Vodafone has been named as the UK’s worst mobile phone provider by the consumer group Which?
It is the seventh year running that Vodafone has come bottom of the consumer group’s annual survey of how happy the UK public is with their mobile operator. Utility Warehouse, the energy and communications company, was named as the firm with the happiest mobile customers.
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Vodafone had the worst customer score (49%) – a combination of satisfaction and likelihood to recommend to a friend – with one in six customers (16%) saying they would not recommend the company to a friend or family member.
Vodafone was the only mobile operator in the survey to report a customer score below 50%.
Last year, EE shared the lowest ranking with Vodafone. This year, it managed to pull itself off the foot of the table – albeit ranking second worst – improving its services significantly enough to put clear air between it and Vodafone with a customer score of 56%.
The Which? report found 14% of EE’s customers paid more than £50 a month for the mobile contract, with 17% saying they find their contract too expensive.
Vodafone, which two years ago paid out £4.6m over “serious and sustained” breaches of consumer protection rules, said it felt hard done by and that the report was not accurate.
“Improving service for our customers is a top priority and we have been working hard to deliver results,” a Vodafone spokesman said. “These findings published by Which? really don’t match up with what our customers are telling us, with our own, independently verified, customer satisfaction scores jumping 13 points from last year to their best ever level.”
Smaller brands that use the infrastructure of the big players to run their own services performed significantly better.
Sky Mobile, which launched at the beginning of last year, ranked third with a score of 79%. GiffGaff, which is owned by O2 parent company Telefonica, ranked second (81%) while Asda Mobile (77%) and Tesco Mobile (75%) rounded out the top five.
“The biggest providers are lagging behind smaller rivals who are doing a better job of giving customers what they want in terms of service and value for money,” said Alex Neill, a managing director at Which?
Last week, media regulator Ofcom revealed that Vodafone and BT were the most-complained about mobile operators in the final three months of last year.