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Britain’s ‘Big Four’ Mobile Providers are Being ‘Outshone’ by Smaller Firms

Ross Kelly


Mobile Providers

A survey found major providers were beaten by smaller firms piggybacking on their networks.

Some of the UK’s biggest mobile providers are being outperformed by smaller rivals, according to research from consumer rights group, Which?

According to the group’s annual customer satisfaction survey, O2, EE, Vodafone and Three were outperformed by Tesco Mobile, Giffgaff and Sky Mobile on customer service, value for money and service reliability.

Giffgaff ranked first place in the survey, with 91% of respondents saying they would recommend the service to peers.

Meanwhile, Tesco Mobile and Sky Mobile both ranked joint second alongside Smarty.

Rocio Concha, Director of Policy and Advocacy at Which?, said: “Our research found that the biggest mobile providers are being outshone by their smaller rivals.

“A provider should not only give you good network reliability but also value for money and customer support when you need it.”

Concha added: “If customers are out of contract but happy with the service they’re receiving, they should try negotiating a new deal, but if all else fails it might be time to switch.”

Although the ‘Big Four’ providers serve nearly 90% of UK customers, the survey shows that consumers across the country are increasingly choosing smaller providers.

Tesco Mobile, Giffgaff and Sky Mobile all piggyback on O2’s network, which ranked in fifth place, the highest position of the Big Four.

According to the survey, O2 received a high rating for ease of contact, but many customers noted it offered a below average experience in terms of value for money.

Tesco Mobile and Sky Mobile also scored higher than O2 on value for money, the report says.

EE and Vodafone fell into the bottom half of the rankings in the latest survey, with both performing poorly on value for money.

In a statement, Which? suggested the poor feedback could be attributed to the fact that 7% of their customers have received incorrect or expensive bills.


Of the Big Four providers, Three received the lowest score. Value for money and network reliability were both acknowledged as weak points.

Three customers were most likely to experience network outages lasting more than a whole day.

Similarly, one-in-ten said they had experienced “unexpected or unreasonable” price hikes during their time using this provider.

Much like O2, Three was beaten by a smaller operator which uses its network, Smarty.

Ross Kelly

Staff Writer

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