Sky vs TalkTalk

Last updated: 27 February 2023   By Dr Lucy Brown, Editor

Sky is a premium broadband provider with excellent customer, while TalkTalk are moving away from their budget image with more high-end full fibre deals.

Sky offers both superfast and ultrafast broadband packages, with an unparalleled customer service record and the option to bundle Sky TV.

TalkTalk is moving away from their budget broadband style with advance routers on their full fibre packages, yet their customer service still needs improvements.

Ultimately Sky broadband beats TalkTalk broadband both on price and service quality, with fairer contract terms for annual price rises.

sky or talktalk

At a glance

Sky Broadband TalkTalk Broadband
Price from £25 £26
Superfast broadband 36Mb, 59Mb 38Mb, 67Mb
Ultrafast broadband 145Mb, 500Mb 152Mb, 525Mb
Gigafast broadband N/a 944Mb
Anytime UK calls £12 £16
TV content Sky TV Netgem TV or Android TV
Customer satisfaction 84% 78%
Customer complaints 16% 21%
Minimum term 18 months 18 months
Sky Broadband TalkTalk Broadband
Pros Pros Excellent customer service record Cheaper prices
Premium TV option Gigabit-capable option
Home phone line included in all plans Wider availability with Openreach and CityFibre networks
Cons Cons Marginally more expensive Customer service and complaints need improvement
Currently no gigabit broadband plan No home phone option with full fibre

Best deals

Package Broadband Monthly price Upfront price Contract term
Superfast Broadband 61Mb average £27 £5 18 months
offer Offer: WiFi Max just £3/mth + (£5 refundable setup fee for new customers if applicable)
TV Hub + Fibre 65 67Mb average £33 Free 18 months
offer Offer: NOW Entertainment just £4.99 for 12 months (was £9.99) + NOW Boost free + Free setup and P&P

Verdict: Who is best for...

Sky Broadband TalkTalk Broadband
Price Sky wins
Speed TalkTalk wins
Router TalkTalk wins
WiFi guarantee Sky wins
Home phone Sky wins
TV bundles Sky wins
Customer service Sky wins
Overall Sky wins

Price

Winner: Sky have the cheapest overall broadband plan compared to TalkTalk, along with annual price rises that are less than inflation.

Sky and TalkTalk have similar pricing policies, with each provider's deal coming in just a pound or two different.

In addition, both providers have currently waived any upfront costs on all their broadband plans, and both use 18-month minimum terms.

At the time of writing however, Sky have the overall cheapest deal, with their Superfast package priced at just £25, less than TalkTalk's slower entry-level fibre deal.

Both providers offer discounts for customers who bundle their TV service with broadband, although Sky have a more comprehensive TV service for those who value home entertainment.

Mid-contract price rises

TalkTalk increase prices annually for all customers by Consumer Price Index + 3.7%, which equated to a price rise of 14.2% in 2023.

Sky say they'll increase prices, but don't specify by how much. This means if they increase prices above inflation customers can exit their contract early without penalty. Unsurprisingly then, Sky confirmed they would be increasing the prices for broadband and TV customers by 8.1% on average in 2023, less than inflation.

Overall, Sky's annual price rises are typically less than those of TalkTalk, which means they're more likely to work out cheaper over the length of a contract.

Read more about why broadband prices go up.


Broadband deals

Winner: TalkTalk offer more full fibre options, with marginally cheaper prices, while Sky offers the cheapest broadband deal overall.

Sky and TalkTalk offer a similar range of broadband package options, and their pricing matches up closely too.

TalkTalk offer a gigabit-capable broadband plan, Full Fibre 900, while Sky have currently removed their Gigafast package from sale for new customers. Sky's fastest broadband package is Ultrafast Plus, which offers 500Mb average download speeds.

Both providers offer two superfast broadband deals, with wide availability to over 97% of homes across the UK. Here's the latest pricing:

Package Broadband Monthly price Upfront price Contract term
Superfast Broadband 61Mb average £27 £5 18 months
offer Offer: WiFi Max just £3/mth + (£5 refundable setup fee for new customers if applicable)
Fibre 35 38Mb average £28 Free 18 months
offer Offer: Free setup and P&P
Fibre 65 67Mb average £28 Free 18 months
offer Offer: Free setup and P&P
Superfast 35 Broadband 36Mb average £38 £5 18 months
offer Offer: WiFi Max just £6.50/mth + (£5 refundable setup fee for new customers if applicable)

Sky currently have the overall cheapest price, with a promotional offer on their Superfast plan reducing it to just £25 per month, £1 cheaper than TalkTalk's entry level deal.

Both providers currently offer free setup, and have a minimum term of 18-months. A home phone line is included with superfast deals with pay as you go calls.

Overall, for superfast broadband, Sky beats TalkTalk on price.

Full fibre broadband

Sky and TalkTalk both offer full fibre broadband on the Openreach network, which has so far reached a coverage figure of 30% of homes across the UK, or 9.6 million premises.

One difference between the providers is TalkTalk also offer full fibre broadband on the CityFibre network. This means TalkTalk full fibre is available to an extra 2.2 million premises, which gives TalkTalk an edge over Sky for ultrafast availability.

Here's the latest pricing for full fibre deals:

Package Broadband Monthly price Upfront price Contract term
Full Fibre 150 152Mb average £29 Free 18 months
offer Offer: Free setup and P&P
Ultrafast Broadband 145Mb average £29 £5 18 months
offer Offer: WiFi Max just £3/mth + (£5 refundable setup fee for new customers if applicable)
Full Fibre 500 525Mb average £39 Free 18 months
offer Offer: Free setup and P&P
Ultrafast Plus Broadband 500Mb average £32 £5 18 months
offer Offer: WiFi Max just £3/mth + (£5 refundable setup fee for new customers if applicable)
Full Fibre 900 944Mb average £49 Free 18 months
offer Offer: Free setup and P&P

TalkTalk is marginally cheaper than Sky broadband for ultrafast speeds, and also offers customers the chance to take a gigabit-capable package if they want it.

Sky do have a Gigafast package, but they've chosen to withdraw it from sale for a temporary period while they optimise their network to provide a fast and reliable service at higher speeds.

However, as we cover in our guides to gigabit broadband and ultrafast broadband, the majority of customers taking full fibre sign up to an entry level 100Mb plan, with only 7% taking the faster gigabit option.

Read more in our Sky broadband review and TalkTalk broadband review.


Broadband speed

Winner: TalkTalk have the edge with their Full Fibre 900 plan, while Sky has temporarily paused sales of their Gigafast package.

Sky and TalkTalk offer very similar broadband speed package options, and also use the same underlying network, which means average speeds match up closely too.

Broadband providers must advertise headline speeds that at least 50% of their customers actually receive at peak times, between the hours of 8pm to 10pm in the evening.

As such, the following speed table gives a fair indication of the speeds available with Sky:

Download speed (average) Upload speed (average)
Superfast 35 36Mb 9Mb
Superfast 59Mb 16Mb
Ultrafast 145Mb 27Mb
Ultrafast Plus 500Mb 60Mb

And those of TalkTalk:

Download speed (average) Upload speed (average)
Fibre 35 38Mb 9Mb
Fibre 65 67Mb 18Mb
Full Fibre 150 152Mb 25Mb
Full Fibre 500 525Mb 71Mb
Full Fibre 900 944Mb 91Mb

It's likely Sky will bring their Gigafast plan back in the near future, but for now, the fastest broadband option is with TalkTalk and their Full Fibre 900 plan.

Both providers offer asymmetrical download and upload speeds, which means average upload speeds are much less than the headline download figure.

Customers who live in a CityFibre enabled area and sign up for TalkTalk full fibre broadband will get symmetrical upload speeds however, so the upload speed will be as fast as the headline download speed.

Real-world speeds

Sky's average download speed on their Superfast plan is less than an equivalent deal from TalkTalk, but it's worth looking at some speed research to compare how they perform in real life.

Ofcom average broadband speeds, October 2022
Advertised speed Over 24 hours Peak time (8-10pm)
Sky 59Mb 64.30Mb 62.01Mb
TalkTalk 67Mb 63.04Mb 62.41Mb

Sky broadband is actually slightly faster on average over 24 hours in these panellist tests compared to TalkTalk, although TalkTalk is marginally faster during peak hours.

Overall however, it shows that in the real world, customers are actually getting similar speeds despite the difference in the given headline average speed.

For full fibre broadband the results are similar, with Sky also outperforming their own average, yet TalkTalk is faster still and this could be down to some CityFibre connections.

Ofcom average broadband speeds, October 2022
Advertised speed Over 24 hours Peak time (8-10pm)
Sky 145Mb 150.22Mb 150.46Mb
TalkTalk 152Mb 159.90Mb 159.91Mb

Overall, Sky and TalkTalk are closely matched on real world speed performance.

Minimum speed guarantee

Sky and TalkTalk are both signatories of Ofcom's Broadband Speed Code of Conduct, which sets out that a provider should give a customer a minimum speed at the time of sign up, and if this isn't met the customer can exit their contract without penalty.

Customers need to give the provider 30 days' in order to resolve any issues, but speeds given are personalised to the individual property.

Sky go a step further than this however with their Sky Speed Guarantee because they also promise to give customers one month's subscription refunded too, and if its within 30 days of joining they'll also refund any setup fees.

TalkTalk offer a 30-day Great Connection Guarantee, which allows superfast fibre customers to cancel their contract within 30 days penalty free, but no refunds are given.

Sky offer a better speed guarantee than TalkTalk, although both providers give a minimum speed and the option to walk away if they fail to deliver.


Broadband routers

Winner: TalkTalk offer a more advanced WiFi 6 router with their full fibre plans, while all Sky customers get the Sky Broadband Hub.

TalkTalk customers get either their WiFi Hub with superfast fibre plans, or an Amazon eero 6 router with full fibre plans.

Customers taking the faster Full Fibre 500 and Full Fibre 900 plans, get a Pro version of the eero 6 router.

All Sky broadband customers get the Sky Broadband Hub. Released in 2019 it's a dual-band WiFi 5 router, which while adequate, is starting to feel dated on faster full fibre connections.

Here are the main router specifications side-by-side:

Sky Broadband Hub TalkTalk WiFi Hub Amazon eero 6
WiFi protocol 5 5 6
WiFi band Dual band Dual band Dual band
Intelligent Mesh Yes No Yes
Security WPA2 WPA2 WPA3
Ethernet 4 x 1Gb 4 x 1Gb 2 x 1Gb

The Sky Broadband Hub and Amazon eero 6 routers both support mesh technology, and so can be seamlessly extended around larger homes or where customers are struggling with good wireless connectivity in every room.

However, TalkTalk don't offer a whole home WiFi guarantee like Sky does, although TalkTalk full fibre customers can purchase additional eero 6 routers to extend themselves.

For TalkTalk Faster Fibre customers who get the WiFi Hub, they'll only be able to extend their wireless network using older style repeaters or powerline adaptors, as the WiFi Hub doesn't support mesh.

TalkTalk offer the more advanced router for their full fibre customers, but the Sky Broadband Hub is better for those on superfast fibre connections, and comes with Sky's Wall-to-Wall WiFi guarantee which we look at next.

See how more provider routers compare side-by-side.


WiFi guarantee

Winner: Sky offer a whole home WiFi guarantee with their Broadband Boost service, while TalkTalk don't offer this service at all.

It's an easy win for Sky as they offer a Broadband Boost add-on, while TalkTalk customers don't have this option at all.

Sky launched their Broadband Boost service in September 2019, and it costs an extra £5 per month. For this, customers get a minimum wireless speed promise of 3Mb in every room in their home.

If they can't get this speed, Sky will refund the cost of the Broadband Boost subscription up to the end of the contract.

Along with a minimum wireless speed guarantee, customers who take Broadband Boost also get daily line-checks, free off-peak engineer visits, and 2GB of mobile data for a Sky Mobile plan if their fixed line connection goes down.

It's worth knowing that Sky customers who don't take Broadband Boost will get their Wall-to-Wall WiFi guarantee instead. This is free, and also promises at least 3Mb speeds in every room, and gives one month's free broadband subscription if it fails to deliver.

TalkTalk don't offer a whole home WiFi guarantee at all, although customers on full fibre plans can purchase additional Amazon eero 6 routers themselves to extend their network using mesh.


Call plans

Winner: Sky include a home phone line as standard on all their broadband packages, while TalkTalk Full Fibre customers don't have the option of one at all.

TalkTalk customers only get a home phone line with their Faster Fibre superfast plans. This comes with pay as you go calls, and customers can add one of three inclusive call plans.

Inclusive calls Monthly price
UK Evening & Weekend Calls UK landlines and mobiles 7pm-7am Mon-Fri and all weekend £10
Unlimited UK UK landlines and mobiles at any time £16
International Max 1500 landline and mobile minutes to 50 destinations £14

TalkTalk's out of allowance call charges are:

  • 24p per minute to UK landlines
  • 24p per minute to UK mobiles

Sky offer cheaper call plans than TalkTalk, and all customers get a home phone line included as standard, even full fibre customers.

Inclusive calls Monthly price
Talk Evenings & Weekends Extra UK landlines and mobiles 7pm-7am Mon-Fri and all weekend £5
Talk Anytime Extra UK landlines and mobiles at any time £12
Talk International Extra UK landlines and mobiles at any time, and landline calls to 50 destinations £14

Prices will increase to £5.75, £13.50, and £15.50 from 1st May 2023.

Sky's Talk Anytime Extra is cheaper than TalkTalk's Unlimited UK plan, and customers can also choose just off-peak calls if they want.

Sky's out of allowance call charges are:

  • 22p per minute to UK landlines
  • 22p per minute to UK mobiles
  • 25p connection charge for all chargeable calls

Sky calling rates are increasing to 25p per minute from 1st May 2023.

Overall, Sky are the better option for home phone as all broadband customers can have one, and the inclusive call plans are cheaper than with TalkTalk.


TV

Winner: Sky TV is a much more comprehensive TV service than TalkTalk TV, which is limited to either Netgem or Android TV platforms.

Sky TV is more premium TV offering than TalkTalk TV, and the new Sky Stream means even those who can't install or access a satellite dish can get the service.

Sky Q and Sky Stream can both be taken independently of Sky broadband, but customers do get a discount of around £5 per month over taking the services separately.

Package Broadband Monthly price Upfront price Contract term
TV Hub + Fibre 65 67Mb average £33 Free 18 months
offer Offer: NOW Entertainment just £4.99 for 12 months (was £9.99) + NOW Boost free + Free setup and P&P
Sky TV + Broadband Superfast 61Mb average £40 Free 18 months

While TalkTalk TV is cheaper than Sky TV, the service is much more limited, being access to smart boxes and whichever on-demand apps are supported.

This paired down version may well suit households who primarily watch Netflix or Prime Video, but for those who want premium channel packs like Sky Entertainment, Sky Cinema and Sky Sports, they'll need to opt for Sky.

Read more in our TalkTalk TV review and our Sky TV review.


Customer service

Winner: Sky have a market-leading customer service record, with the lowest complaints in the industry, easily outperforming TalkTalk.

Our most recent analysis of broadband customer service found Sky to be the best broadband provider for customer service, thanks mainly to their consistently low complaint levels.

TalkTalk on the other hand have struggled in the past with customer complaints and satisfaction levels, with the second most complaints in January 2023's report.

Here are some key customer service metrics for Sky and TalkTalk:

Sky TalkTalk
Satisfaction with overall service 84% 78%
Satisfaction with speed of service 82% 73%
Satisfaction with complaints handling 54% 43%
Customers with a reason to complain 16% 21%
Complaints resolved on first contact 40% 33%
Complaints per 100,000 customers Q1-Q3 2022 11 50
Average call waiting time 2 minutes, 17 seconds 1 minute, 2 seconds

Aside from being quick to answer the phone, TalkTalk struggle to meet Sky's performance for customer service and satisfaction metrics.

TalkTalk also typically score less than the industry average, while Sky typically score higher than average.

Ofcom also found Sky was likely to be recommended in 2021, while TalkTalk customers were less likely to recommend their provider.

It's also worth noting that TalkTalk use overseas call centres, while Sky's call centres are all located in the UK.

Overall, if customer service is important to you, Sky are the better choice over TalkTalk.


Special offers

Both Sky and TalkTalk offer special offers to customers as an incentive for signing up. These can be discounts on monthly costs or set-up fees, for example.

Here are their current deals:

Offer Terms

Sky Ultrafast Broadband just £29/mth for 18 months

18 month minimum term. £5 setup fee.(Refundable setup fee for new customers if applicable). £46/mth after 18 months. Prices may change during the contract period.


Sky Stream Entertainment + Netflix just £23/mth with free setup (worth £39.95)

Hurry! Offer ends 20 June 2024

18 month minimum term. No setup fee. £28/mth after 18 months. Prices may change during the contract period.


Sky Glass with Sky Entertainment & Netflix from just £37 per month

Hurry! Offer ends 13 June 2024

48 month minimum term on Sky Glass. 18 month minimum term on Sky TV. Sky Entertainment & Netflix £28/mth after 18 months. £10 setup fee. Prices may change during the contract period.

Offer Terms

TalkTalk full fibre broadband from just £29 per month for months.

18 month minimum term. No setup fee. Monthly price will rise annually by CPI + 3.7% in April.


NOW Entertainment just £4.99 a month for 12 months with TalkTalk TV and broadband

18 month minimum term on broadband (required). Monthly-rolling contract on TV.


Verdict: Sky or TalkTalk broadband?

Overall winner: TalkTalk are working towards becoming a more premium provider, but for now Sky win due to cheaper superfast pricing and their excellent customer services record.

Sky is a more premium broadband provider compared to TalkTalk, although TalkTalk arguably offer a better full fibre product.

Sky outperform TalkTalk in several ways:

  • Excellent customer service record with low complaints
  • Home phone line included as standard with all broadband plans
  • Discounts for bundling premium Sky TV
  • Competitive pricing, only marginally higher than TalkTalk

There's some limitation around Sky full fibre plans however, with the provider currently pausing sales on their Gigafast package until network improvements have been made. In addition, they only offer fast full fibre customers a 2019 WiFi 5 router.

TalkTalk still have some strings to their bow, including:

  • Gigabit-capable full fibre broadband package
  • Wider full fibre availability over both the Openreach and CityFibre network
  • The latest WiFi 6 router available with all full fibre packages
  • Marginally cheaper prices than Sky

It's worth noting that while TalkTalk's pricing is cheaper at the introductory level, Sky implement cheaper annual price rises, so could work out costing less over the life of a contract.

TalkTalk is a budget provider moving towards offering a more premium service, and their low prices will appeal to some, however Sky's competitive pricing is also matched with their unrivalled customer service which makes them our provider of choice in this head-to-head.

Read more head-to-head guides including Sky vs Virgin Media and Sky vs BT broadband.

Comments

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