Best and worst mobile providers in 2023 for value for money and satisfaction – see where yours is on the list

Woman looking at mobile phone screen

THE best and worst mobile providers for value for money have been revealed by Which?.

The consumer website surveyed 3,400 mobile customers to get their opinion on 18 providers.

The best and worst mobile providers for value for money have been revealed by Which?

It comes as some of the UK’s biggest providers hiked prices by up to 17% mid-contract earlier this month, bringing fresh bill worries to households.

Customers were asked how they rated their companies in terms of satisfaction and likelihood to recommend.

Each was then given an overall customer score.

The results saw the “big four” providers – O2, EE Vodafone and Three – beaten out by “virtual networks” like GiffGaff, iD Mobile and Smarty.

Customers could be finding better value and good service with the smaller networks, Which? said.

The company to come out on top was Tesco Mobile, with a customer score of 80% – scoring the highest or equal-highest across all categories.

Giffgaff and Smarty were rated fifth for value for money with scores of 75%.

While Three scored the lowest out of the “big four”, with a customer rating of 66%.

Customers were the most likely to experience problems, including poor phone signal, network dropouts and problems resolving queries.

Vodafone fared slightly better with a customer score of 68%, receiving good ratings for network reliability and download speeds.

But it rated poorly for customer service and incentives despite offering perks like giveaways and cheap cinema tickets.

O2 and EE both scored 69% and came with “mediocre” scores across the board, but Which? noted O2 brought in the highest mid-contract price increases at 17.3% on parts of some customers’ bills.

The price hikes earlier this month left “millions caught in a Catch-22 where they either have to accept costly fee hikes or pay exorbitant fees to leave early”, Which? said.

Watchdog Ofcom is in the midst of a review into inflation-linked price rises, with initial findings set to be published later this year.

Rocio Concha, Which? director of policy and advocacy, added: “Which? believes it’s absolutely critical that Ofcom’s review of inflation linked mid-contract hikes results in changes that ensure customers are never trapped in this situation again.”

Meanwhile, despite Tesco being ranked the highest overall, it was stripped of its recommended provider endorsement by Which?.

This is because it has begun “baking above-inflation price increases into new customer contracts despite previously championing fixed prices”, Which? said, with price hikes starting from April next year.

Not all of the smaller networks shone brightly in Which?’s survey though.

Asda Mobile and Lycamobile came bottom of the table in joint 17th place with a customer score of 56%.

Both providers performed poorly on customer service, network reliability and download speeds.

Here is the full list and ranking of mobile providers:

  • 1 Tesco Mobile
  • 2 Lebara
  • 3 Voxi
  • 4 Plusnet Mobile
  • 5 = Giffgaff
  • 5 = Smarty
  • 7 Utility Warehouse
  • 8 iD Mobile
  • 9 Sky Mobile
  • 10 = EE
  • 10 = O2
  • 12 Vodafone
  • 13 = BT Mobile
  • 13 = Talkmobile
  • 13 = Virgin Mobile
  • 16 Three
  • 17 = Asda Mobile
  • 17 = Lycamobile

How can I cut my mobile bill?

If you think your bills are too high and want to drive them down, the first thing to do is find out what the cheapest deal on the market is.

You can use this rate as a bargaining tool to get a better offer with your provider.

Get in contact with your provider to see if they can match this rate – if not, you might want to switch instead.

If you’re mid-contract though and wish to leave, bear in mind that you could face an exit fee so check with your provider for any charges.

Plus, it could be harder haggling with these prices as they come most years from all providers.

And if you’re out of contract, switching when yours is up is the single best way to save money on your telecom bills.

In the weeks before your contract is up, use comparison sites to familiarise yourself with what deals are available.

It’s a known fact that new customers always get the best deals.

Sites like MoneySuperMarket and Uswitch all help you customise your search based on price, speed and provider.

This should make it easier to decide whether to renew your contract or move to another provider.

If your household is on a low income it’s also worth investigating social tariffs.

These broadband packages and discounts have been created for people who are receiving certain benefits.

They’re often available to those on income support, Universal Credit, or disability allowance.

Do you have a money problem that needs sorting? Get in touch by emailing [email protected]

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