According to Which? magazine’s annual consumer satisfaction survey us Brits are increasingly happier with cheaper Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) rather than the traditional big four.
Which? noted that MVNOs, despite not offering enticing deals on expensive and advanced network features, managed to snag the top five spots for their customer satisfaction survey.
Holding top spot was Utility Warehouse with 84% satisfaction rating, followed closely by O2-owned Giffgaff with 81%, this despite Giffgaff not having a dedicated customer support telephone line.
Those that made-up the other top spots were Sky Mobile, Asda Mobile and Tesco Mobile.
In contrast, three of the big four, Vodafone, O2 and EE occupied three of the four bottom rankings. Vodafone again held the lowest levels of satisfaction, just 49% and for the seventh year running.
Of the big four, Three had the highest satisfaction level at 64%. But Which? found that a significant 31% of Three customers surveyed said they had experienced very poor signal, while 33% of those who had left Three in the past couple of years said they had done so because of poor network coverage.
Vodafone once again did poorly when it came to billing. In fairness Vodafone has gone some way to improving its service since it was fined a record £4.6 million in 2016 for mis-selling and inaccurate billing.
Mobile users are less likely to have reason to complain than broadband users but there were still low levels of satisfaction with how complaints were handled. Which? found that in the second half of 2016, only 57% of mobile consumers were satisfied with how their complaint was handled.
Tesco Mobile topped the table when it came to satisfaction with how complaints were handled with a return of 74% and Vodafone came last with just 46%. In fact, Tesco Mobile performed above the mobile sector average for seven of nine specific aspects of customer service measured.
There were significant improvements seen in the rural areas of the country. Back in 2015 31% of those surveyed expressed dissatisfaction with their mobile reception. This was down to 19%.
A mobile phone is an essential item, two-thirds of households now say they would struggle to function without their mobile service. More than nine in ten adults in the UK use a mobile phone, three-quarters using their phone to access the internet.
Consequently, the latest survey still shows a high level of dissatisfaction, especially with the big four operators. The fact that the top five in the survey are independent MNVOs should be a real worry for those big four.