Overall, one-quarter of mobile phone consumers (26 percent) changed their providers over the past two years, while EE and Vodafone ended up being chosen as the two least desirable of phone providers. This was determined during an annual customer satisfaction survey.
A survey by the consumer group, Which?, determined that more than 4,000 customers rated Vodafone and EE at 50 percent. Only one in five EE customers (22 percent) would consider recommending the provider to a family member or a friend. This is in spite of its history of great coverage and download speeds off the 4G that the Which? group said were fast.
Only a quarter (24 percent) of the respondents would recommend Vodafone.
The regulator Ofcom fined EE £2.7m in January 2017 after the regulator found the company twice broke a “fundamental billing rule.” This ended in almost 40,000 consumers being overcharged around £250,000.
Ofcom levied a fine to Vodafone of £4.6m in October of 2016. This came after two investigations found the company was mishandling consumer complaints and did not credit the accounts of over 10,452 topping off their accounts as pay-as-you-go users.
Both providers committed to making improvements following the issues.
But it was Utility Warehouse and Giffgaff that checked in at the stop of the Which? Chart with ratings of 76 percent and 81 percent, respectively.
Some 70 percent of Giffgaff’s customers indicated they would certainly recommend this provider to other people.
Ofcom recently revealed plans for a “text-to-switch” program which would let consumers change networks in as short a time as 24 hours to prevent awkward telephone calls to allow customers to move to a new network within 24 hours and not have to make contact with the vendor people were leaving.
Which? managing director of home products and services, Alex Neill, said: “Year after year we see the smaller providers giving great service and some of the biggest providers struggling to meet their customers’ expectations.
“Those who are fed up of receiving a poor service from their provider should look to switch.
“It is critical that the next government and Ofcom listen to the concerns of mobile phone customers so that there is increased competition in the industry which will lead to a better experience for customers,” he concluded.
A Vodafone spokeswoman said: “Improving our service for our customers is our top priority. After a difficult year in 2016, many of the improvements we have made are becoming real to our customers. We are determined to become the UK’s best mobile service provider for customer service.”
EE said: “Getting a good 4G connection is one of the most important factors for consumers, so it’s disappointing that these ratings don’t take network performance into account. Which?’s own report shows that only EE customers get the fastest 4G connection in the UK, and are on 4G more of the time than any other network. The latest data from Ofcom shows that EE has improved customer service and receives the third fewest complaints in the mobile industry.
“We’re continuing to work incredibly hard to provide the best mobile experience in the UK by rolling out 4G to more places in the UK than any other network and becoming the first operator to answer all customer service calls in the UK and Ireland.”
The Which? Survey rankings and percentages are: Giffgaff (81%); Utility Warehouse (76%); Tesco Mobile (74%); Asda Mobile (72%); Talkmobile (69%); Plusnet (66%); 3 (Three) (64%); iD (Carphone Warehouse) (63%); BT Mobile (63%); 10. O2 (62%); TalkTalk Mobile (62%); Virgin Mobile (62%); EE (50%); and Vodafone (50%).