Analysts: “Sky Mobile not a game changer”


Sky’s new mobile service for the UK is being billed as the “most flexible” in the country with a key benefit the retention of unused data; “for the first time ever  in the UK) mobile phone owners will be able to keep their unused data for up to three years, to be redeemed whenever they like, and have the flexibility to change their plan every month,” says the company.

Sky’s offering includes 4G as standard, and uses the existing O2 network for carriage. Those who switch to Sky Mobile will pay only for mobile broadband access, with a 1GB package £10 per month, 3GB at £15 and the 5GB package at £20. Sky said that 50,000 consumers had pre-registered for the service. Sky will not subsidise new handsets.

Sky unveiled its full strategy at an ‘Investor Day’ in London on Nov 29, and where it positioned the new service as a competitively (but not aggressively) priced mid-market offering focused on families and those with medium levels of data usage. Key attributes of the Sky offering include ‘roll’ (unused data rolled over into next month), mix (change contracts anytime), save (unlimited free calls and texts for Sky customers) and sync (Sky+ recordings on your mobile).

The full package, and its benefits to Sky – and consumers – were listed by equity analysts at Exane-BNP/Paribas as:

Consumer offering

  • >23m mobile subscribers are Sky customers
  • Why mobile now? Monthly subscribers growing, SIM only growing, data usage growing, online purchasing growing, emerging offload opportunity
  • Sky can help customers resolve pain points (Opaque tariffing, expensive data, loyalty not recognised, inflexible contracts, unloved brands and poor service)
  • 5 key pillars of Sky offering – roll, mix, save, sync and a 5th undisclosed item . ‘roll’ (unused data rolled over into next month), mix (change contracts anytime), save (unlimited free calls and texts for Sky customers) and sync (Sky+ recordings on your mobile)
  • Not targeting high usage or low usage customers >> looking for middle market
  • Price point competitive in context of full offering but sticker price above some peers
  • 1 GB @ £10; 3GB @ £15 and 5GB @ £20
  • Unlimited calls and texts for Sky customers
  • Launch to pre-reg customers in Dec, everyone in jan and handset sales in Spring

But the bank was underwhelmed by the package, saying: “Overall, while headline pricing may disappoint those who anticipated an aggressive price point (e.g. Vodafone etc substantially cheaper on a headline per gig basis) and we argue Sky’s competitive pricing (pricing solid with added benefits from data rollover for 3 yrs and use on any family device), innovative positioning (free calls etc for Sky customers) and strong track record in cross selling (e.g. transformative impact on broadband market etc) leaves Sky well placed to utilise mobile as a growth driver. We note the company have not ‘bundled’ their offering with video as aggressively as some had expected with the offering mainly a distinct standalone offering from pay-tv/broadband (although there is unlimited free calls and texts for Sky customers and sync functionality with+). However, we view the performance of the core pay-tv and broadband businesses and challenges of content cost inflation as the key drivers of the medium term Sky share price performance.”





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