Airship

Sky to Launch Mobile Services in 2016

Tim Maytom

woman on phone in living roomSky is set to enter the mobile market, adding voice and data services to its customer offering following a multi-year deal with Telefónica UK that will see the broadcaster become a mobile virtual network operator.

The partnership sees Sky given full access to Telefónica's 2G, 3G and 4G services, adding to its existing broadband, fixed line and television businesses and transforming the company into a quad-play provider. Sky is currently the UK's most popular triple-play provider, with almost 40 per cent of its customer base using its TV, telephony and broadband services together.

Sky already has an existing mobile TV service, Sky Go, with over 5.5m registered users, 70 live channels and a wide range of On Demand content. However, it has not confirmed whether subscription to Sky Go will form part of its core network proposition.

"As the UK's leading brand for home entertainment and communications, Sky has a proven ability to launch new services, at scale," said Jeremy Darroch, group chief executive of Sky. "We know our 11.5m customers trust Sky to offer them the best quality and choice and have an appetite to take more from us. Through our partnership with Telefónica UK, we can build on our expertise and exploit the opportunities for growth in the fast-changing mobile sector."

The deal is likely to have an impact on Sky's bid to purchase Telefónica's O2 network, which the firm is currently considering alongside similar offers by Hutchison Whampoa and TalkTalk. If the deal guarantees Sky will retain its mobile virtual network even if O2 is sold, it may well remove itself from the bidding, but this new partnership may also strengthen it's prospects in the current three-way fight.