Smaller mobile phone providers Giffgaff, Tesco Mobile and Asda Mobile have been voted best for customer service, with major networks Vodafone and EE coming bottom of the pile, according to a new poll of MoneySavingExpert.com users.
More than 10,000 of you rated your mobile provider's service as 'great', 'ok' or 'poor' with several 'piggyback' providers – which borrow network space from the four main providers' networks – scored highly. See our Cheap Mobile Phones guide to find the best handset, Sim-only and pay-as-you-go deals for you.
Giffgaff snapped up the top spot, with 65% of its users who voted rating its customer service 'great' and just 5% rating it 'poor'. Tesco Mobile came second, with 63% rating it 'great', followed by Asda Mobile, rated 'great' by 54%.
Both Giffgaff and Tesco Mobile piggyback on the main O2 network, while Asda borrows space from EE. See our Piggybacking guide for more on how this works and which network really provides your mobile signal.
In comparison, O2 and EE customers were much less positive about the customer service they receive, with the major networks pushed into sixth and ninth position respectively.
Another major provider, Vodafone, came in last place, with just 20% of its customers who voted rating it 'great' – and 28% saying it was 'poor'.
MoneySavingExpert.com's poll also asked users to rate their mobile providers' coverage – how strong the signal is when you need it – and again, Giffgaff, Tesco and Asda Mobile took the top spots, while Vodafone again came bottom of the pile.
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The full results
The table below details the full results on customer service:
The table below details the full results on coverage:
'You don't have to go with a big name for strong service'
Sally Francis, senior consumer writer at MoneySavingExpert.com, says: "To see the top spots being filled by piggyback providers is interesting – it shows you don't have to go with a big name for strong service. You can sometimes get better with a smaller provider – and they're often cheaper too.
"The coverage results are intriguing – it shouldn't really make a difference whether you're with one of the big providers or with a network that piggybacks on it, coverage should be the same as they share network space. It's likely that this is a reflection of a customer's overall impression of the provider – which still puts piggyback providers in a more favoured position.
"But whichever provider you're with, if you're not happy, you do have options. If you're out-of-contract and only unhappy with the price, haggling can seriously slash your monthly bills – all you need is a good dose of confidence and a little research on other deals out there to help your bargaining power.
"Alternatively, if you're tired of lousy coverage and poor service, vote with your feet – MoneySavingExpert's poll proves you're not limited to the big players."
See our Haggling and Cheap Mobiles guides for help cutting costs. If you have a gripe with your provider, first complain to the firm in question, and if that doesn't work, take it to the relevant ombudsman service – it differs depending on your provider.
You can use the free online complaints service Resolver* to help draft and send your complaint.
What does Vodafone say?
A spokesperson for Vodafone, which came bottom of the poll on both customer service and coverage, says: "We are always disappointed when customers are not wholly satisfied with the service they receive from us. Our teams want to provide our customers with a great service every time but looking at your survey results, we are clearly not there yet for some of your readers.
"Our £2 billion pound investment in our network and customer services over 2014 and 2015 is starting to deliver a step change in customer experience which we hope our customers are starting to feel and we remain determined to deliver our goal of providing the best customer experience in our industry."