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Sky: Stuff your quad play – customers want separate bills

Media titan's radical idea for mobile network

Sky had a few surprises when it unveiled its new mobile network this week. Rather than half-heartedly selling its network as a second-class bolt-on to Sky's 11 million existing TV and broadband customers, Sky Mobile is going to be a feisty, consumer-friendly MVNO in its own right.

Features of Sky Mobile will include rolling data over into a "piggybank" – where you can use it at any point in the next three years – and only paying for the data you use. Although contracts are 12 months minimum, you can move between data plans. Tariffs are 1GB for £10, 3GB for £15 and 5GB for £20. O2 is the wholesale network.

Of course Sky's existing customers will get some unique features, such as offline recording of Sky+ shows, and unlimited calls and texts.

But the most obvious attraction is hidden in plain sight. Kysha Gibson, telecoms and media director at consultancy firm Baringa Partners, said: "Sky's decision not to go down the integrated quad-play bill route also shows an understanding that many customers like separate bills, especially given each household is likely to have multiple mobile accounts."

This is interesting. It bucks the conventional wisdom that consumers are zombies, who always choose the path of least resistance. The UK mobile market is actually pretty competitive, often at the expense of quality. (You get what you pay for. Prices are relatively lower than in Europe, but so is capex on mobile infrastructure.)

Whether Sky can execute on its promises remains to be seen. But we should be celebrating as another Zombie Theory bites the dust. ®


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