Telecoms giants EE and Vodafone have been named Britain’s worst mobile phone providers by consumer watchdog Which?
Both scored just 50 out of 100 for overall customer satisfaction as they failed to hit the right tone with account holders.
But minnow giffgaff topped the chart with 81, Utility Warehouse was second with 76 and Tesco Mobile third with 74.
Despite fast download speeds and strong coverage, Vodafone and EE were awarded just two out of five stars for value for money compared with giffgaff’s full house.
And the big guns scraped one star when it came to reasons for switching to their tariffs while giffgaff was awarded three stars.
They also let account holders down on customer service managing two stars in the category while giffgaff scored four.
Mobile phone providers ranked
According to the Which? survey of more than 4,000 adults, only a fifth of EE customers would recommend the provider to family or friends and just a quarter of Vodafone users would do the same.
But seven out of ten giffgaff customers gave the firm the thumbs up to their social circle.
Smaller IS better
Alex Neill, Which? managing director of home products and services, 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.”
What they have to say for themselves
EE and Vodafone – who have both been fined recently by regulator Ofcom – have vowed to improve their ratings as a result of the Which? poll.
In January EE was fined £2.7million by Ofcom after it found the company twice broke a “fundamental billing rule”, resulting in nearly 40,000 customers being overcharged around £250,000.
EE said of the Whcih? poll: “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.”
Vodafone was fined £4.6 million in October last year as a result of two investigations which found the company was mishandling customer complaints and failed to credit the accounts of more than 10,452 pay-as-you-go customers who topped up their accounts.
A spokesperson 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.”
The research also found that only a quarter of mobile customers had switched provider in the last two years.