Sky becomes mobile network with O2 tie-up


Sky has become a so-called 'quad player' in the UK with plans to offer mobile services to its customers from 2016 via a partnership with Telifonica’s O2.

The wholesale deal, which will not affect O2's existing customers, means Sky can offer mobile services to Sky customers on Sky bills from 2016.

The main players in the industry are vying to become "quad play" providers, meaning they bundle home phone, mobile, TV and broadband services together in a single package for customers.

Sky's agreement comes as its rival BT looks to spend £12.5bn to buy current mobile market leader EE.

Sky made its announcement just a week after it was revealed that Telefonica UK, which owns O2, was in exclusive talks about a sale to rival Three, potentially creating a new UK market leader.

Sky said its multi-year deal gave it wholesale access to 2G, 3G and 4G services over O2's nationwide network.

The company said it had established itself as the UK's most popular triple-play provider, with almost 40% of its customer base now taking all three of TV, telephony and broadband.

Dominic Baliszewski, telecoms expert at broadbandchoices commented: “It was a foregone conclusion that Sky would ensure its place at the mobile phone buffet and this deal with Telefonica UK adds the final missing piece to the puzzle of Sky’s comms offering. Going down the wholesale route rather than buying their own network outright means Sky could have less flexibility in the way they sell mobile packages but they are likely to mitigate this by leveraging their broadcast content which is already increasingly viewed via mobile devices.

“This is further proof of the UK’s inevitable shift towards ‘Quad-Play’ services (broadband, mobile phone, TV and home phone), but it remains to be seen how quickly customers will adopt these new bundles – at the moment, just understanding the new mobile world order is going to be confusing enough for customers with Sky teaming up with Telefonica, Telefonica selling O2 to Three and BT buying EE outright.

“When the dust settles and packages become available it is important that customers are given clear information to help them understand how these deals are structured, priced and delivered if they are to avoid signing up to something that they don’t really need.”

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