/ Technology

Are you a loyal lapdog to your mobile provider?

Never switched mobile phone provider? You could be missing out on big savings, along with millions of other Brits. So what’s stopping you? I’ve switched and I don’t know why I didn’t do it earlier.

You may have read about the death of my “brick” Nokia mobile – it coincided with my desire to purchase a pricey smartphone. The question was, should I stick with my current mobile provider (O2) or scurry off to a new one. The answer? Whatever would get me the best deal. Sadly, not everyone thinks this way.

Brits aren’t switching

A Which? survey found that nearly half of British mobile owners have never switched provider – that’s almost 20 million of us.

It’s nice to feel comfortable and happy with your provider, but you could be paying over the odds when there are new tariffs launched almost every other day.

And most of the time, it’s just for the sake of convenience. I know what it’s like – I was with O2 for around eight years. I felt like I was getting a good sim-only deal – £10 a month for 300 texts, which O2 later upped to “unlimited” texts. However, looking back, that offer was definitely well past its sell-by date – I was just too lazy to move on.

What’s stopping you?

My desire to buy my way into the 21st Century with a smartphone purchase meant I had to find the cheapest (and shortest) contract. Yet, once I’d found the best deal I still didn’t want to turn back on my old mate O2. And as a loyal customer I felt I might be able to get them to match or beat the offer I’d tracked down.

I rang them up, explained how long I’d been with them and how much I’d spent over the past eight years. Could they match the offer I’d found? Nope, they weren’t interested – in their own words ‘we don’t give better deals to loyal customers than new ones’.

In a way they did me a favour – I bought my phone outright and got myself a Sim from GiffGaff – and let’s just say this deal is miles ahead of my legacy O2 offer.

So, I get more bang for my buck, and according to Which? Mobile’s research, 5.3 million Brits also think they spend less on their mobiles after switching. I just wish I’d done it sooner.


I was on a £15 a month SIM only contract with T-Mobile for ages, then I had a leaflet through the post from Virgin – my TV, landline & internet provider – offering me an HTC smartphone with free text, calls and internet for £15. “Can T-Mobile match this?” I thought, so off I traipsed my my local T-Mobile store (is it me or are mobile phone stores amongst the most miserable places on earth?).

to cut a long story short, they were unable to match the offer from Virgin, so when I spoke with their customer service person at T-Mobile HQ to get my PAC code, which would allow me to take my number with me to VIrgin, I asked it they could offer me a better deal then they could in the store.

After 10 minutes of negotiation I happily walked out with the HTC Wildfire for free (I wanted the HTC Desire but I’m not grumbling) and a 24 month contract for £5 per month! I only have 100 minutes of talk time but I rarely use these as I have a landline and bad reception in my flat anyway, ‘unlimited’ internet on the phone and 100 text. Not much in the way of text messages, but I also get a free package that allows me to have unlimited text messages each month.

I’m not much of a haggler but I feel like I did well.

Rowantree says:
26 August 2011

Hi I had a similar experience with 02.
I wanted to change my iPhone 3gs for and iPhone4 but 02 were not interested in matching the deal with Tesco. Only when I tried to get my pac number they became interested but by that time I didn’t want to know them.
My husband now has my 3gs with a sim from giffgaff and I have a new 12 month deal from Tesco. we are both happy with the outcome.

Anne says:
28 August 2011

Big up for Vodafone here. I’ve been with them for six years and am unlikely to move because the companies I’ve been interested in switching to (O2 or Orange, wouldn’t touch the other providers with a bargepole for various reasons) have been unable to match the deal I have with Vodafone.

I pay just under £30 for 600 minutes, unlimited texts and unlimited internet, with a 12-month contract. The closest I can find is Orange’s Panther 35, which is £35 a month, but only includes BT Openzone W-Fi. Mobile internet is over £10 extra. And it’s a 24-month contract. When I phoned Orange and asked if they could match my Vodafone tariff, do you know what they did? They laughed.

O2’s closest offering is 600 minutes and unlimited texts for £26 if you take out a 24-month contract, on selected phones. Otherwise it’s £31 for 24 months, or £36 for either 18 or 24 months. Mobile internet is an extra £3-£10 a month. Again, when I contacted them, they flat out refused to match Vodafone’s tariff.

I think the deal I have with Vodafone is outstanding. I have never yet seen a reason to switch. Every time my contract runs out, they give me a better deal because I’m such a loyal customer. Not every phone company treats existing customers like cr&p.

One other thing to say about Vodafone. I broke my phone with six months to go on my contract (it was my fault, I dropped it on a concrete pavement one too many times) and didn’t want to buy a new handset. I rang Vodafone and said, look, I don’t have insurance, I can’t do an early upgrade yet, and I don’t want to pay for a new handset. Is there any way you could just give me a new phone, please? And they said yes, if I added another 12 months onto my contract, I could have a new phone, free, that week.

And I would switch because…?

Anne says:
28 August 2011

That should have said otherwise it’s £31 for 12 months, my mistake.

i’m interested in giffgaff.

i only need a mobile phone when on holiday in the months of june and september.

i cant find out from the giffgaff site if i have to top up EVERY month or if i can just top up when i want.

and is there any contract legnth?

thanks for any ideas.


many thanks – it sound a good idea.

i did have another thought – assuming i puchase a new unlocked phone
whether the giffgaff sim would then create a lock on the o2 network.

while im at it – the reason i’m looking around is because my virgin payg charges have been hiked from 20 to 40p/min with no notification in writing or email which i would think is illegal.

thanks again.