizon.

Does iD Mobile support 5G?

Unfortunately, no. At the moment iD Mobile is sticking to 3G and 4G coverage and speeds.

Does Sky Mobile have 5G?

Yes it does. It’s exclusive to Sky VIP members.

What is Sky VIP? How do I join Sky VIP?

Sky VIP is their loyalty programme and it’s open to all Sky Mobile members. To join, you must download the My Sky app, log in with your Sky ID and tap the Sky VIP button. Sky VIP is free.

Does Sky Mobile have Wi-Fi calling?

Yes, Sky Mobile has Wi-Fi calling, but only limited 4G Calling (VolTe).

Does iD Mobile have Wi-Fi calling?

Yes, iD Mobile has Wi-Fi calling and it also supports 4G calling. As long as your mobile device supports it you can use both features.