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ISP Sky Broadband Prep New Router and Future 5G Mobile Launch

Thursday, July 26th, 2018 (8:10 am) - Score 9,571

Sky (Sky Broadband) has released their latest results to the end of June 2018 (financial Q4 17/18), which reveals that “Fibre” (FTTC) penetration has risen to 38% (up from 33% six months ago) of their UK broadband base. Plus they’re planning an early Sky Mobile launch of 5G and have a new broadband router coming.

Sadly Sky no longer includes a breakdown of their broadband figures, although we estimate that they have a total base in the UK and Ireland of around 6.2 million (out of 13 million total retail customers). The latest report does at least offer a hint: “We added 270,000 new customers this year, including 20,000 in Q4. We grew total products by 2.7 million, including 290,000 new TV products taking our total TV customer base to 11.7 million. Fibre penetration increased to 38% of our broadband customers, up from 27% a year ago, and Sky Mobile is now taken by over half a million subscribers, after adding 95,000 in Q4.”

Today’s update is similarly vague about their previously announced plans for a Sky TV without a satellite dish service (i.e. an IP / broadband based TV service that will offer much more than the limited NOW TV product), which has so far only been confirmed for Italy and Austria. Still no word on the UK launch.

On top of that they’ve yet to join BT and TalkTalk in offering a G.fast based “ultrafast broadband” product and the latest update makes no mention of it. However the media and telecoms giant has said that they “aim to offer more customers faster download speeds and a better all-round experience” and as part of that they’re preparing to launch a “next generation router in the UK with enhanced Wifi capabilities.”

At present Sky Broadband’s top router is their Sky Q Hub, which was launched all the way back at the end of 2015 and is still a fairly capable piece of kit. On the other hand it’s starting to look a little weak next to the latest routers from BT and TalkTalk. Likewise the Q Hub was always a bit hobbled by only having 2 x Gigabit Ethernet (LAN) ports on the back. We will try to get some details on the new router as soon as possible.

In addition, Sky has extended their existing 4G based Sky Mobile partnership as a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) with Telefonica UK (O2). As part of that they’ve also agreed to “cooperate on the testing and launch of 5G, including a 5G test bed.” As a result Sky said their customers will “get access to 5G as soon as it is launched by Telefónica,” which is rare for an MVNO.

Jeremy Darroch, Group Chief Executive, said:

“In the UK and Ireland, our largest market, we’ve delivered an excellent operational and financial performance whilst scaling our new initiatives. In Germany and Austria, we have comprehensively upgraded all our services as part of our plans for sustained long-term growth in what is Europe’s largest TV market. In Italy, we’ve had a ground-breaking year, opening up significant new growth opportunities for our business by offering new services over DTT and fibre, allowing us to reach new segments of the market.

Alongside this, we’ve put in place further building blocks for future growth. We’ve secured more exclusive coverage of major sports events for our customers and our investment in Sky original productions is being widely recognised by customers and critics alike. We’ve rolled out Sky Q to all our major territories meaning a growing number of customers can enjoy the benefits of Europe’s best home entertainment service, and our agreements with Netflix, Mediaset, BT and Spotify will further enhance and extend our customer offer.”

Part of the reason for Sky’s somewhat stalled movement in UK broadband is perhaps due to a lack of direction, which may stem from the current bidding war to buy the company that is being fought by American giants Comcast, 21st Century Fox and Disney (here). However, as we recently reported, the prospects of Comcast winning the bid have just increased substantially (here).

Admittedly Sky’s position in the UK is not the same everywhere. For example, they recently launched a 1Gbps Sky Fibre product in Ireland and they’ve partnered with Open Fiber in Italy to build a new Fibre-to-the-Home (FTTH) broadband network, which is due to launch from Summer 2019.

On the financial front Sky UK and Ireland saw their churn fall to 10.3% (down from 11.5% last year), while their Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) fell from £47 to £45 over the same period. Meanwhile FY18 revenue stood at £8,931m (up from £8,600m in FY17) and EBITDA reached £1,888m (up from £1,739m last year).

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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
Leave a Comment
5 Responses
  1. Avatar Ray Woodward

    Presumably this new router will the see the rollout of WPA3 …

    • Avatar un4h731x0rp3r0m

      Highly unlikely WPA3 seeing as that is not due in any significant number of devices until mid 2019 at the earliest. And only likely to have ramped up into the market come mid-late 2020.

      Also pointless having it unless you are going to upgrade all your wireless devices to WPA3 capable ones.

  2. Avatar Mike

    Wish they’d drop O2 or buy them out and make them better, they really do suck at the moment.

  3. Avatar Tim

    O2’s 4G is pants in terms of speed. Probably better than EE for indoor coverage though.

    I don’t hold much hope for good 5G coverage when the frequencies are higher (therefore don’t go as far or through walls as well).

    • Avatar TomD

      I think you are getting mixed up with the terms used. The 5g MOBILE service has nothing to do with 5g WIFI and is not restricted by obstructions. 5g Mobile is much faster and allows far more connections than the existing 4g Standard.

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