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Sky Mobile Swap Explained – How to Upgrade Your Phone Early

Sky Mobile lets you upgrade to a brand new device 31 days after you purchase it. Let’s see how their unique ‘Swap’ feature works.


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Sky Mobile is a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) powered by the O2 Network. This means Sky Mobile doesn’t have an underlying infrastructure and they’re using O2 as their network provider. Sky Mobile and O2 offer identical network coverage and data speeds.

All of Sky Mobile price plans come with unlimited UK minutes & texts, 4G Calling, Wi-Fi Calling, data rollover and data-free streaming on all Sky apps for Sky TV.

The carrier also offers handsets from major manufacturers such as Apple, Samsung, Huawei and Sony. Sky Mobile allows you to upgrade your handset after your first 31 days with them without having to cancel your current mobile phone contract.

In this article, we’ll take an in-depth look at how Sky Mobile’s ‘Swap’ feature works and see if their price plans and network coverage are right for you.

Sky Mobile Swap Explained

On Sky Mobile you can upgrade your handset (or as Sky puts it “Swap” it) anytime you want after the first 31 days of your mobile phone contract. The network has a decent range of handsets to choose from, and they also let you choose between two types of Swap contracts; Swap12 and Swap24. Sky Mobile also provides two different tablet contracts: Swap24 and Swap36. We’d like to underline that the numbers next to “Swap” don’t refer to the length of your contract. Swap12 is a 24-month contract and Swap24 is a 36-month contract. Swap36 is a tablet-only, 48-month contract.

The carrier will let you know when it’s time to Swap. Sky Mobile Swap deals are structured in a clever way. You can always Swap your phone early by paying off what’s left on your phone contract, but if you upgrade up to 12 months before your contract ends, Sky will use your old smartphone to match what’s left on your contract. Basically, you sell your phone back to Sky Mobile and they will let you choose a brand new one. This will cover the rest of your contract with the network so you can start a new one.

You can still Swap your phone if it’s damaged, but in that case your old device may not be enough to pay off what’s left on your contract. If your phone isn’t in good working order you might not be offered as much as you hope. Don’t worry though, Sky will ask you and see what you prefer before moving forward with a Swap deal. You can ask them to return your device to you if you’re not happy with how much they offer you for your device.

Alternatively, you can try to sell your old phone yourself but it can be a hassle. However, depending on the handset and its condition, you might actually make a lot more than Sky’s offer. We recommend you to do a thorough research on the UK’s second hand market and find out how much your phone is worth, before agreeing to a Swap deal.

As you can easily guess, you’ll have to pass a mobile phone credit check in order to be eligible for a Swap deal. Unfortunately, even if you’re only applying for a SIM only deal, Sky Mobile will always ask for a credit check. They don’t have a pay as you go service and the carrier doesn’t offer any prepaid SIM plans.

When you choose to upgrade your phone with a new one with this feature, Sky will send your new smartphone or tablet first with some prepaid packaging to send your old device back. You’ll be able to transfer anything you want over to your new device first, then send the old one back to Sky.

Sky Mobile Swap12 (Phone Only)

Unlike the name of the deal suggests, Swap12 is actually a 24-month mobile phone contract. It’s a decent choice if you like to keep up to date with the latest smartphones every year or prefer a shorter mobile phone contract.

If you select this deal, Sky Mobile will allow you to Swap your phone for a new one after the 12th month. If your old phone is in full working order and has no physical damage, the value of your device will be used to pay off the remainder of your agreement.

Sky Mobile Swap24

Swap24 is a 36-month contract and this option is available on both phones and tablets. This deal is better for spreading the cost of your device and also if you’re not concerned about having the latest device each year.

Sky Mobile will take your device after the 24th month and the value of your phone/tablet will be used to pay off the balance of your 36-month contract. This is of course if the device is in full working order with no cosmetic damage.

Sky Mobile customers who bought their phone or tablet outright are eligible for Swap24. They can upgrade their device from the 24th payment for Sky Mobiles services.

Sky Mobile Swap36 (Tablet Only)

This is a tablet only deal and it lasts for 48 months. Just like the other Swap offers, you can use your old tablet after the 36th month to pay off the rest of your agreement with Sky Mobile and get a brand new tablet.

Put in short, after your 36th tablet repayment, you’ll have a 12 month window to swap your tablet.

Sky Mobile Plans and Pricing

In the UK, Sky Mobile only offers pay monthly contracts, they don’t provide any pay as you go services or prepaid 30-day bundles. They are also one of the few major networks without an unlimited data plan offer.

Regardless, we love Sky Mobile’s price plans, because they come with some great and unique features and they’re competitively priced. On top of that, they provide what most other MVNOs bring to the table as a standard. All Sky Mobile tariffs come with unlimited UK minutes & texts, 4G Calling and Wi-Fi Calling at no extra cost. You can also enjoy unlimited streaming on Sky apps. If you’re also an existing Sky Broadband and TV customer you get even more benefits. We also recommend checking out Sky Broadband.

As for unique features, Sky Mobile has the best data rollover scheme in the UK by a long shot. Your leftover data rolls over for up to 3 years in your Sky Piggybank. Best part is you can exchange your spare data for money off a new phone, tablet and accessories. Sky Mobile’s family mobile plans deserve a shout-out too. You can move any spare data you have in your Sky Piggybank with up to seven other SIMs on your account.

DataMinutes & TextsPrice

Sky Mobile’s SIM deals cover a good deal of UK mobile customers, but if you’re a heavy data user you might want to check out Three’s unlimited data plan priced at only £16 a month. You can read our Three Review and find out more about their offers. Three provides 5G at no extra cost and has one of the best free roaming deals on the market.

Sky Mobile offers 5G at no extra cost too, but you’ll have to become a Sky VIP member. It doesn’t cost anything, but once you’re a member there is no way out. It’s a great loyalty programme, don’t get us wrong, but you’ll get a lot of notifications, which may be a deal breaker for some users. Alternatively, you can purchase the Sky 5G add-on priced at £5 a month.

Network Coverage & Data Speeds

In the UK, Sky Mobile uses O2’s network to provide 5G, 4G, 3G and 2G coverage to their customers. At the start of 2020, O2 was behind the other main networks (EEVodafone and Three), but the carrier improved their 4G and 5G networks significantly. O2 doesn’t enforce any speed restrictions, data caps or network limitations to Sky Mobile. This means both networks offer identical coverage and data speeds to their customers.

4G Coverage

Being a mobile virtual network operator, Sky Mobile aren’t tested by independent bodies, but O2 are. According to both Open Signal and OOKLA (speedtest.net) O2’s 4G, 3G and 2G population coverage is over 99%. More importantly, O2’s UK landmass coverage for 4G is around 90% now. They can’t hold a candle to EE’s 4G network yet, but they’re getting there.

However, download and upload speeds on 4G aren’t O2/Sky Mobile’s strong suit. Looking at Open Signal’s October 2020 report, we can see that O2 ranks last among the four main operators. O2’s average 4G download speeds are around 18Mbps, while their average 4G upload speeds are as low as 6Mbps. If you want the best 4G can offer, we strongly recommend checking out our EE Review. They have the most 4G coverage and fastest 4G data speeds in the UK. You can also grab 6 months of free Apple Music when you sign up for a pay monthly contract on EE.

5G Coverage

Sky Mobile’s 5G service is powered by O2 and it kicked off back in January 16th, 2020. In order to benefit from Sky 5G you’ll need to be in an area with O2’s 5G network and have a 5G ready handset. As a Sky Mobile customer, you must also be a Sky VIP member to get 5G at no cost, or pay £5 a month for the 5G add-on.

Sky Mobile’s 5G is available in 150 cities and towns at the moment. According to OOKLA’s October 2020 speed test results, Sky Mobile’s average 5G download speeds are around 177Mbps. Overall, O2/Sky Mobile have the second most 5G coverage in terms of number of locations covered. They are also the second fastest 5G network in the UK at the moment.

Half Cooked’s Overall Breakdown

Sky Mobile’s Swap deals are good, but the real winner when you upgrade your device with this feature is the network, not you. You can only get a new device 12 months before your credit agreement ends, if you want to benefit from the no extra charges option. By then you might get more for your device if you sell it yourself rather than opting for a Swap deal.

Having said that, we know that not everyone has the time or patience to deal with this kind of hassle. If that’s the case, Sky Mobile’s Swap offers are a good option for you.


Does Sky Mobile have 5G? How can I get 5G on Sky?

Yes, Sky Mobile offers 5G at no extra cost, but in order to get it for free you have to become a Sky VIP member. This is Sky’s loyalty programme and it’s free to join, however, once you join you aren’t allowed to leave until your contract runs out. Alternatively, you can pay £5 a month for the Sky 5G add-on.

Does Sky Mobile support 4G Calling and Wi-Fi Calling?

Yes, all of Sky Mobile SIM plans come with 4G and Wi-Fi Calling, provided your phone supports these voice call quality improving features.

Who owns Sky Mobile?

Sky Mobile is owned by Sky UK, however, the mobile network is powered by the O2 network.

Can I get a Sky Mobile SIM without passing a credit check?

No, unfortunately Sky Mobile only offers pay monthly contracts. If you want to join the network, you’ll be locked in for at least 12-months. You may cancel your mobile contract, but then you’d have to pay a penalty for cancelling your contract early.

I’m already a Sky customer. Do I get a discount for joining Sky Mobile?

Sadly, no. There are no special discounts for existing Sky TV and Broadband customers at the moment. However, there are multiple features you get to benefit from as an existing customer.