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Sky vs Virgin Media review: Which is best?

It’s the battle of the broadband and TV big hitters. It’s hard to pick a winner when it comes to Sky and Virgin, such is the quality of their offerings when it comes to broadband speeds and breadth of their TV offerings. So, which one should you go with? Read our Sky vs Virgin review and we’ll help you decide.

Sky vs Virgin Media: At a glance

Sky

Virgin Media

Can I get ADSL?

Yes, average speeds of 11Mbps

No

Can I get superfast fibre?

Yes, average speeds of 35Mbps and 59Mbps

Yes, average speeds of 54Mbps

Can I get ultrafast fibre?

Yes, average speeds up to 900Mbps

Yes, average speeds up to 1,130Mbps

Download limit

No

No

TV

Yes, premium channels through Sky Q, Sky Glass, and Sky Stream

Yes, with Virgin 360 set top box

Do I have to have a landline?

With ADSL and standard fibre, yes; with full fibre, no

No

Sky vs Virgin Media: Cost

Sky and Virgin prices are broadly in the same range. Both do cost a premium against some other providers, but with the inescapable fact that both offer superb speeds and the best TV bundles in the business.

However, Virgin Media tends to offer faster speeds for similar outlay. At the time of writing, Virgin’s 264Mbps M250 Fibre Broadband is available for £29 per month on an 18 month deal. Sky’s 145Mbps is available for £30 per month for 18 months. (Use our comparison tool to check the current prices, of course.)

Both Sky and Virgin offer vouchers and free gifts as enticements to sign up. So keep an eye out for such offers as this may be enough to sway you either way.

Online exclusive Superfast Broadband
New customers only Offer ends 02/02/2023
New customers only
New customers only
Online exclusive Ultrafast Broadband
New customers only Offer ends 02/02/2023
Online exclusive Broadband Ultrafast Plus
New customers only Offer ends 02/02/2023

*Average speeds are based on the download speeds of at least 50% of customers at peak time(8pm to 10pm). Speed can be affected by a range of technical and environmental factors. The speed you receive where you live may be lower than that listed above. You can check the estimated speed to your property prior to purchasing.

New customers only
New customers only
New customers only
New customers only
New customers only

*Average speeds are based on the download speeds of at least 50% of customers at peak time(8pm to 10pm). Speed can be affected by a range of technical and environmental factors. The speed you receive where you live may be lower than that listed above. You can check the estimated speed to your property prior to purchasing.

Sky vs Virgin Media: Average broadband speeds

Virgin Media has long been the market leader when it comes to broadband speeds in the UK. And while Sky is fast catching up thanks to the advent of full fibre in a number of major towns and cities, if it’s speed you need then Virgin is the way to go.

Its offerings range from an entry level 54Mbps for its M50 service, right through to its cutting edge Gig 1 service, that delivers 1,130Mbps. In between you’ll find plans that offer speeds of 132Mbps, 264Mbps, 362Mbps and 512Mbps, all of which are more than enough for day to day use around the home, even if you have a lot of people and gadgets to get online.

Sky has slower, more affordable ADSL and standard fibre contracts, with speeds of 11Mbps, 36Mbps and 59Mbps. Its full fibre 500Mbps and 900Mbps are great, but are not as widely available as ultrafast plans from Virgin.

Such fast speeds are really only necessary for those who stream a lot or download games. But if that’s you, then Virgin is probably the way to go.

Sky vs Virgin Media: Broadband packages review

Sky and Virgin both offer a very broad range of broadband packages, designed to meet all kinds of needs.

Sky’s Essential Plus service, at 11Mbps, is designed for those who just need the basics, without the speed of fibre. Meanwhile, its Superfast packages work across the UK and complete the journey into the home via older copper wiring, meaning basic fibre for all who need it.

Virgin’s packages are priced at around the same point as Sky, but the speeds available are far snappier. Its basic M50 plan serves up 54Mbps, and with a range of lightning fast packages beyond that, its plans are perhaps a bit more enticing for households where connecting multiple devices at once is key. Think consoles, set top boxes and smart home kit and you get the picture.

You’ll need a landline with Sky broadband if you take out a ADSL or Superfast plan, but not with Virgin.

Each provider offers plans on 18 month contracts, although those in search of maximum flexibility can take out a one month rolling deal with Virgin.

Sky vs Virgin Media: Phone

Sky and Virgin both offer pay as you go calls on their landlines as standard. However, Virgin stands out for the fact you can make free UK landline calls at the weekend, as well as free calls to Virgin mobile numbers. If you want to do so with Sky, you’ll need to pay for an additional bolt-on.

You don’t need to take out a landline if you sign up with Virgin, which is a nice little bonus – though skipping it doesn’t always work out cheaper.

Sky vs Virgin Media: TV

This is where Sky and Virgin really come into their own. Sky has long ruled the roost when it comes to pay TV and the fact you can bundle its superb offering with its broadband makes it very appealing. Sky Q offers 4K streaming (although you’ll need a 4K TV to take advantage) and has access to hundreds of channels, with sports and movie packages available.

Virgin’s excellent 360 box serves up access to hundreds of channels and 4K as well. You can access streaming platforms via each box, but will need to pay separately in order to watch them.

Sky vs Virgin Media: Fibre offering

Sky is certainly upping its game when it comes to fibre. While its Superfast fibre service is available everywhere thanks to the fact it uses the Openreach network to reach you, its Ultrafast plans are still limited to places where full fibre is available.

Virgin Media doesn’t use Openreach, and as a result, its plans aren’t quite as widely available. However, its top speeds are more widespread around the UK, thanks to Virgin leading the charge and using its own network. If you want the very best speeds, then Virgin is more likely to have what you need. Use our postcode checker to find out.

Download limits

There are no download limits with Sky or Virgin, so you can get as many movies, games and tunes as you need without speeds being throttled.

Sky vs Virgin Media: Extras

Because of Virgin’s merger with O2, there are tons of great deals on SIMs, with some broadband bundles offering inclusive mobile plans.

Sky often has deals with vouchers for the likes of Amazon, so keep an eye out if you’re looking to make the switch.

Sky vs Virgin Media: Customer service

The latest Ofcom report shows that Virgin Media came out with just 78% overall customer satisfaction, compared with 84% for Sky. Virgin had much longer call waiting times, too. If customer service is a key concern, then Sky appears to be the better option in this case.

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