UK broadcaster Sky will later this month significantly increase competition in the country’s mobile market by finally launching its own MVNO called Sky Mobile.

Pre-registration for the service, which piggybacks on Telefonica O2’s network, starts 31 October.

Sky Mobile was announced by Stephen van Rooyen, Sky’s CEO of UK and Ireland, at the company’s investor day.

He said the broadcaster has a track record of cross-selling products to its subscribers: ten years ago, the average Sky customer had just over one service compared to more than three services today. And mobile represents Sky’s largest adjacent sector, he added.

Sky announced its intention to launch an MVNO in February 2015, at which point it said the launch date would be this year.

Multi-play package
This is the last element to fill out a formidable multi-play package from Sky: it has a powerful content offering, centred on its sports coverage, and boasts about being the UK’s number two broadband player.

Adding mobile to the mix pits Sky in a battle royale most obviously against BT/EE, with whom it has a strong rivalry in sports rights, but also Virgin Media.

Showing entertainment, movies and sports across multiple devices will clearly be a key battleground for the rivals, and poses tricky questions for the UK’s other mobile operators: Vodafone, 3 UK and Telefonica O2.

Sky’s van Rooyen listed the MVNO’s strengths as trusted brand; propositions suited to customer needs; scale investment – “with the right balance of investment in our own network”; Go-to-market capabilities that mean Sky can upsell and cross-sell at scale; and customer management that is “second to none”.

According to its own research, Sky homes account for nearly 50 per cent of UK mobile contract subscribers. And two thirds of its customers would consider taking Sky Mobile.