Isle of Skye Mobile Coverage: Here are the Best Companies

In this quick guide, we’ve covered everything you need to know about mobile coverage on the Isle of Skye.

Including which providers will give you the best mobile phone coverage on the Isle of Skye.

We’ve brought you details on how extensive the coverage is, top tips on having no service, and safety precautions you can (and sometimes should) take.

Stick in your SIM card and come join the party!

Isle of Skye Mobile Phone Coverage

Isle of Skye Cell Phone Reception

Cell service on the Isle of Skye is nowhere near as bad as most people expect.

Alright, it can be pretty spotty in places, but you’ll have decent service the vast majority of the time.

📶 Broadly speaking, you can expect to get good cell phone reception in the busiest, flattest, and most populated parts of the island (so in and around Portree, Broadford, Dunvegan, all the other decent-sized settlements, and any place where you’ll find lots of life).

But, yep, you’ll struggle to get reception in some of the most remote places.

📵 In my experience, the most mountainous parts of the island don’t offer much (or any) signal, especially as you ascend higher (but that’s the case in pretty much every mountainous place on the planet). You might also find your signal disappearing when you drop down into some of the island’s valleys (especially when those valleys are far from civilization).

Honestly, I really wouldn’t worry about it. I know Skye pretty well, but I’ve never fretted over the phone signal there, I’ve never had any major problems, and I don’t personally know anyone who has.

📱 But for those who are worried about it, the best cell phone carriers offering the best mobile coverage on the Isle of Skye are usually 02, Vodafone, and EE.

A woman putting a sim card in a smartphone

In recent years, Skye’s signal has become much better. Around 13,000 people live on the island… and those people (just like everyone else) of course want good mobile coverage… so service providers have vastly improved things recently. When I first went to Skye decades ago, the signal was a bit unreliable. Last time I was there, more recently, it was much better. So there’s really not much need to worry.

What Should I Do in Case of an Emergency if I Don’t Have Cell Phone Reception on the Isle of Skye?

Some people don’t know this, but it’s usually possible to make emergency calls even when you have no service.

If you don’t have service, but want to make an emergency call, what happens is this: your phone will try to connect to the service of any coverage provider (not just the coverage provider your SIM card is operated by). It’ll cycle through all network providers in the area… and, chances are, one of them will be available. So no matter where you are, you can usually still make an emergency call.

Problem solved, and nothing to worry about!

But if you’re a cautious little soul, and that isn’t enough comfort for you, there are many other precautions you can take:

(… and you probably should take at least some of these precautions if you’re going to some of the most remote parts of the island…)

  • Make sure you have an emergency whistle: Lots of high-quality hiking gear comes with emergency whistles. Make sure your backpack or hiking jacket has one of these whistles, so you can give it a little blow if everything goes wrong. If your clothes don’t have any whistles, go get this one now.
  • Tell your accommodation where you’re going: Lots of accommodations on the Isle of Skye encourage this strategy, to make sure their residents stay safe. If you’re going on some adventure where you might have no signal, tell your accommodation where you’re going, and what time you expect to be back. If you’re not back by a couple of hours after that time, they’ll tell emergency services on your behalf. Lucky you!
  • Tell a friend or family member where you’re going: A similar tactic, but probably not quite as effective. If your friend or family member knows where you were last planning to be (and they don’t hear from you for a while), they can tell emergency services. When you tell them your plans, try to be as specific as you can.
  • Don’t hike alone: This one is pretty obvious. But if you’re hiking alone and, like, break an ankle or something, you’re in trouble. But if you’re with someone else, they can go find help (and, if you stay still like a good boy or girl, they’ll know exactly where you are).
  • Know the emergency number: It’s 999. If you need any emergency services (and that includes mountain rescue), call 999. Like I said before, you should be able to call this number even when you have no cell phone service.
  • Make sure you have warm clothes: Even if it’s not a cold day, take lots of warm clothes in your backpack. If you get in trouble or get stranded, at least you’ll be able to stay warm until someone comes to help. Weather can change quickly on Skye, and nights can be very cold, even in the middle of summer.
  • Think sensibly about the weather: If you get lost or hurt in good weather with good visibility, you’ll probably be okay. But if you get lost or hurt in snow or rain when there’s poor visibility, things could be a lot worse. So check the weather properly before you go, and think seriously about whether or not your plans are sensible. Here’s the best resource for checking mountain-specific weather on Skye.
  • Make sure your phone is charged: You can only make an emergency call if you have battery power. So don’t waste your battery power on scrolling through Instagram when you might later need it to keep yourself alive.

Top Tips About Mobile Coverage on the Isle of Skye

A tourist exploring the coastlines on the Isle of Skye
  • Make important calls before going to remote places: if you need to call a family member, or have a job interview, or get the results of a medical test or something, do it before you go up a mountain. Obviously.
  • Use offline maps on your smartphone: when you’re doing lots of hiking or cycling or whatever, having a location-based GPS map can be helpful. But if you haven’t downloaded a map in advance, and you then lose signal, you might get a bit lost. My favorite offline map app is (which has many nifty features, and hiking trails).
  • Embrace it: I quite like having spotty mobile coverage, because it means I don’t need to be constantly glued to my phone. So here’s my advice: instead of worrying about it, just enjoy it. Embrace the peace, cos we no longer get it very often. Use your new-found freedom to enjoy sunrise on the Isle of Skye, or sunset on the Isle of Skye, or something.

Before You Go

Hang up your phone and end that call—we’ve come to the end of this guide!

If you want to know anything else about roaming (get it?) around the Isle of Skye, check out our guides to the best hikes on the Isle of Skye, the most stunning cliffs on the Isle of Skye, and the best outdoor adventures on the Isle of Skye.

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