back to article We'd switch mobile networks, but we can't be bothered – survey

Inertia is a principle well-known in insurance and personal banking circles, but the mobile phone industry has always behaved as if subscriber loyalty were governed purely by discounts and phone upgrades. But new research by telecoms customer service provider WDS shows that apathy is just as important in mobile. A survey of 4 …


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  1. Barry Rueger

    Explain please

    I give up. What the PUK are MVNO customers and MNO customers?

    1. rhydian

      Re: Explain please

      MNO = Mobile network operators (Vodafone, O2, EE, 3)

      MVNO = Mobile virtual network operators (Tesco Mobile, Talk Mobile, ASDA mobile and so on)

  2. Simon Harris

    I've thought about it many times...

    and then remembered all the other networks are just as pants!

    1. dotdavid

      Re: I've thought about it many times...

      Exactly, hence the "only 44 per cent of people who’d not switched were truly happy with their decision" bit.

      About the only thing you can do is make sure you're not contractually tied to one operator for too long - there's nothing worse than finding out six months into a two year contract that your operator has decided to p*** you off by unilaterally raising prices ("oh, you have a pre-2014 contract where we said we could do that. OfCom's decision only applies to new suckers, so tough") or whatever and there's nothing you can do about it.

      Rolling one month contracts are the way forward.

  3. rhydian

    I have a little list...

    I'd consider moving to an MVNO, but its sometimes a right struggle to find out which network they use in the background. Living out in the sticks only one network has 3G capabilities locally.

    If there were a list of MVNOs and which network they used it would be damned handy.

    1. Russell Hancock

      Re: I have a little list...

      Google, my friend, Google....

      1. rhydian

        Re: I have a little list...

        Much obliged. Have an drink.

        1. Russell Hancock

          Re: I have a little list...

          Thanks - i only know this as i recently swapped from O2 to Tesco mobile and wanted to check it would be the same signal - I was happy with O2 but they would not let me have more than 2GB of data and i wanted more (now have 6GB with Tesco for less than the cost of 1GB on O2 but still using their network :) )

          1. Lamont Cranston

            Re: I have a little list...

            From the small amount of research I did when renewing my contract with Orange, Tesco Mobile apparently throttle off the connection if you're streaming large quantities of data (no idea if that's true or not).

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: I have a little list...

              Also note that many MVNOs get in cheap by skimping on features. I had been on a T-Mobile USA-based MVNO for a while but decided to return to the actual T-Mobile because of premium features I'd missed like support for Short Codes, WiFi Calling, and Visual Voicemail (and no, most MVNOs can't be rigged to support a third-party visual voicemail because that requires support for Call Forwarding, another feature commonly left out with MVNOs).

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I have a little list...

      And don't forget a MVNO may decide to change their provider and shift everyone to a new network - think it happened with Tesco or was it Asda?

  4. GordonJ

    I know I'm just being dumb, but...

    Can someone explain how Nokia - shown in 8th place in what I must assume is a table of satisfaction (it's not captioned) - "rounding up the top four"?

  5. Andy 97

    The NIMBY problem

    Unless the NIMBY's become educated about local cell positioning, i.e. it's not going to give little Johnny brain cancer, you're always going to face this problem in the countryside.

    Key learning: Local cells mean your phone will attenuate its transmitter, crap coverage means it will fight to obtain it's connection.

    My house has a VF Sure Signal and that's the only reason I'm with them. As a majority of my calls are from home, it would be folly to switch providers.

    Moving simply due to price is always a false economy.

    1. Semtex451

      Re: The NIMBY problem

      "always going to face this problem in the countryside" or for 3G at Clapham or Wimbledon.

  6. Simon Rockman

    a little list

  7. jason 7

    I wish...

    ...owner of 07777 number.


    1. Simon Rockman

      Re: I wish...

      I looked into 07777 a while ago. BT has been allocated it and not used it. But the MNO/MVNO deal with EE is coming soon.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Changing networks is often like squeezing a balloon - you might get better signal in one place but then it's worse in another - or you move office / house and it all changes again. I've found Vodafone to be best but YMMV and at my last house no network had signal so the Vodafone Suresignal was a good solution. Yes I know people whinge about paying to shift the calls over your own broadband but when it means poor / no signal or 4-5 bars I really don't care.

    Would be lovely to think all networks could provide great signal everywhere but people live in basement flats and in the middle of nowhere etc. - so it's just not possible.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    People aren't stupid, and just as they know switching your electricity/gas/water supplier, or bank is really a shit load of hassle for no real gain, they're clever enough to realise it's not worth it. There's just as much dog shit all over the grass on the other side of the fence, its just more difficult to see when you're stood back a little bit.

  10. Eponymous Cowherd

    Glad I switched

    I switched from Vodafone to Three about a year ago, after 10 years with Vodafone.

    Don't regret it one bit. I was lucky if I got any signal at all with Vodafone, and when I did it was usually 2G. I also had a poxy 500Mb data limit.

    With Three, for the same amount I was paying Vodafone, I get a signal in most places, It is always at least 3G, and usually HSDPA, 4G at no extra cost, and "all you can eat" data.

    So, why did I stick with Vodafone for so long?

    Well, every two years, at upgrade time, Vodafone would offer me something decent for the same tariff, or a modest increase. Last year they only offered a Windows phone (not at all interested) and some "landfill" Android devices to replace my HTC Sensation unless I either upped my tariff by something like 30%, of forked out a huge (£150) upfront charge for something I was interested in (a Note 2)

    Went to Three and got the Note 2 for no upfront charge and £3 more a month. Goodbye Vodafone.

    1. Ted Treen

      Re: Glad I switched

      ...AND Three produce those very amusing commercials with dancing ponies, singing kittens and whatever they've got planned next.

      A bit of silliness in a dull world never hurts...

  11. James 100

    Best of all networks

    It's possible to get a SIM which will roam across multiple UK networks - so if you go out of Three's coverage, your phone just jumps over to Vodafone or whatever. Andrews & Arnold are planning to offer that 'soon' (their current voice SIMs are O2-only, with data SIMs being Three-only) - I'm told there are a few niche providers offering it already, but haven't been able to find any more details or prices, let alone how to order one. (Up here in Scotland, I'm in a blackspot often enough for this to be irritating: one end of my office building has a good 4G signal on Three, the other end has no signal at all - and at home, I only get a reliable signal upstairs. I occasionally check which other networks have a signal around; there's usually an O2 one in most gaps, but then O2 have gaps where Three doesn't...)

    I remember being a little surprised Apple didn't go the MVNO route when they launched the iPhone - considering how much more control they had over the whole system than anyone before, including using special iPhone-specific SIMs in some cases (for the different voicemail handling etc) and getting O2 to enable EDGE specially for them. Take over the whole billing arrangement as well as the handset management, nice easy roaming (just lump any visiting Apple customers from other countries in with domestic ones for better wholesale rates from the local Apple MNO partner) - why didn't they?

  12. Stuart Castle Silver badge

    Would I change networks..

    Yes. When my contract ends, I always look at the deals available at the time. I've been on O2 and T Mobile twice, and Vodafone once. My current contract ends in August, so I dare say, I'll be looking for the best deal around then. Yes, I do factor in network availability and reliability in the areas I am likely to visit.

    Regarding switching phones. Before I had an iPhone, I always switched to the best phone for me at the time, whoever manufactured it. With the iPhone, it's been a little different. While I do actively look at Android phones from time to time (indeed, I am thinking I'll probably move to Android come the end of my contract), but I've spent a lot of money in the past on iOS specific apps and media. While there are equivalents available on Android, I've been a little hesitant to switch as it has felt like I'll be writing off an awful lot of money. This time, I've been thinking I'll keep my iPhone, but use it as an iPod..

  13. roy lovelock

    very pleased with my switch

    I also switched from Tmobile to Three a couple of years back. I had been with One2One / tmobile/ EE since 95 and they had been ok, but the final nail in the coffin for me was the change in contracts and the constant mid contract rises.

    I had previously had unlimited data (capped at 3gb!!????) then they released the 4g and there data was Pants to say the least - i think i would have been capped in less than 1 hour very month.

    Being a average 10-15gb per month Three have been fantastic, i had been told horror stories of poor coverage etc but tbh ive not seen it in the two years ive been with them.

    Im just sitting on my contract for the time being waiting for the note 4 to arrive.

    my wifes virgin account hasnt changed in 5 years, she has the rolling 30 day contract and it cost me £6 pm, for that she has unlimited everything (im sure there are restrictions) - ive yet to see a deal as good as that so have kept her on it.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I switched too - after trialing PAYG 4G on rivals

    I switched too - bought a sim-free unlocked 4g phone outright and went on a monthly contract with a different operator.

    Sure it costs a little more than a 12 or 24 months contract but I'm after a deal that actually works and is right for me, not necessarily the cheapest. And I can switch at any time again if my current operator annoys me.

    When pushed on the prospect I would leave them, the best my previous operator could do was offer me a heavily discounted 4G 12 month contract, when they are still building out the 4G network. So they were asking me to commit to a year with them when they hadn't reciprocated that with any promises as to where the 4G would end up.

    My new network operator gives me 4G and I can connect even in busy areas, a generous download allowance and calls/text. So far so good.

    Pleased to hear about those who have switched here and you are now more satisfied.

    I would also nod to the person who says "they're all pants". I'd certainly agree that none of them are perfect; where one is patchy another isn't and vice versa.

    Best thing to do is to not get overwhelmed by anecdotal forum threads about this operator or that operator, but to get a few PAYGs and try it for yourself.

    One tip really, avoid any operator who can't give you their full range of services on PAYG if you are trialing, in particular I mean 4G. Sure they will say you have 7 days to cancel a 12+ month contract but I don't think that 7 days is always enough to get a feel of how good they are, personally I would need longer to fit trying things out in the various places I'm at into a busy schedule.

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