Do I really need a phone line with Sky Digital?

Way back in 2004 i posed the question, Do I need a phoneline for Sky Digital? and I can confirm that yes, you do need to keep your Sky box connected for the term of the contract, usually the first year.

Last January I purchased a Sky+ subscription with the multi-room option. I didn’t connect the second box to the phone, mainly because it’s upstairs and I never got around to stringing a phone line to that room. Then, sometime during the last year the phone line to the living room died so both boxes were offline. Oops.

Sky contacted me several times, I bought 2 phoneline extension cables but there was always something more interesting to do than fix a phone line. Fancy that eh?

Last week Sky sent me this letter saying, “sadly, your entitlement to Multiroom pricing has been lost” unless I reconnect the boxes to the phone and ring them.

I’ve been on hold to Sky for the last 32 minutes, only another 30 minutes to go..

letter from sky

44 thoughts on “Do I really need a phone line with Sky Digital?

  1. An old work colleague called Franco Botti, eerrm Italian, ordered something over the phone a few years ago. The package turned up at work addressed to Frank O’Botty.

  2. I think they’re finally going to correct my name but they said that before too! I have to call again in 2 days to confirm that everything is ok again.

  3. I have Sky – not sure if its digital or not, but I’ve got a dish, and 800 crap channels. When it was being installed I left it connected to the phone line for a week but then unplugged it – I didn’t want the children pressing the red button and costing me a fortune. Sky haven’t noticed.

  4. Sarah – do you have Sky+? I had Sky Digital for a year and it was unplugged for most of that time. They didn’t complain but maybe when it’s sky+ and multiroom they take it more seriously.

  5. No, an active telephone is not required (any longer) for standard Sky boxes as long as a manual payment of £25 is made.

    Please note that this does not apply to Sky+/HD.


  6. I feel someone should complain to the telecoms regulator about sky forcing their subscribers to connect to a telephone line.

  7. Hey andy kim, have you conmpoained yet?
    I agree with you actually, there is no technical need for the phone line if you dont want or need it. Have you thought of buying the sky boxes online and then have sky connect you up? I was told that if the boxes belong to you then there is no need for the phone line. I have not had a phone line for years now. I use VIOP at home and pay as you go mobile and WIMAX internet connection.

  8. I am in process of signing up for sky multiroom. To connect to my phone will involve a huge amount of cabling because of layout of house. Sky tell me that I can get around this by buying a “remote telephone connection” Does anybody know where in Ireland I can get one of these. I have drawn a blank with Power City and D.I.D.

  9. telephone Extenders can be bought from maplins, its the oneforall SV1550
    although they do say that sky+ boxes before feb07 will have issues, normal boxes ok, you ca always search for phone jack on ebay, they look the same

  10. I had Sky and instantly disconnected it form the phone line, I later upgraded to Sky+ and the minute the engineer left I unplugged the phone line again. It’s now a year later and Sky haven’t said a word about it. Maybe I’ve just been lucky?

  11. recently i got reconected to sky and also wanted to upgrade to multiroom, sky were seting me up over the phone and had everything sorted untill the guy askes me if i have a phone line, i said no and never had an active phoneline ,he said i MUST hava an active phone line for multiroom. Anyway i went with the single box which i had problems with so sky sent out an engineer who fixed it and he said i DID NOT need a phone line.

  12. I feeling a wee bit better after reading the above post and comments. I am getting sky digital, need to get phone line set up – there is a problem with the phone line and Sky digital is coming in two days- my question is, if anyone cares to answer, can sky digital be set up if I don’t have a an active phone line on the day they install Sky digital?

  13. i recently moved into a new house 2 months back and we exchanged our sky to our new house, when they came we didnt have our phoneline installed and they installed the box perfectly, but when they came to install the fone they installed it on the other side of the house, i recently inquired about sky multi room and they said it will cost me 54 pounds each room and that they would send someone out if i definatly wanted it, so maybe you wont need a phoneline for multi room just the dish signal. the phoneline you just need for sky box office or games ect

  14. I had sky and moved to sky+. When sky came they asked me did I have a phoneline and I said yes and they installed it fine. Then when the installer went I left the phoneline connected to the Sky+ and they did not contact me after that. But that they sent a letter saying that I would be charged €1, but that is not much. But they said that I can use Remote need to connect to a phoneline but I had had a sky digibox and was connected to the phoneline and the min the installer had left I pluged out the phoneline until I got sky+ there had been No letters from sky about phonelines ever since. But they told me to keep the Sky digibox for multiroom so I would not have to buy another Sky Digibox and now I have just Sky+ and don’t know If I should get Multiroom as I can record 2 things at once. I went online at and registered My Sky for Remote Record and it said that they could not see if I had Sky in my house and now I am going to phone sky about that. I am being posted lots of magazines from sky and I don’t really read them. I am getting advertisements from sky about sky+ when I have it. Does Anyone know how to stop this, but still have Sky+?

  15. the reason that sky insist on a landline for multiroom is that lots of people ordered mulitroom for the extra sky box then gave it to their neighbour for them to get sky also. THe landline is to make sure that the multiroom box stays connected to the correct landline so that wont be conned anymore!!! im in the ntl trap at the moment and cant get sky + without a landline. they have no bother setting up ordinary sky but kjust not sky+ or multiroom

  16. I have just spent an age on the phone with sky, signing up to Sky+ and when the question of the phone line came up, I dug my heels in a bit.. asked how much data usage they had on my line. They tried to say that periodically the box would be updated over the line… so I wanted to know how much and how often.

    They eventually put me on to a manager, who told me the reason…

    In order to offer the sky box at a subsidised price, they have done a deal with someone “Interactive Digital Services” or something like that.. these people pay sky, for having users just one click away from buying things through their tv. This payment to sky is conditional on it enforcing that users are plugged in and ready to click the red button. So Sky’s heavy handed tactics to ensure you are connected to the phone line, is to keep this contract with the third party.

    The manager confirmed that only a single pulse is sent on the phone line, once a month, to confirm compliance.. not data is sent/received.

    He generously gave me the option of paying £25 to have a ‘manual’ installation which was more work for the engineer, but would mean I wouldn’t need to keep it connected.
    I refused, but will sniff the traffic and setup something on my network to send the pulse without the sky box being plugged in!


  17. Thanks Andy. I’m not surprised that’s the reason for the phone line. Wouldn’t it be so easy if they actually told us, their customers, that?

  18. 2 reasons for phone lines with Sky. I don’t know why they aren’t transparent about this, because I’ve no problem with either.

    1st is because the box is subsidised by a marketing company, as andy has said. If you don’t want that subsidy, fine, you don’t have to take it. Sky, Sky+ and Sky HD can all be installed without a phone line once you pay the subsidy difference. Yes, Sky could have been more upfront about this, but then most people simply do not give a damn and prefer to save the €35 charge, including myself.

    2nd is for Sky Multiroom subscriptions (where you get a second or subsequent box that shows all the Sky channels you have, including premium channels, that you have on your main/first Sky box) for €15/month. The phone line is required to make sure you’re not farming off the subsidised box to your neighbours/friends/English cousins/Tenerife holiday home (which happens to be a bar). Fair enough. If you subscribe to Sky Movies or Sports, you’ll know that that is a pretty decent subsidy. Again, if you don’t want he subsidy, no problem. Just pay for a separate Sky box instead.

    Updates are done over the air on all modern Sky boxes, and not over the telephone. Multiroom boxes phone home on demand (random times, to make sure all are still connected to the same phone line) and are to a freephone number (and usually in off-peak times to avoid clash with phone use).

    For all other uses of the phoneline (both paid, and freephone) you’re clearly advised of the charge before going online.

    I haven’t heard of anyone getting letters from Sky for disconnecting Sky, Sky+, Sky HD (in the first year, as per contract), but I have heard of plenty of letters for Multiroom boxes not being connected (which is more serious, I guess).

  19. I think that the terms and conditions involving you getting a subsidised box in return for the phone line is in your Sky contract. I believe it is referred to as an “Interactive Discount” or “Interactive Subsidy”. I *think* the company who gives you the discount is a subsidiary or sister company of SSSL, the company who supplies you with your Sky subscription 😉

    The sky box calls in once a month, usually in the middle of the night, and to a 0800 (UK) / 1800 (Ireland) number. It identifies itself to Sky and then hangs up – from what I remember, the call takes less than a minute.

    Of course, once you are out of your 12 month minimum term, you can disconnect the box from the phone and Sky will have no problem with it. The only exception to this is Multiroom – the reasons for the phone line connection is twofold; the discount as above, and of course, to make sure that your “second room” isn’t actually John down the road who just wants a cheap Sky subscription through you!!

  20. I’ve had sky multiroom for the last few years, and never had either box connected to the phone line. I’m expecting Sky+ HD today, and now I’m required to have a line for BOTH boxes (the multiroom box is an normal box). Could this stop me from using the sky card in my camper when I go on holidays?

  21. Your Multiroom contract explicitly requires all boxes connected to the same phone-line at all times (not just the 1st year). That you don’t is your own business. There are mixed stories on how effectively Sky enforce this (and not charge you the full subscription rate for the subsequent boxes), but 1 thing is common and that’s that you usually get a letter from Sky warning you before they take action.

    So only you can decide if it’s worth the risk to bring it on the camper (the risk being slapped with a bill for the subsequent box(es) subsidised portion of the subscription, which might be significant if you have movies or sports). I take my card for weekend trips, and have had phone line issues for week-long periods. I still take my card in the comfort (however ill-informed it may be) of at least getting a warning letter from Sky.

    You’ll get much better and broader advice on Digital Spy or

  22. I have Sky+ at the moment and wanted to get multiroom, i have the spare box from the old subsciption, do i need a card for this extra box and how do i connect it up to the dish? I have had many problems with Sky over the years and feel annoyed that new customers pay half the price for multiroom than customers who have been with them for years.

  23. Jon, this is probably not the best place for Sky support (try or

    If you want Sky Multiroom (€15/month sub that gives you all the Sky channels you have on your main box on your 2nd/subsequent box), then you’ll need a card alright. Sky will send out another card if you sign up to Multiroom (and don’t normally charge for it). Given that you have Sky+ already, it is likely you already have a quad-LNB (4 outputs). 2 go to the Sky+ box, and 2 spare. You need to connect your second box to one of those spare outputs. If this is all double-dutch, you should have a local installer do it for you (€50-€100+ depending on complexity).

    If you just want the free-to-air channels (BBCs, etc.), you can still connect the box, as above, but don’t need to contact Sky / pay for the Multiroom subscription.

  24. I dont know if im missing something here but im sure you need to connect the box to a phone line as thats how it sends your info to SKY, e.g when you purchase a film etc… A while ago there was a trick where the card would hold some credit and you could order PPV and use the credit on the card and never connect the box to the line and they wouldnt know, so I think they force you to keep it connected now to make sure your not getting away with anything 🙂

  25. Sky (including Sky+ SkyHD) with no Multiroom doesn’t *require* a phone line to be connected (but you pay an additional install fee of €35(ish) ). You can avoid that additional fee by agreeing to connect the Sky box to the phone line for 1 year.

    Sky with Multiroom requires all boxes be connected to the same phone line (at all times, not just the 1st year), so that Sky can make sure all boxes on a given subscription are in the same building and you haven’t loaned them out to friends, neighbours, etc.

  26. Hi All, many thanks for all the info above.

    I have a question for the Sky boffins out there…I have moved to Vienna Austria where friendsare able to receive the Astra 2D satellite that Sky runs on. Im trying to think of a way to get sky here. My parents (who have Sky+) have said that they are happy to order a new box for multiroom and send it over to me along with the card. but having read the above i dont think it would work.

    Does anyone have any suggestions as to how i can get sky here? I miss the movies and the football!!!!

    Many thanks

  27. I moved recently and I was going to cancellsky as there is not a great on now days only fringe and new stargate which is not to bad.
    when I said to them at sky I was not having it of corse they changed my mind as it was only £30 and then I could take it out and put a fre HD box on the sat.
    the Engineer put phone lead in set it up then pulled phone line out said if its in the way dony bother unless you want to order a film.
    I have moved about 4 times in the last 15 odd years and all of them I havent keept the phone line in,
    and I am sure there is a package sky do where you dont have phone as there are people all over spain france, and my mum lives in North Cyprus and she only has mobile and no land lines there I kmow they only have the sport channel but her husbands brother a few miles away so I am there are ways around it its just who you know.

  28. I have noticed something very bizarre when my Sky+ is plugged into the phone… I received a call from Sky trying to sell me their protection policy for Sky – I politely declined as I didn’t feel it was worth the money. Within 2 days of this, I suddenly started having a wealth of programs fail during the recording. This was a regular occurence. My girlfriend joked that Sky were doing it, to ensure we pay for the insurance – she said I should unplug it from the phone line. Just to prove that it wasn’t Sky, I unplugged it…….. the errors miraculously stopped!!!

    I forgot about this for a month or so, then when X Factor Final was on, my g/f wanted to vote (I know, I know, you don’t have to say anything). I plugged the phone line back in……………… within 2 weeks of this, my sky box started freezing (needing to be turned off at the mains) and my recording failures started happening again!!

    I have now unplugged it from the phone and miraculousl, my box is fixed and my recordings are fine and dandy.

    Coincidence? Methinks not… In the word of Kurt Cobain…Just because you’re paranoid, don’t mean they’re not after you!!

  29. Strange isn’t it I’ve been with Sky for over two years now and never had my phone line plugged in, When the first engineer installed my dish and box, I wanted him to take a BT extension round the side of my house so my Sky Box could be connected to the BT line as my BT socket is in the kitchen, I told Sky this when I ordered it and they said the engineer will do it,
    Never happened,
    And when I upgraded to Sky HD, same again,
    You only need the line to order a film they said?
    I’ve had Sky trying to sell me insurance for both boxes and I’ve told them If any of the boxes to break when the 12 month warranties expire I’ll just get rid and go over Virgin,
    No problem at all from them, No letters or anything for not having my box connected,
    I do like Sky never had a problem with them:-)

  30. We’ve been with sky forever and had multi room for at least 4 years. Now they are threatening to double the charge of the multi room price if we don’t plug a phone line into the boxes. This surely can’t be right??

  31. Sky require you to have a phone line for multi-room because they want to be able to check that the box is still at your address… To be fair to them I bet loads of people have had a second box and given it to a friend for £10 a month maybe more.. Sky World costs about £40-50 a month and if you have multi-room you could give it to a mate for £20-30 a month… Everyone wins.. Except Sky..

    The second box needs to make a call to sky every month or so to avoid the extra charge from sky.. You can do this manually but it needs to be plugged into a phone line.. But it only takes a minute of so.

    1. I have had a sky box then a sky + box and now a sky+hd box. Never had a fone line since being with sky and never paid 4 any box or for some person to plug it in! People please do ur homework on sky, they want ur money but u don’t need them.

  32. Sky require the telephone connection on multiroom subscriptions because you could have the full package on two+ boxes and then just move one box to another house, effectively having the full service and just paying the multiroom extra…

    Also it must be an old school landline, UPC fibre optic service is no good!

    You have to pay a €35 charge to have a box installed without a landline. I would always pay this charge even if I have an working phoneline.

    Another tip, when you take out a package and the box and satellite is all set up, wait a few weeks/months and call them and say the box has stopped working (12 month warranty on the box), they will ask to send out an engineer to install a new box but you can tell them just to send the box and you will set it up yourself. Moral of the story, you end up with another box for another room with freeview only but still, its something for nothing.

  33. I’ve got a sky box downstairs and it’s not plugged into the phone line, could I buy myself a box and get sky to install it without dragging a cable upstairs, and then only pay the 10.25 a month on top for multiroom? Many thanks

  34. I am using sky from a decade and i really have a very good experience of sky.reconected to sky and also wanted to upgrade to multiroom.When i called the customer support they told that Sky require the telephone connection on multiroom subscriptions because you could have the full package on two+ boxes and then just move one box to another house, effectively having the full service and just paying the multiroom extra.

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