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Which UK mobile network attracts the most customer complaints?

UK mobile network
Hang ups: Virgin Mobile's customers aren't happy

That dubious crown goes to Virgin Mobile, which has overtaken Vodafone to become the UK mobile network that attracts the most customer complaints. 

Every quarter, telecoms watchdog Ofcom publishes which mobile network attracts the most moans – it’s one of the best things Ofcom does, in fact. Nowt forces a company to up its game like a good old public shaming.

Ofcom’s latest figures show how many complaints per 100,000 customers it receives about the UK’s biggest mobile networks.

NETWORKCOMPLAINTS PER 100,000 CUSTOMERS
Virgin Mobile11
Vodafone9
iD Mobile5
BT 5
Industry average4
Three3
O23
EE2
Tesco Mobile1

And here’s a graph showing how the level of complaints against each network has climbed/fallen in recent years:

What can we learn from these figures? Well, after years of being by some distance the most complained about network, Vodafone appears to be getting its act together, consistently getting half the level of complaints it was two years ago.

BT’s mobile arm has also recorded its best score since it started being tracked, although it’s not exactly champagne time for either network.

Virgin Mobile appears to be heading in the wrong direction, going from bad to worst. 

Virgin is what’s known as a MVNO or virtual network – it doesn’t put up its own phone masts and operate its own network. Instead, it piggybacks on the EE network. Given EE itself performs pretty well in Ofcom’s test, it seems Virgin Mobile’s customer service may be more to blame than the core network itself. 

iD Mobile – a new entrant in the Ofcom tables – is also a virtual network that uses Three, while the best performing company of the lot, Tesco Mobile, runs off O2. 

Given O2 also scores pretty highly, it seems that network must be doing something right. 

Finally, how pleasing is it that Three attracts three complaints per 100,000 customers?

Now read this: Will free roaming end after Brexit?

About the author

Barry Collins

Barry has scribbled about tech for almost 20 years for The Sunday Times, PC Pro, WebUser, Which? and many others. He was once Deputy Editor of Mail Online and remains in therapy to this day. Email Barry at barry@bigtechquestion.com.

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