back to article Cheapskate Brits appear to love their Poundland MVNOs as UK's big four snubbed in survey again

Cheapo MVNOs have again scored far higher than the UK's big four mobile networks in Which? magazine's customer satisfaction ratings. For the second year running, the survey put the big four – EE, Vodafone, O2 and Three – bottom of the table for customer experience. GiffGaff and Utility Warehouse again took the two top spots, …

  1. RachelG

    Good thing about GiffGaff: Very easy/low commitment to give it a try.

    Even better: When you do, you find out very quickly that the bandwidth available to data is absolutely appalling. IIRC less than a tenth of what I get through Three at the same location/time.

    So, you don't waste a lot of time and commitment finding that out. Although you will be spammed for some time afterwards with offers for that hour or so of experimentation.

    1. Chris G

      I am stunned that anything connected to Telefonica/movistar has good ratings from customers.

      In Spain, though equivalent to BT in the UK, they fail to provide coverage in many places, are expensive, have appalling data deals and nonexistent customer service.

      Apart from that they are rubbish and have been in trouble in the past for dealing in cartel deals to prevent competition.

      I now use Yoigo, for here the call deals are ok and data provided you don't top out are also not bad. Their billing has never been wrong which compared to most other providers is a recommendation in itself.

    2. Lee D Silver badge

      I don't see that.

      I have a giffgaff SIM in my 4G phone... I get more than good enough download speeds to do anything I like.

      My Three-based Huawei hotspot device is only slightly faster, in fact.

      Given that I have *no* fixed broadband, only the above two, I think I'd notice.

      Giffgaff are cheap and flexible, which is why I use them. I could get a ton more data if I cared, but I can't really fault their service and speed, even if they have had the occasional hiccup like everyone else (they're only re-selling O2 after all). At least they don't even *pretend* that it's worth their while manning huge call centers for the idiots that can't activate a SIM online.

      Gimme three different giff-gaff-like places and I'll switch between them when there's slowness/a problem if it really came to that.

      P.S. just this week I used up all my Three data, and then spent the last two weeks on my giffgaff SIM as a hotspot - for EVERYTHING from watching Netflix to doing work, to every bit of browsing, to roaming around 100miles with it in my phone. Speedtest says 18Mbps at the mo, but I'm literally sitting in the middle of a 28 acre-site in the middle of nowhere, far from anything that could be a mobile tower and right next to some HUGE power lines. At home, I generally get 30-50Mbps.

      1. AMBxx Silver badge

        There's an element of expectations in all these surveys. If you have a cheap car/phone/whatever, you're expectations of its performance are likely to be lower. Same goes for mobile sims.

        I have a giff-gaff sim in my car's tracker. Works fine and I've only spent £10 in 5 years. I'd give them 5/5, but no way to measure how I'd feel about them if I needed it for daily use.

        Conversely, I've signed up with a reseller to handle our mobile contract. I was promised great service. Took 3 months to transfer the account and only way I've been able to make them return my calls is by leaving bad reviews on Trustpilot. Their service may be just as giff-gaff, but as I need them for daily use, I rate them at 0/5,

      2. Roland6 Silver badge

        > just this week I used up all my Three data

        Suspect that was because you spent too much time in the "middle of nowhere" and so missed the recent unlimited data SIM offer...

        A little more seriously, I would suggest either upgrading that MiFi to a decent router with mobile dongle capable of taking an external (directional) aerial. Whlst you may not see much of a headline speed increase, you will see a lower error rate, so things will seem a little more responsive, particularly at times when atmospherics interfere with radio comms. However, at 18Mpbs, your situation is better than mine was ~10 years back when the use of the above got me 7Mbps as opposed to 2~3Mbps (and sub-512kbps ADSL).

        1. Lee D Silver badge

          Unlimited data only applies to phones, not to tethered devices.

          Read their gumph and "unlimited" really means "9Gb" in those circumstances, or thereabouts. I have a mobile data SIM designed for tethering, I burned through 40Gb (which is unusual for me).

          Giffgaff et al are all the same in that regard - once they detect you tethering, they charge you, stop your data, or terminate your contract.

          Though quite why is beyond me - a tethering client using 100Gb is no more a burden on your network than a phone using 100Gb, surely?

          1. Roland6 Silver badge

            >Read their gumph and "unlimited" really means "9Gb"

            I had presumed they had actually implemented their 2018 agreement with Ofcom [See: Own initiative investigation into Hutchison 3G UK Limited (Three)’s compliance with the net neutrality and roaming regulations and Three UK Quietly Removes Tethering Caps from 4G Mobile Plans ] Although I did check their website before posting and noted the lack of indicator by the 'tethering' claim that denotes "subject to limits in the small print".

            Perhaps you need to 'upgrade' to get the previous restriction lifted.

            >Though quite why is beyond me - a tethering client using 100Gb is no more a burden on your network than a phone using 100Gb, surely?

            From years back, there was a notable difference in the traffic profile and so Three traffic profiled their Mobile Data SIM network differently to their Mobile Phone SIM Data network.

            Personally, I also use the mobile data SIM because of the different traffic management and filtering policies. However, I also tether with my EE Phone SIM and have not noticed any noteworthy service differences. Suspect with 4G/5G QoS for differing traffic profiles is easier to achieve.

    3. The Dogs Meevonks Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Never had a problem with giffgaff

      I've been with most of the bottom 4 over the years, and had pretty appalling service from all of them.

      I switched to giffgaff about 2yrs ago and haven't had a single issue since... I don't use a lot of data as I'm connected to wifi 90% of the time. But I've not seen any issues when I am... But then I rarely try to stream video or large files over data... I rarely make much of a dent in the 4GB a month In my allowance. But £10/m for unlimited txts and calls is perfect for me.

    4. JetSetJim

      > GiffGaff: Very easy/low commitment to give it a try.

      >Even better: When you do, you find out very quickly that the bandwidth available to data is absolutely appalling

      And there's the rub - shopping around for a deal with an alternate provider can net you a good deal on the face of things, then you start using it and find out you would probably like to go back to your old provider but find they won't let you back in on the same deal.

      Other utilities are comparable - switch leccy to a "budget" provider, and your voltage doesn't drop to 200V AC, you will instead get the same "service". The problem with switching mobiles is that it is difficult to try before switching or compare without having 2 phone contracts running in parallel, and every location in the country will have a similar problem.

      It would be nice if there was legislation saying "if you leave your provider but want to come back within a certain short time window because the alternates you are trying are crap, you should be able to come back on the same contract, with the same perks as when you left" *

      (*) Happy to be told I missed out on an important announcement and given a link to news that says just this!

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I used to be with GiffGaff but their prices make them unattractive.

    Their adverts about a 'network run by your' are also annoying. Implying it's a co-operative when it's not.

    I am now with 1p mobile.

    1. GrizzlyCoder

      Re: Reminds me of a story

      Thank you for the in the process of swithcing to 1p mobile.

      I have no real complaint about GiffGaff (been with then for many years) other than the constant irritation of, even on their tariffs, never having used the full complement of what I was paying for and always being a bit leary of using data in case I went over my (pretty low) limit.

      This way I only pay for what I use full stop. I know that the 'hidden rip-off' is 1p for texts but I hardly send any so this is offset by the freedom of using data worry-free. Also if it doesn't suit, I can always go back to GiffGaff with my tail between my legs...


  3. JohnMurray

    Plusnet: Sim only. 6GB data. Unlimited free calls. Unlimited free texts. £13/month.


    1. Vince

      Precisely none of your calls or texts are "free" - you're paying £13/month.

      1. Gene Cash Silver badge

        "Nah, that's fer rentin' tha line... the calls are free on top of that"

    2. Jonathon Desmond

      Yeah, but 1.50 per minute to call (for example) Australia on Plusnet vs 2p on GiffGaff.

    3. BlackAle

      You're paying too much, on uSwitch there is a plusnet 30 day rolling contract with 6GB, unlimited calls/texts for £11, recently there has been 8GB, unlimited calls/texts for £10.

      It's always worth ringing them and negotiating a better deal.

      I'm with plusnet, though don't need much data, I pay £6 for 3GB, unlimited calls/texts.

  4. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    PlusNet is BT

    but seemingly left to run their own things.

    Strange how not being absorbed into the corporate BORG makes (apparently) for a better service...

    1. NotTrue

      Re: PlusNet is BT

      EE is BT too....

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: PlusNet is BT

      It won't last forever.

      Sooner or later every business that has expanded by acquiring competitors always ends up merging the back

      1. AMBxx Silver badge
        Big Brother

        Re: PlusNet is BT

        Plusnet say my next bill is due in 2037. This follows their botched migration to a new accounts system last year. I know I'm not alone in this, but no idea how many others there are.

        Every month they open the ticket and send me an update telling me that there is no update.

        I've read somewhere that they won't bill me for more than 90 days service - keeping my fingers crossed.

        Their service is great until something goes wrong. Then it's awful.

        1. phuzz Silver badge

          Re: PlusNet is BT

          "Plusnet say my next bill is due in 2037"

          hmm, if it was 2038 I'd be guessing something related to the unix rollover date, but currently I'm stumped.

    3. Timmy B

      Re: PlusNet is BT

      I was about to say the same.

      I've got a BT Mobile. I get 20GB, unlimited everything else for £10 a month.

      Not quite the best data I've ever had - three were better - but the best voice coverage by far. I get a phone signal for voice in parts of the woods I find myself in where I would never have dreamt of getting a signal when with three.

  5. Cuddles

    Are you sure?

    "For the second year running, the survey put the big four – EE, Vodafone, O2 and Three – bottom of the table for customer experience."

    Except that Three are not actually in the bottom four, with BT and Virgin falling between them and the others. They also actually scored higher across the board than ID who are somehow placed above them.

    1. Rathernicelydone

      Re: Are you sure?

      I have my mum on Three's 321 PAYG offering and it is simple to understand (3p calls including to certain international destinations, 2p text, 1p per Mb data). The website makes it easy to administer the account and the data speeds are much better than my company phone which is on O2.

      1. BlackAle

        Re: Are you sure?

        1pmobile may be an even better choice, 1p for calls/text/mb.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Company phone data speeds

        Unless you work for a small company that phone is almost certainly using an APN linked to your corporate network then going out again to the internet through the corporate firewall. The company will lease a fixed bandwidth from the mobile provider to the network which is shared between the corporate suite. It doesn't give the best performance but does allow implementation of device management and security policies to be enforced. When negotiating corporate contracts things like APN bandwidth are 'good enough' rather than as fast as possible to constrain costs. This does mean you can't compare the speed you get through the corporate phone with what you get on your personal phone with a direct connection to the internet. You'll find exactly the same working at home through a VPN, I live in a rural location and get between 17 & 24 MBPS but if I do a speed test through my work machine it will show 8MBPS consistently, once again this is more than good enough for what I need which is network and mail access and telephone services.

    2. MarthaFarqhar

      Re: Are you sure?

      Never let the facts get in the way of the tone of the article

  6. Ben1892

    "matching the ease of use of an Amazon or Apple store"

    I find it less than straight-forward to find things on Amazon - it's always feted as the go-to aspiration for "ease of use" and service but I often struggle to find specifically what I'm looking for rather than what they want to cross-sell to me; "you searched for brand X, we'll give you a list of brand Y with a few brand X if you go a few pages into the search results"

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: "matching the ease of use of an Amazon or Apple store"

      Don't forget the increasingly difficult checkout on amazon without signing up for Prime.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: "matching the ease of use of an Amazon or Apple store"

      "I find it less than straight-forward to find things on Amazon"

      Agreed. In fact it seems to have got worse in the last few weeks. There seems to be a compulsion to return as many hits as possible irrespective of relevance, especially sponsored results, and returning nothing where nothing would fit seems to be quite impossible. It's easier to search Amazon via Google apart from the hits for obsolete products.

      And recently I had the offer of a pick-up location about 250 miles away, the email for the locker release code arrived about an hour after the website showed delivery and the SMS never arrived at all.

      I get the distinct impression that they survive by sheer size - it would be feasible for someone to improve on the software for both search (there was at least one better search engine in the '80s!) and logistics but not be able to get into the market because scaling up to match would be impossible.

  7. Aladdin Sane

    Doesn't actually say if their network offering is any good though.

  8. davemcwish

    I'm not a statistician but

    How is EE a 'wooden spoonist' given the data shown gives them a 5% customer score advantage over VF ?

    Other factors will apply into network choice e.g. network availability/performance, tethering, or home phone/broadband bundle deals.

  9. Andy Non Silver badge
    Thumb Down


    Having dealt with Vodafone customer support and having had long difficult conversations with people with very poor English and even less technical competence, it is clear why they are at the bottom of the list. One support guy with appalling English actually suggested I needed to buy and install a new cable from the telegraph pole to my house! Further calls were necessary before someone competent arranged for OpenReach to do the job. While I'm into DIY, climbing telegraph poles and rewiring them is pushing it a bit!

    1. Craigie

      Re: Vodafone

      I assumed you were going to complain about their sh*t data network.

    2. Rathernicelydone

      Re: Vodafone

      I have been lucky never to have had a problem with my Vodafone Broadband service and therefore have never had to call their support people. The service itself gives me good speeds with no throttling at any time so am very happy with it. Their router is crap though which is why its wifi is off and I have BT Whole Home Wifi discs peppered around the house. Here's hoping I haven't jinxed my service and have to end up calling them...

    3. Nick Kew

      Re: Vodafone

      Vodafone has high street shops. What happens if you walk into one with a customer service issue (as in "it doesn't work"?) That's a genuine question: I've never had need of their customer service.

      I had always thought this was an ultimate bottom-line solution if I needed it: O2 and EE staff in shops have always been helpful when asked. Then I tried it with Virgin Media when my cable broadband had failed, and found customer service inspired by Kafka.

      1. John H Woods Silver badge

        Re: Vodafone

        Best thing about high Street shops is the staff have name tags... Will never forget being served by a Simone Leigh in an EE store....

  10. Franco

    I've just left 3. As I've said before, their customer service was (IME) better than most among mobile providers, but they put their prices up again so I've gone to iD Mobile. £5 a month for 1gb data with rollover and tethering, 500 minutes and unlimited texts. £3 cheaper than 3 were, for half the amount of data with no rollover and 200 minutes.

    1. BebopWeBop

      When they last put up their prices, I called to get my PAC and they promptly offered 9G a month plus unlimited calls/texts for £10 a month, which combined with roaming while I am abroad back to the UK is not to bad

      1. Franco

        They did offer me a deal to stay, but this is the second price increase (they discontinued my tariff a while back and tried to put me on what they claimed was a better fit for me but was three times the price) in not that long, plus iD is an MVNO using 3 so I knew what coverage to expect.

    2. Timmy B

      Exactly why I left 3. They used to be the most reasonable for cost but they have been creeping slowly upwards. They simply couldn't match the 20GB and unlimited everything else for £10 a month that BT offered.

      1. ~chrisw

        Except they recently discounted the price of their top AYCE Advanced package (uncapped data, uncapped tethering, unlimited calls and texts) down to £20 pcm on 12 month contract. I was rolling along on the 600 minutes version for two quid a month more - switched in a heartbeat.

        I accept providing certain levels of data costs to operate radio networks, provide infrastructure yada yada - I'm happy to pay a reasonable cost. £20-25 for unlimited everything with no horrific traffic shaping past a low threshold (looking at you, giffgaff) is a pretty reasonable deal. The mega cheap tariffs are simply feasible because call and SMS infrastructure is there and total cost is so low (and utilisation falling year on year) the providers don't mind. Data is the cash cow but building out infrastructure capacity and sufficient backhaul is increasingly costly.

        Three have had the most generous packages for a while and brought in some of the things like inclusive roaming a good couple of years before other providers. Many years ago I started off on Voda, migrating to O2, then T-Mobile (Flext with Web 'n Walk for pretty high allowances of 3G data and that was back in 2005!) which became EE, but I've never been as happy a customer as when I've been with Three. No mucking about with retention deals you have to hassle for at renewal, just simple prices, good features, a few nice perks and overall good reliable customer service. Can't speak to everyone's experience but I've been a Three customer for over a decade.

        Three had coverage issues in early 2000s (remember the voice-only 2G Orange backfill areas?) but coverage and speeds have significantly improved since. MBNL partnership benefitted both providers in rural areas. Three's weak point remains indoor coverage in some areas due to spectrum allocations and cell site paucity (my employer has mobile repeaters installed in our building, but only for two telcos)...

        This won't last forever though. Their service overall is great and prices are amongst the best in the industry. Even with the option of going to Voda or O2 on one of their top packages with company scheme discount, the packages can't compete. At the moment I think no other major provider can match Three on tariff features, data allowances and general levels of customer service. I was happy to recommit for another year.

    3. 5p0ng3b0b

      Three once contacted me to inform me of a price increase. I told them not to be silly and that what I was currently paying was the maximum amount they were ever going to get. I gave them a choice, either keep taking the current amount each month or get nothing. I also told them the latter would happen if they ever tried to pull that crap on me again.

  11. druck Silver badge


    Thanks for reminding me about O2's outage, I'll be mentioning that when I call about why my out of contract fee's didn't drop this month. As I've written in praise of them here twice previously, when the 2 year phone and airtime contract ends and the phone is paid off, they normally automatically transfer you to a cheaper SIM only 1 month rolling contract. This time they've done the same as the other big 2 and continued to gouge me for the full previous contact price.

    1. druck Silver badge

      Re: O2

      Just found out why. I got the O2 contract through Carphone Warehouse, where as previously I had always gone to O2 directly. The direct accounts roll over to SIM only, the CPW ones keep charging you full price until you notice, and ask O2 to change to another contract - or leave.

  12. Sir Adam-All

    1Gb Data a month - Really ?

    Do people really "survive" with 1Gb of data a month ? seems a low figure these days with always on email, internet, streaming etc not to mention large app updates.

    I personally am on Vodafone and fine the service excellent - no complaints here - never had a data issue and coverage has been more than acceptable whilst travelling even Europe-wide.

    That said, I've never had to contact them so that may be the thorn in the side when things go TU !

    Just my 99p worth

    1. Franco

      Re: 1Gb Data a month - Really ?

      Can't speak for others but I don't stream and app updates don't happen automatically on data, only on WiFi. I was on 500mb with 3 for years and the only times I've ever run out was when I was tethering, either due to changing ISP at home or needing to do some testing at work.

    2. Roj Blake Silver badge

      Re: 1Gb Data a month - Really ?

      A lot of people hook up to whatever wi-fi is available rather than use up their 4G data allowance.

    3. Craigie

      Re: 1Gb Data a month - Really ?

      I've never had anything but unlimited data and the least I use is 20GB, usually more like 40-50GB. I am extremely reluctant to move to any sort of cap.

    4. Paul 25

      Re: 1Gb Data a month - Really ?

      When I'm at home or work my phone is on the wifi, so the only time I use my mobile data is when I'm travelling or out and about. With things like apps and podcasts set to only update over wifi it's incredibly easy to use well less than 1g a month.

      I think many people overestimate how much data they actually use.

      Mine was so low most months, with sudden bursts during holiday periods. That made most contracts expensive to cover the busy periods, and wastful during the rest of the year. I ended up sticking a second data-only sim in with a two year upfront bundle from Three, which works out at £2.50/gig. So far I've used about 2.5gig over 3 months.

      1. BrownishMonstr

        Re: 1Gb Data a month - Really ?

        Sometimes when I'm connected to WiFi (xkcd).

    5. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: 1Gb Data a month - Really ?

      "Do people really "survive" with 1Gb of data a month ?"

      What's data? PAYG SIM only, don't walk into lamp-posts whilst gazing at a little screen.

    6. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: 1Gb Data a month - Really ?

      >Do people really "survive" with 1Gb of data a month ?


      Remember many general public users treat their smartphone as a phone ie. calls & SMS/Whatsapp, with occasional use of other app's.

      It's only a relatively small group of people who use their phone as a pocket computer, games console, media hub and/or MiFi for their tablet/laptop etc. It's also one of the reasons why 5G (technologies rather than the additional spectrum allocation) will have next to no impact on the majority of mobile phone users.

      1. AlbertH

        Re: 1Gb Data a month - Really ?

        I run an Internet radio station, and we now find that roughly 60% of our worldwide audience listens via mobile phone, often in cars, or trains. Mobile 'net is the "trendy new tech" for millennials!

    7. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: 1Gb Data a month - Really ?

      I rarely use over 100MB (yes, one hundred megabytes) per month.

      I have wifi at home, I have wifi at work, I have wifi at my friend's houses, I even have wifi in most of the pubs I go to.

      Why would I use slow and patchy 3/4G when there's a better option available?

  13. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge

    Four Yorkshiremen

    6GB data. Unlimited free calls. Unlimited free texts. £13/month.

    The best sim only deal I have over here in Canada land is $60 a month (plus taxes & fee's) for 10Gb & nationwide calls & texts.

    You lucky lucky bastards!

    1. Slef

      Re: Four Yorkshiremen

      And you have not mentioned your neighbours!

    2. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: Four Yorkshiremen

      "nationwide calls & texts"

      Your nation is a bit bigger (and the population more spread out) though.

      The UK must be one of the easiest places to run a network because you have many potential customers packed into a small geographic area. There's practically nowhere you could plonk down a tower that wouldn't cover at least a few people.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Four Yorkshiremen

        Japan? And some other islands might actually do better. IIRC lots of people mention how they all have 100GB connections in some of these places, mainly because they are new cities, and unlike the UK, are not running of (understandably) historic infrastructure.

      2. JetSetJim

        Re: Four Yorkshiremen

        >There's practically nowhere you could plonk down a tower that wouldn't cover at least a few people.

        Yeah, but if you plonk it too close to one of your other towers on the same band, you'll get interference and user experience suffers, and if you plonk it too far away then all their calls will drop when they move about a bit.

        Plus, you also need to plonk that tower down near power and backhaul infrastructure, and get planning permission to plonk it in a nimby's backyard.

        It's not entirely trivial to do all that, you plonker :)

  14. matdj

    But I need wifi calling

    Out in the sticks in my little village, where there's three buses a week, a wonderfully parochial parish newsletter and for some reason 200MB fibre, there's no mobile signal of any kind to speak of. Unless any of you know any better, it's only the main four networks that offer wifi calling, and so I have no choice but to pick one of them.

    For me at least, £11/month gets me unlimited calls and texts, 4GB data, and the ability to actually use my phone in the house. So far at least, Three have been fine.

    1. BlackAle

      Re: But I need wifi calling

      IDmobile now supports wifi calling.

      1. Timmy B

        Re: But I need wifi calling

        So do BT.

      2. Locky

        Re: But I need wifi calling

        The exact reason I am with them. £7 a month for generally enough rolled-over data, and while I'm sure their customer service is atrocious I've never had to use it.

  15. Claverhouse Silver badge


    EE got in touch to say: "As this report recognises, we're ranked top by Opensignal for mobile experience in the UK which is supported by other independent reports from Ofcom and RootMetrics. Ofcom’s latest figures also show that EE receives among the fewest complaints in the mobile industry, as we've continued to invest in the UK's best customer service.

    "We're bringing the best experience and service in the UK to our customers, with 100 per cent UK & Ireland call centres, continued investment in the UK's best network, generous data allowances, and access to great benefits and content including BT Sport, Apple Music and Amazon Prime."

    It's amazing that people actually talk like that without embarrassment.

    1. depicus

      Re: EE

      Indeed and these are two different metrics, Which is about customer service and OpenSignal is network.

    2. Andy Denton

      Re: EE

      On the rare occasions I've had to contact them, they've always been excellent. Whether or not it's to do with the length of time I've been with them (21 years minus a disastrous year with Vodafone), They always managed to solve whatever the issue was and if I threaten to leave, match any deal I've been offered elsewhere. I'm currently paying £4.99 per month for Unlimited calls/texts and 1gb of data. Don't need any more data as I'm nearly always near some Wi-Fi.

  16. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse

    Giff Gaff bollocks...

    Giff Gaff are full of shite and need to be hauled in front of the ASA. Their ads all pronounce that it's the "network run by you..." i.e. ME!!!!

    So when I phoned them up saying that I'm not going to pay for my top-up, they all got a bit shirty. In fact, when I told them that I actually owned the network, they flat out called me a liar. Eejit sheep feckers!!!! All of them.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    " Giffgaff doesn't offer customer phone service at all"

    I understood this when I started to use GG and haven't been disappointed by support levels in the last 4-5 years

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Giffgaff doesn't offer customer phone service at all"

      You say that like it's a bad thing.

      I would much rather drop a post on a forum, go my merry way, and read any replies at my convenience, than have to make a call with minutes on hold at the operators convenience, just to be passed from pillar to post and still not sort the issue.

      But given the direction of travel in life, it seems I'm odd. More and more companies only providing phone support.

  18. Spit The Dog

    Our GIFFGAFF Goody bag

    Costs £7.50 a month each for both of us for 2 GB, texts and 200 minutes of talk. Easily covers our usage. 15 quid a month and neither of us notice any data speed issues out here in Wilts compared with our previous provider VF who were hitting us with £40 a month sim only. In fact, in over subscribed data environments, 20000 crowd at football which I regularly attend, VF never had coverage and GG over O2 still works.

  19. kevinyeandel

    Article title "offensive" to those of us seeking quality and no commitment to third rate providers

    I'm not a cheapskate - Giffgaff didn't tie me into something it couldn't deliver like Vodafone and Orange had previously - if that changes, I can leave Giffgaff. I've been with them for many years and their business model is something Virgin, Vodafone, Orange and others can learn from.

    Nice one Giffgaff!

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Instant Chat

    I'm sick of having to hang on a web page waiting for an available "chat" operator. It does not improve customer experience except in specific circumstances.

    The advantage of email is it's a "fire and forget" message to the vendor and I can pick up their reply when it's convenient for me.

  21. Andy Taylor

    Which is the least worst provider?

    I recently left O2 after almost 10 years, in that time I always referred to them as the "least worst" provider.

    Having switched to the Three budget brand SMARTY, I'm almost missing O2, but my monthly bill is more than halved (from a SIM only 12 month deal) and that's before the rebate for unused data.

    The SMARTY model is simple - pay £5 per month for line/calls/texts and then £1.25 per GB for data. For non-inclusive numbers, you have to add call credit before calling, so it's impossible for me to call numbers that will incur a charge unless I choose to pay in advance. The only downside seems to be coverage isn't quite as good as O2.

    Why was O2 the "least worst"? One reason is that Vodafone and EE both fail to offer a 14 day return policy on contracts (unless purchasing in the Apple Store), they will even refuse to replace a faulty handset that is DOA, instead referring you to the Genius Bar or return for "repair".

    1. JulieM Silver badge

      Re: Which is the least worst provider?

      "Worst" is already a superlative. The phrase for which you are looking is "least bad".

  22. hottuberrol

    Interesting to note that the endless virtue-signalling posts on my LInkedIn from Vodafone people about how great a leader they are/ how humble they are to get recognised/ how they support gender diversity/ etc have dried up since Which UK pointed out that people despise their company. Coincidence? However I do think that over the last 4 years Voda have noticeably improved their network coverage and data service across everywhere I go in the UK. I wouldn't have been using them at all, given a choice, but my employer has a contract with them; before that, they messed up adding bundles to my personal phone several times despite contacting them, and I kept getting hit with obscene overage charges. Oh, and I also had their home broadband until about a year ago; they refused to take seriously my complaints about constant service interruptions over several months (which matter as I am frequently skypeing colleagues around the world from home); I'm now with sky, same copper cable out to the street, and voila, no service interruptions. so yes...their customer service does suck.

  23. Colin A

    I have to confess, I’m unsure as to what exactly is being compared here - poor customer service in terms of what? As the author has pointed out the “Poundland-style MVNOs don’t even have call centres”, so is the punter’s biggest beef really to do with poor customer service or is it related to other issues? The demographics of the subscribers of each operator are different, services will be consumed in different way/places and their expectations are unlikely to be the same. Perhaps one of the issues is mobile coverage or lack thereof. If this is indeed the case (and I suspect it might be), the underlying problem is to do with building structures and materials used. If operators, large or small, want to deliver better customer experiences they need to work alongside those companies dedicated to providing excellent in-building coverage. But like I said at the beginning, I’m not entirely sure what’s being compared in the survey and I can only second guess its consumer versus corporate customer service, or possibly subscriber expectations.

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