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Interview with director of Sky Mobile, Sophia Ahmad

We caught up with Sky Mobile to chat about Text to Switch and what it means for customers.
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1. Changing mobile networks can be a bit of a pain, but that’s all set to change with Text to Switch. How do you think this will benefit consumers?

Most people want to keep their existing number when they change providers. And to do this they need a ‘porting authorization code’ or ‘PAC’, which you need to get from your existing network.

Once you confirm you’re leaving, it can still take a little time to get your PAC through before you can give it to your new network and make the switch. You also need to agree any outstanding contractual obligations before the PAC is sent by your existing network.

2. Can you see text to switch making a big difference in the way that customers interact with their provider? Do you think it will ultimately lead to more competitive deals?

It will be interesting to see how the mobile sector reacts to text to switch. We believe a lot of networks will shy away from talking about it openly, as it will act as a trigger to people switching networks – especially when they realise how easy it now is.

One change we will see less of is customers continuing to pay for a phone they’ve already paid off, rather than being automatically switched to a SIM-only plan when their initial contract period expires. This has been an issue in the mobile industry over the last few years, and text to switch will make this much more transparent.

Customer satisfaction will also be increasingly important. With switching now being so easy, networks will have to work harder to keep customers happy and avoid them looking elsewhere for a better service. From our perspective, we expect to see a positive impact on Sky Mobile.

Our latest research shows two thirds (65%) of Sky Mobile customers who have switched to the network in the last two years would highly recommend us to friends and family, plus we were awarded Uswitch’s own Best Network for Customer service award earlier this year.

3. Do you think we’ll see lots more customers switching their mobile phone provider now it’s easier to do?

Text to switch will make it easier to get the information you need to make an informed decision about switching networks. At the moment, you need to call up your provider and work out if you’re still within your initial contract, how much you have to pay to get out of it, and get your PAC, all before you can switch.

With text to switch, you can get all of the information required just by sending a text message to 65075, making it much easier for people to make an informed decision.

4. Why do you think Sky Mobile is well placed to benefit from text to switch?

Our customer satisfaction is a big part of why we expect to see a benefit from Text to Switch.

Two thirds of our 1 million customers are so happy with the service and value they see from Sky Mobile that they’d recommend us to friends and family.

We’ve also won numerous industry awards for customer satisfaction, including Uswitch’s own Best Pay Monthly Network, Best Value Pay Monthly, and Best Network for Customer Service, as well as Best MVNO at both the Mobile News and Mobile Industry Awards, and been recommended by Which? two years in a row.

This is because we’ve always focused on providing mobile users with what they really want. We were the first to offer data rollover for up to three years and we offer unlimited calls and texts as standard on all plans

For Sky TV customers, we offer unlimited data-free streaming of movies and TV shows through Sky apps. So you can stream as much as you like without eating into your data allowance.

We’re also a great network for families. As well as unlimited streaming of movies and TV shows, including on the Sky Kids app, any data rolled over can be shared amongst a household with more than one phone or SIM-only plan with Sky Mobile. So parents can share their unused data with kids if they’re running low mid-month.

With switching networks being made so easy, we expect a lot of our customers will be recommending us to friends and family who might be looking to make a change.

5. Word is you’re marking text to switch by offering £150 of savings on certain tariffs. Can you talk us through how to benefit from those savings?

We are offering a £150 saving on our 8GB per month plan, with unlimited calls and texts included. Those looking to switch networks and get a better deal on a new phone can choose from a range of the latest handsets with Sky Mobile.

The iPhone XR is available to new joiners for £36 per month with 8GB and unlimited calls and texts on a Swap24 plan. Or they can choose the Samsung Galaxy S10e for £32 per month on the same tariff. Those who just want a new SIM can save £60 on an 8GB per month plan with unlimited calls and texts.

These offers are available from 1st July both online and in 200 shopping centres across the UK. Anyone buying at one of these centres will also get a data bonus for switching in their Sky Piggybank. To find the nearest store, check the Sky website.

6. What makes Sky Mobile such a great alternative for customers who have been with the same provider for years?

When we launched Sky Mobile we wanted to address some of the key areas of frustration people had with their networks, with the aim of having a fair, flexible and transparent offering for our customers.

For example, before we launched Sky Mobile, our research showed consumers were only using on average half the data they bought each month, wasting an estimated £2 billion each year buying data they didn’t use. So, someone might have a 5GB plan, use 4GB, and lose the 1GB left at the end of the month, while still paying for it.

This encouraged us to introduce Roll, our data rollover scheme, which automatically rolls unused data into a customer’s Sky Piggybank each month so they get to keep it to use when they choose for up to three years. They get the data they pay for, and don’t lose out as they would with other networks.

On the handset side, we created our Swap plans to be incredibly transparent by showing customers both the cost of their handset and their data plan. Once the cost of a handset is paid off, customers see their monthly cost automatically reduce, compared to other networks that continue to charge for handsets even after they are paid off. Sky Mobile also allows people to easily swap their phone at no extra charge, or upgrade early if they choose.

Roll and Swap are just two of the key features that sets Sky Mobile apart. Our entire proposition is designed to give our customers choice and savings every month, as well as make Sky Mobile the most flexible network.

7. Sky is one of the biggest names in TV and broadband. How have you managed to translate that success into the mobile network market?

Sky has a proven track record of shaking up consumer markets as shown by our success in the highly competitive broadband space. With mobile, we again wanted to shake up the market and address the areas of customer dissatisfaction with their mobile provider.

We certainly shook up the market with our key propositions at launch. Roll offers free data rollover that lets you keep unused data for up to three years; Mix allows people to change their data allowance at any time without changing contracts, and Swap lets people choose between upgrading to the latest handset every year or upgrade after two years for a lower monthly cost.

We also offer many features that most other MVNOs don’t match, such as visual voicemail and voice over Wi-Fi calls. Uswitch has recognised us with multiple awards and Ofcom reported earlier this year, Sky Mobile performed the best in terms of customer satisfaction.

The reaction to this shake up is clear from our now 1 million plus customers. We launched Sky Mobile to take on the big four networks, rather than compete with MVNOs, and we believe our approach to the market has achieved this.

8. You’ve got a lot of different plans on offer. What are the benefits of switching over to Sky Mobile?

As well as our data rollover, there are a number of benefits to joining Sky Mobile.

When you join Sky Mobile, you pick a monthly data allowance that fits with how much data you use, but you don’t have to stick with it. If you want more, or feel you need less, you can change your data allowance each month. So for example you can up it when you’re going on holiday or will be away from your usual Wi-Fi connection for a while. We call this Mix.

We also offer unlimited calls and texts as standard on all our plans, SIMO and handset, which we call Save.

For people who choose to buy a handset from us, we have Swap options to suit everyone. For those who always want the latest phone model, Swap12 allows customers to upgrade their phone every year without changing their contract. Or customers can opt for Swap24 and get Sky’s lowest monthly price on their handset with the option to upgrade after two years.

9. What benefits do you offer for your existing Sky TV customers?

Existing Sky TV customers get a great deal for watching content on the go with Sky Mobile. Watch gives Sky TV customers unlimited streaming on any Sky app, such as Sky Go, Sky Kids, Sky Sports and Sky Cinema, without using a single MB of their data allowance.

With Watch, Sky customers can stream everything from movies and TV shows to unmissable sports matches live through the Sky apps anywhere in the UK and the EU, without using any data. The new feature builds on the existing Watch offering, which lets customers download shows to their mobile to watch offline with Sky Go Extra.

Non-Sky TV customers can also benefit from this, with unlimited streaming of movies and TV shows on Sky Cinema and Sky Store, sports highlights on Sky Sports, and up to the minute news on Sky News apps.

10. How easy is it to switch up your allowances on a Sky Mobile contract?

Mix makes it simple to change your data allowance, up or down, each month. All customers need to do it is log into their Sky Mobile account and choose a new data allowance, either 1GB, 4GB, 8Gb, 20Gb or 40GB. It literally takes two clicks on the Sky Mobile app.

The option to reduce a data allowance without a charge is particularly good for consumers. It also allows customers to change their data allowance as new offers become available – such as the £60 saving we’re offering on the 8GB SIMO plan from 1st July.

11. I never seem to use up my data at the end of the month which seems like a bit of a waste. If I switch to Sky Mobile can I carry over any of my unused data over?

With Roll, all your unused data is automatically rolled into your Sky Mobile piggybank for up to three years. Other networks have introduced a version of data rollover, but this usually only adds an extra month to use data, rather than letting it roll for up to three years until a customer needs it.

As well as being able to dip into it whenever you like for an extra data boost, you can cash in unused data for savings on a range of phonestablets and mobile accessories, from brands including Apple, Samsung and Sony.

We also allow unused data to be exchanged for money off phones, tablets and accessories, or shared with other Sky Mobile customers in the same household. It really is as flexible as possible.

Over 90% of Sky Mobile customers have enough data saved to be eligible for Piggybank Rewards, showing just how valuable Roll is to Sky Mobile users and the amount of data that they are able save and which would have been lost with other networks.

12. If I’ve got Sky TV at home, can I stream shows on my phone?

You certainly can, and with Watch you can watch as many movies and TV shows as you like without using a single MB of your data allowance on all Sky’s apps:

  • Sky Go: all of Sky’s quality movies and TV shows you find on your TV, on your mobile

  • Sky Kids: all the greatest kids’ TV shows, from Paw Patrol to PJ Mask

  • Sky News: for up to the minute breaking news and in-depth analysis

  • Sky Store: for the latest movies straight from the cinema

  • Sky Cinema: the best in on-demand movies

  • Sky Sports: for the biggest matches, tournaments and races

  • Sky VR: Sky’s pioneering programming in virtual reality

13. My holidays are coming up. What’s Sky Mobile’s roaming policy?

All Sky Mobile customers on any plan can use their mobile data, calls, and texts, in 36 European destinations at no extra cost. All the usual benefits of Sky Mobile are also available in these countries, including data-free streaming of movies and TV shows through Sky’s apps. So it’s perfect for long trips and car journeys when you need to keep the family entertained.

We also offer a Roaming Passport, which lets customers use their data, calls and text allowance outside the EU for a flat daily fee. You can also still dip into rolled data in your Sky Piggybank, ideal if you’re on holiday and need a data boost.

Sky Mobile customers also have access to low data roaming charges outside the EU in over 100 destinations, including 12p per MB in popular destinations such as the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

To find out more, take a look at these Sky Mobile international roaming FAQs.