Sky’s TV and broadband customers will soon be able to buy a mobile phone from the firm.
The satellite TV giant has signed a wholesale agreement with Telefónica UK, owners of O2, to offer 2G, 3G and 4G services to its customers.
Today’s deal comes after BT, Sky’s biggest home phone and broadband rival, announced plans to buy EE and become a quad play service offering TV, mobile, broadband and home phone on a single bill.
Sky says its first mobile services will launch in 2016.
Chief Executive Jeremy Darroch said: “Through our partnership with Telefónica UK, we can build on our expertise in content, innovation and service to launch a range of exciting new services and exploit the opportunities for growth in the fast-changing mobile sector.”
Ronan Dunne, Chief Executive of Telefónica UK, added: “We’re pleased to welcome Sky to our roster of innovative, successful partnerships, through which we help partners grow their offer to customers.
“Sky understands the importance of a strong network and excellent customer experience and has made us a trusted partner to help deliver brilliant services.
“This will widen consumer choice still further and demonstrates the lively competitiveness of the UK market. We’re looking forward to working with Sky.”
Last week Telefónica confirmed it was in talks with Hutchison Whampoa, owner of Three, to sell it’s UK operations.
That deal would reduce the number of UK networks to just three, potentially creating competition concerns and pushing up prices for consumers and virtual network operators.
The arrival of Sky in the mobile sector could help keep prices down should it decide to offer low-cost tariffs and bundles to rapidly build a significant user-base.
“Sky TV currently has 62% of the British consumer pay TV market which gives it a huge existing customer base for its new mobile service. By doing a deal with O2, Sky is now able to offer a full quad play package and has safeguarded itself against the likes of Talk Talk and the impending BT/EE partnership.
“For companies such as Vodafone this move further reinforces the need to forge their own alliances or be left out in this rapidly-changing landscape,” said Imran Choudhary, consumer insight director at Kantar Worldpanel