Media giant Sky has reacted to BT gaining a foothold in the TV sports market, by offering free broadband to customers who also purchase Sky Sports.
Anyone taking a Sky Sports TV package will get 12 months free Sky broadband or six months free Sky Fibre Unlimited superfast broadband (£20 a month thereafter).
The move comes after rival BT announced that its new BT Sport television package would be available to watch free of charge for all BT broadband customers.
Dominic Baliszewski, telecoms expert at broadbandchoices.co.uk, said: "On the face of it, BT and Sky are offering opposing deals – BT offer free sports content with your broadband, whilst Sky are offering free broadband with your Sports content. However, customers will need to do their homework if they want to make the most of these offers and choose a package that suits their needs."
In early-May, BT said its five million broadband customers will be able to watch premiership football and rugby - as well as numerous other sports - for free on the new BT channels from next season.
The standard cost for BT's basic broadband package is £10 a month, rising to £15 a month for fibre optic, or £16 a month for unlimited broadband. Non-BT broadband customers can sign up for the new channels for £12 a month for standard definition or £15 a month for HD - though they will, of course, have to also pay their current broadband provider's fees on top.
The cheapest bundle that includes Sky Sports would cost consumers £42.50 a month (the basic TV package at £21.50 a month plus Sky Sports channels at £21 a month on top).
|BROADBAND PRODUCT||SKY BROADBAND OFFERS||BT STANDARD PRICING FOR PEOPLE OUTSIDE MINIMUM TERM|
|Unlimited DSL broadband|| Sky Sports customers: |
Free for 12 months £14.50/month line rental
Sky TV customers without Sky Sports:
£3.75/month £14.50/month line rental
Non-Sky TV customers:
£5/month £14.50/month line rental
No activation charge
|£16/month £15.45/month line rental|
|12 month comparison*|| Sky Sports customers: £174 ||£377.40|
|Unlimited Fibre broadband|| Sky Sports customers: |
Free for six months, currently £20/month thereafter £14.50/month line rental
Sky TV & Non-Sky TV customers:
£10/month for six months, currently £20/month thereafter £14.50/month line rental
|£23/month £15.45/month line rental|
|12 month comparison*|| Sky Sports customers: £294 ||£461.40|
All savings calculated over a 12 month period for BT Broadband customer on an existing contract (outside minimum term) moving to Sky Broadband.
All Sky Broadband costs over 12 months include £2.18 router delivery charge.
It means even Sky’s lowest-priced sports bundle is more expensive than BT’s, but Baliszewski says consumers should remember the range of content that Sky offers.
"Sky still has the most comprehensive sports TV coverage on the market and for a lot of sports-mad fans that is the most important thing," he said. "That being said, customers who have shunned sports packages because of the expense now have a viable alternative in BT that will give them a dose of sporting action when they need it."
However, consumers should also bear in mind that Sky has recently added a warning to its terms and conditions that states: "Sky TV prices will increase on 1 September. In accordance with our standard terms, prices may rise by up to 10% in the initial contract term."