Sky Price Increase: Cheap Alternatives Guide

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Millions of Sky customers, whether on Sky TV, Sky Broadband or Sky Mobile, are facing a price increase – with the average rise standing at £43.2/year. But some customers can avoid the increase with cheaper alternatives – if they take action.

Since the increase is below the current inflation rate, most customers won’t be able to use this increase as a reason to break their existing Sky contracts without paying a fee.

However, if you’re out of contract (or less than 31 days before it ends) – this is the best time to check the market – for better broadband and phone deals, and specifically for better TV deals – which is where this guide comes in.

If you’ve been on the fence about cutting the TV cord, it’s now your chance to potentially save hundreds of pounds a year, and still keep watching a lot of excellent TV (almost everything on Sky’s TV service can be found on plans and services that don’t require long contracts, including via Sky’s own streaming service, NOW – see ahead).

Even if you ARE under contract, and especially if your minimum term is coming to an end soon – it’s worth trying to haggle with Sky. See our How To Haggle With Sky guide.

Furthermore, Sky is encouraging any vulnerable customers or customers that are struggling with bills “to contact customer support to discuss their options.”

Sky’s increase comes a month after Virgin Media announced their own upcoming price rise, with most other UK broadband and TV companies also announcing imminent rises.

Sky Store
Photo:Deposit Photos / Swilphotos

Sky’s 2022 Price Increase: Who Is Affected?

The price increase will take place for most Sky TV and Sky Broadband customers on April 1, 2022. Sky Talk prices will go up on May 1, 2022.

As for Sky Mobile – daily EU roaming costs will be back from May 1, 2022.

Affected customers will get notifications from Sky – by e-mail or post – between February 16 and March 24.

The specific increase you will see depends on your contract and the plans/add-on you’re subscribed to. According to Sky, impacted customers will see an average price increase of £3.60 per month.

If you’re not sure which plan you’re on, check your most recent bill – then check whether you’re on any of the listed plans.

Elderly couple with bills 1200

The full list of rising prices includes (these are all monthly prices) –

TV Packages – 

  • Sky Signature will increase by £1 to £27
  • Sky Cinema will increase by £1 to £12
  • BT Sport will increase by £1 to £28
  • HD add-on will increase by £1 to £8 

Other Sky TV packages and add-ons, such as Sky Sports, Sky Kids or the ones associated with Sky Glass (such as Sky Ultimate and the 4K/UHD add-on) are apparently not going up at this point (but we’re awaiting confirmation from Sky regarding Glass).

Broadband Packages:

  • Sky Broadband Essential will increase by £2.50 to £27.50
  • Sky Broadband Superfast will increase by £2.50 to £30.50

Sky Talk Rates:

  • Talk rates (UK landlines and UK mobiles) will increase by 2p per minute to 22p per minute

Sky Mobile

EU Roaming costs are coming back, as they did on many other mobile companies. 

From May 1, Sky Mobile customers travelling in the EU will have to pay a roaming charge of £2/day (and then use minutes and data from their regular plan, on top of that).

Sky Mobile’s Roaming Passport Plus, which covers a few destinations outside of the EU, including the USA, Australia and South Africa, will be reduced from £6/day to £2/day.

Sky’s Response

Regarding the TV and broadband price increases, a Sky spokesperson said:

“We know price increases are never welcome so we aim to keep prices as low as possible while still delivering the content customers love, the flexibility to choose the right package, and our leading customer service”.

On the return of EU roaming charges, Sky says: “Sky Mobile goes wherever our customers go, not just around the EU.

“To make things simpler, we will now charge £2 per day for data roaming in popular destinations globally – in the EU, the USA, Australia, South Africa and more.”

With all these price increases, this is the perfect time to take a closer look at your bills – and especially what you’re paying for your TV watching.

Step 1: Decide What You Need

Broadband is pretty much a must these days – but many people don’t know that some companies let you sign up for broadband ON ITS OWN, without any additional services and costs (or, at the very least – Broadband + A landline phone). 

Internet Speed meter

So if you prefer, you can stay with Sky just for the broadband part – though, as with every change, this would mean switching to a different contract – so can only be done if you’re out of contract (or reaching the end of your minimum term soon).

In any case, it’s always a good idea to check broadband prices among several different companies, just remember that they all come with 12 or 18 months-long contracts:

But what about TV, you say? There’s very little reason to keep an expensive pay-TV contract these days – either with Sky, Virgin Media, BT TV or any of the other “traditional” TV companies.

Everything you get from Sky (or the other pay-TV companies) is replaceable, and – in many cases – will be cheaper, and without a long contract. Let’s take a closer look…

Step 2: Understand What You’re Getting From Sky

First, let’s take a look at what a typical customer gets from Sky, if he’s subscribed to one of their TV bundles (some customers might still have older equipment, such as the Sky HD boxes – but the basic premise is similar for most these days) –

Sky Q official
Sky Q
  • Sky Q Box: A satellite-based 4K box that lets you watch and record Freeview channels, access Sky and 3rd party premium channels, as well as some streaming and catch-up apps like Netflix, Prime Video, BBC iPlayer and more.
  • Premium TV Channels: The selection depends on your specific package, but can include Sky’s entertainment channels (Sky Atlantic, Sky Max, Sky Witness and more), Sky’s Cinema channels, Sky Sports (and BT Sport) and more.
  • 3rd Party Streaming Services: Sky Q gives you access to several streaming services, and you can subscribe to some of them (such as Netflix and Disney+) via your monthly Sky bill. 

What you pay depends on your specific bundle, the deal you managed to snag when you signed up, and numerous other aspects – but roughly, a typical package with most of the HD TV channels (including Sky Sports and Sky Cinema), “Superfast” broadband and a phone line, currently costs around £80/month with an 18-months contract. 

Prices can get up even higher, of course, if you add things like Multiscreen, 4K and more.

And if you’ve been with Sky for long, without haggling – you might be paying more than that. Much more.

And all that’s BEFORE the 2022 price increase.

Step 3: Replace Sky’s TV Service By Cutting The Cord

What does cord cutting mean? We have a comprehensive guide about that, but in general terms, it means ditching traditional pay-TV companies like Sky, at least for their TV services – and signing up directly with lower-cost streaming services like Netflix and Disney+.

So, let’s start with the hardware. If you leave Sky, they’ll take away your Sky Q box. But No Worries!

Getting Freeview / Freesat Without Sky

If you casually watch Freeview channels, you don’t even need a recording box – every TV sold in the UK after 2010 already has a Freeview tuner built-in.

As long as you have decent reception in your house, you just need to connect an aerial (it can even be a cheap indoor aerial in many cases)

If you do want to be able to record Freeview channels (and then watch later, plus be able to pause, rewind and fast-forward live channels), you can get a Freeview recording box like the Manhattan T3-R (you can see more of our recommended Freeview boxes here).

Manhattan T3-R
Manhattan T3-R

A Freeview recording box like that typically costs around £160 (depending on how much digital storage space you want for your recordings). True, that’s not exactly cheap – but remember, this is a one-time cost.

Once you have the Freeview box and decent Freeview reception, you don’t need to pay anyone else for the privilege of watching and recording Freeview, ever again (Well, except for the annual TV licence – but that’s also true when you’re with Sky).

The Manhattan T3-R also supports Freeview Play, so it comes with streaming apps for all the major public broadcasters – BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, All4 and more (plus a BritBox app, which isn’t currently available on Sky).

If you want more information, see our full Freeview Guide.

Another option that is particularly suitable for many Sky subscribers is Freesat – which is similar to Freeview, but reaches your house via a satellite dish – like the one you already have for Sky.

If you leave Sky, the dish remains at your house in most cases – and, for most, would then be suitable for Freesat (though some would need to make small adjustments to the dish – something that can easily be done by an expert).

Freesat 4K TV Boxes
Freesat 4K TV Boxes

At that point, you would need a Freesat receiver/recording box – see more in our Best Freesat Boxes roundup.

Getting A Streaming Device Without Sky

Next, we want to be able to watch the streaming services – either the paid ones like Netflix, or the free catch-up ones from the public broadcasters, like BBC iPlayer.

For that, you first need broadband, of course (and preferably high-speed broadband) – but we took care of that in Step 1.

Next, you need a streaming device to replace Sky Q. If you have a Smart TV from the past 4-5 years or so, there’s a good chance you already have most of the major streaming apps and services built into your TV.

If not, you can buy a dedicated streaming stick – these are small, cheap devices that give you access to a huge library of apps and services. 

The price range can be wide, but you mainly need to decide whether you want a 4K streaming stick, or if HD (1080p) is enough for you. In most cases, I would go for a 4K stick, as that future-proofs your purchase, even if you don’t currently have a 4K TV.

Two excellent choices for streaming sticks are the Amazon Fire TV 4K Max (see our review) and the Roku Streaming Stick 4K (see our review).

The Fire TV sticks are very popular in the UK, but the Roku sticks have a simpler and easy-to-use interface, so that may be a plus for some (see our Best Streaming Device for 2022).

Roku Streaming Stick 4K Window
Roku Streaming Stick 4K

You can’t go wrong with either one of those two. If you want something cheaper, but still get 4K – Roku also sells the Roku Express 4K (see our review)– which isn’t as powerful, so might be slightly more sluggish – but is still an excellent choice.

And if you don’t need 4K at all, take a look at the cheap Fire TV Stick Lite.

What About Sky Glass?

Sky’s streaming TV, Sky Glass, offers a different deal than the traditional Sky contract. 

Unlike Sky’s other services in the UK (to date), Sky Glass doesn’t use a satellite dish – instead, it relies on broadband, and streams all the content to the TV, much like other streaming devices (see my full Sky Glass review here).

Sky Glass

When you buy Sky Glass, you pay for the TV itself (the device), and for Sky’s channels and services. You can pay the whole amount upfront (starting at £649), or in monthly instalments, which are a loan.

Unlike other Sky content services (like the ones you get via Sky Q), Sky Glass customers don’t have to sign any long-term contracts. Instead, you get Sky Ultimate (and the other add-ons) on rolling monthly contracts, which you can cancel at any point (though you would still have to repay the loan on the TV itself, if you chose the instalments option).

But because you can only get Sky’s full, contract-free streaming option when you buy the TV – I don’t consider it a lower-cost streaming replacement to Sky’s regular service at the moment.

Getting Premium Streaming Channels Without Sky

Once you have a streaming device, it’s time to decide what it is you want to watch. 

First, remember that all the top streaming devices will already have the catch-up streaming apps from the major broadcasters, which you can then watch for free (though sometimes with adverts) – BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, All4 and My5.

ITV Hub on TV - deposit - vantagedrones

Then there are the premium streaming services, that cost money – but are still rather cheap, especially when compared to packages from Sky or Virgin Media.

The most crucial difference to remember between these streaming services and Sky (or other pay-TV companies), is that there are NO LONG-TERM CONTRACTS.

Instead, you only pay for a month at a time – and can cancel at any point (unless you want an annual deal that lowers the price – but you don’t HAVE to get those).

So, for example, you can sign up to Netflix one month, watch some shows, then cancel the next month and switch to Disney+. Going on holiday for a couple of weeks? Cancel everything. The choice – and flexibility – is yours.

Streaming services on phone prime netflix disney 1200
(Photo: Deposit Photos / Miglagoa)

Some major Streaming Services that are available in the UK include:

If you’ve been missing the old Fox channel that shut down and was removed from Sky and NOW last year, you’ll find most of its content on Disney+, including The Walking Dead, and – later in 2022 – NCIS.

How Can I Get Sky’s Channels Without A Contract?

Even if you want to watch Sky’s premium channels – you can still do that with streaming, without the need for a traditional Sky subscription.

This is where NOW (Formerly NOW TV – see our review) comes in. Sky’s monthly subscription service for cord cutters costs £9.99/month for the TV (and Kids) package, £9.99/month for the Sky Cinema package and £33.99/month for Sky Sports.

You get all of Sky’s “live” channels, and all the content is also available to stream on demand.

How Can I Get Sports Without Sky?

There are quite a few options for streaming sports these days, without the need to sign a long contract with Sky.

While these options are not always cheaper than getting the sports services as part of a bundle – you do get the flexibility of cancelling and re-joining whenever you want. Only interested in Premier League, for example? Cancel everything during the off-months.

BT Sports screens
BT Sport

Your streaming sports options include:

  • BT Sport Monthly Pass – A flexible way to watch BT Sport on a variety of devices, for one monthly fee: £25/month.
  • The NOW Sports Membership – With all of Sky’s sports channels (both live and on-demand), at £33.99/month (there are also day passes).
  • Eurosport Player: It’s now part of Discovery+, offering up to 18 LIVE channels, from tennis (such as The Australian Open) to cycling, boxing, football and more.
  • Amazon Prime Video: Amazon’s streaming service has been doubling down on sports in recent years, with Premier League matches, tennis and more.

The Bottom Line: Save By Ditching Sky TV

No one likes price increases.

However, by moving to streaming TV and Freeview instead of Sky’s TV (or other traditional pay-TV companies), you can potentially save hundreds of pounds a year – and not just by avoiding the current price increase.

Streaming services on phone netflix apple prime video disney

Some people keep saying to me that if you add all the streaming services’ costs up, you end up paying MORE than you did with Sky. In theory, that’s true.

However, that’s exactly the point – you DON’T NEED all these services together, at the same time. Most people won’t have the time to watch Prime Video, Netflix, Disney+, NOW, BritBox, BT Sports, and the list goes on – in the same month.

There are only so many TV-watching hours in a day.

So every month just pick one, or two – depending on your needs and how much you want to pay. Or just sign up to of the major ones like Netflix or NOW, keep it for 6 months, then switch to something else.

That flexibility is where the real money-saving lies.

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