Which Mobile Network Has The Best Customer Service?

Latest results revealed in Ofcom report

Network coverage and price are important, but great customer service is what we all really want when we run into a problem or need to speak to our network provider. Ofcom monitor customer service performance in the UK and have released their findings on how providers perform and compare.

  • While satisfaction is high, Ofcom calls out networks on poor performance
  • Call waiting times are still above pre-pandemic levels
  • Only 50% of customers are satisfied with how complaints are dealt with

Overall, customer satisfaction levels remain high (mobile: 91%, broadband: 83%, landline: 77%). But waiting times and complaint handling are the areas some providers need to improve.

Ofcom has asked that providers, especially those sitting at the bottom of the table, prioritise customer service improvements and deliver what customers expect and pay for.

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Between 2019 (1min 18s) and 2020 (2min 7s) call waiting times doubled due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic but the average time that mobile customers had to wait to speak to their provider was up again in 2021 to 2min 15s.

O2’s mobile customers were kept waiting the longest on average last year – 3min 59s, up by 1min 42s since 2020.

BT MobileEEiD Mobile and Vodafone’s average call waiting times were also longer in 2021 compared to the previous year.

Three was the fastest to answer customer calls, averaging just 16 seconds.

Tesco Mobile and Virgin Mobile reduced their wait times in 2021, but Sky Mobile and Three were the only mobile firms to reduce waiting times to pre-pandemic levels.

Mobile network call waiting times


Would you like to make a complaint?

On average, one in ten mobile customers said they had reason to complain about their service or provider in 2021.

But only half of customers who actually complained to their provider in 2021 were satisfied with the handling of their issue. This is true across all networks, with no provider scoring more than 57%.

Most customers had to get in touch with their provider more than once to get their complaint resolved.  Among those whose complaints had been completely resolved, only 43% of mobile complaints were completely resolved on first contact.

Best and worst customer service scores

Virgin had lower than average overall satisfaction scores for mobile (83% vs 91%). Virgin customers were also less likely than average to recommend their provider to a friend, and it was the most complained-about mobile provider of the year.

Tesco Mobile are not one of the quickest companies to answer the phone to its customers, however, it was the only mobile provider to achieve a higher-than-average satisfaction level (96% vs 91%). On the other side, Three had the lowest average call waiting time by a long way but it also had a relatively low overall satisfaction score (86%) compared to an industry average of 91%.

Tesco Mobile also attracted the fewest complaints to Ofcom and its customers were more likely than average to recommend their provider to a friend, while Three customers were less likely than average to do so.

David Michael, mobile phone expert at Direct Mobiles says: “Customers pay for a service and expect their provider to deliver. For customers to have to wait longer in 2021 for some networks to pick up the phone compared to 2020 shows that the industry has some work to do.  Customers expect a fast resolution to problems too, not multiple calls that waste everyone’s time and no doubt cost the network money too.”

“It’s great to see Tesco Mobile delivering such strong results, and Three’s call waiting time deserves recognition.  Hopefully O2 realising their at the bottom of the table will prompt them to make some rapid improvements.”

“If customers are unhappy with their current network, they should check their contract end date and see when they can switch to a new provider but you should ensure you check coverage in your area too.”

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