Which? asked 6,135 of its members last February to rate their mobile network provider on an array of factors such as rewards, value for money and crucially customer service. The published results cover thirteen networks in the UK and include the markets biggest players such as O2, Vodafone, EE and Three, none of which made the top five.
Unlike the top three ranked networks GiffGaff, Utility Warehouse and Plusnet, Vodafone does own the infrastructure on which its service is built, however. The company is also on track to be one of the main players in delivering 5G coverage to the UK.
Is Vodafone (that) bad?
Despite the poor overall ranking, Vodafone came third in Which?’s ranking of 4G average speeds and availability, in tests conducted alongside Opensignal. The company has invested around £2 billion in its network and services over the last few years, with another £2 billion committed for the next few.
Customer service failures appear to be its main issue: regulator Ofcom in its latest report found that Vodafone “dropped to the second most complained-about pay-monthly mobile provider [from most complained about] alongside BT Mobile. In this period it generated eight complaints per 100,000 customers, double the industry average (four per 100,000 customers).”
Ofcom also took action against Vodafone in 2016 following revelations that Vodafone had failed to add the correct amount of credit to thousands of its pay-as-you-go customer devices. Vodafone was fined £4.6 million for this infraction.
A Vodafone UK spokesperson told Computer Business Review: “[We are] sorry that Which? members aren’t as happy as they could be with our service and are working hard to understand the issue and what more we can do.”
“We are determined to provide our customers with the best possible mobile service. We continue to invest in our network, our customer service and our products and last month saw our consumer satisfaction score reach its highest ever level.”
The second worst network according to Which?’s members was EE. Yet according to Which? and Opensignal, EE provides some of the best 4G coverage in the UK, as EE customers should be able to access 4G reception over 85 percent of the time.
Ofcom reported that EE only received a respectable three complaints per 100,000 customers in the third quarter of 2018. However, it did receive a slap on the wrist in 2017 as Ofcom found that it had overcharged more than 30,000 of its customers; EE was fined £2.7 million for this incident.
In a statement to Computer Business Review EE was quick to point out the even though the company is ranked second-lowest on the table, the report did highlight its 4G coverage.
A spokesperson for EE commented that: “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.”