/ Technology

How does your mobile provider rate for customer service?

Woman on mobile phone

When you think about great customer service, Asda and Tesco might not be the first names on your lips, but when it comes to mobile phones they seem to be leading the way. How does your mobile provider rate?

Our latest and greatest (involving over 8,000 respondents) mobile phone customer satisfaction survey has found that it’s these two supermarket brands that are delivering the best customer service – and highest satisfaction.

And it just goes to show that when you’re choosing the right provider you don’t have to compromise on customer service just for the sake of price.

Supermarkets are ahead of the mobile game

In the full results Tesco Mobile was the only network to be awarded Which? Recommended Provider status for its contract and Sim-only service. Only Asda, Tesco and O2 managed it for pay-as-you-go offering.

So what can explain these results? I do think that some of the supermarket brands benefit from lower expectations when it comes to how well their networks perform, although this is no excuse for the big brands performing poorly.

Orange and Vodafone, despite being two of the more expensive networks, had some pretty disappointing customer service scores. They were also the only two operators who appeared in the bottom half for both contract and pay-as-you-go (PAYG) customers.

As mobile giants, they need to tackle some the issues that are repeatedly springing up. If Tesco can manage it, why can’t they?

Low cost comes at a price

The survey also shows that a company can’t hide behind its low prices as an excuse for not treating its customers well. Some operators – like 3 – always seem to be panned for bad service, and this year’s results are no exception, although at least it looks like they are starting to get things right with their PAYG customers.

While 3 is still seen as one of the cheaper options for contract and Sim-only, Tesco is not only a rival on cost, it comes with much a better customer service score, as well as a better range of handsets and clearer bills.

It’s great to see some of the newer entrants, like the supermarkets, picking up good scores. I just hope it will kick some of the bigger names into action and provide us all with a better service.


Tesco PAYG Mobile for Me had ok customer services by e-mail,

So e-maile Tesco CEO & was refunded the £37.00p they took from My PAYG Credit, After I was lead to believe that My mobile internet on Tesco PAYG Mobile for £2.00p a week, Until opited out,

Yet it was never UNLIMITED & I got no warning it would be £4.00p Per Mega Bite & This cost Me all My remaining Tesco Mobile PAYG Credit 🙁

This All happended in August 2010, After I left Orange Contract of over 5 years, I thought I was on to a winner with Tesco PAYG Mobile & From My research I thought the too good to be true UNLIMITED Package wasn’t too hard to believe & Really thought it was UNLIMITED for £2.00p a week,

As said a both this wasn’t the case,

So I started looking for another opition form PAYG only sim cards & Did extra & more detailed research & I later found GiffGaff.Com who really were known from 2009 for offering 100% True UNLIMITED mobile internet, text messages, data/gps charges, & umlimited mobile & landline calls,

So I joined GiffGaff.Com later in August 2010 & Left Tesco PAYG Mobile,

I soon managed to successfult transfer to GiffGaff.Com & Its AMAZING & Id never leave 🙂

Sadly due some people in the uk using the mobile & landline UNLIMITED Packages as call centres/businesses,

This meant GiffGaff.Com only offer 100% True UNLIMITED Mobile Internet, Text Messages, & Data/GPS Charges,

But They Promise & Have Shown Mobile Internet On 30 Day Goody Bags Will ALWAYS OFFER 100% UNLIMITED MOBILE INTERNET 🙂

Sadly GiffGaff.Com hasn’t been big enough to take part in Which.Co.Uk studies,tests, or surverys 🙁 :/

Mike Tuplin says:
16 August 2013

I tried Giffgaff for 10 days but there is no designated customer service-relying on other members to help out. I couldn`t even get my number transferred and went back to Tesco to get my number back and my phone working properly again. A complete waste of time and money.

I agree that Orange Mobile customer services for contract & Orange PAYG mobiles,

Had Very Poor Customer Services & I Had to complain through Orange’s CEO E-Mail address many times over My 5 + years with them.

Orange still have not informed the credit report agentcies that My accounts SETTLED & Closed Since August 2010, Its still appearing as open & Incorrect date of birth & They’ve still not fixed this.

So Yes Orange Mobile Customer Services BAD, Even at the highest levels 🙁 :/

I’d say the close second to GiffGaff.Com would be Asda PAYG Mobile, & Then 3rd Talk Mobile.

I must say I am very surprised Tesco PAYG Mobile Or Even there contracts got an award from Which.Co.Uk, As there were some bad exprincies on BBC Watchdog & From My own Exprincies from Tesco PAYG Mobile.

Mikhail says:
28 April 2011

Tesco Mobile = O2 = bad services, hidden costs, unfair charges and overloaded network! I have serious concerns regarding the authenticity of the research – “Which? Mobile Recommended Provider status” particularly “Cost of use abroad”, sorry to say but I could not find any information about Tesco Mobile roaming (already bad) but O2 roaming charges are one of the worst! Ironically, Tesco Mobile has 4 stars in this category and my beloved Vodafone only 3, but Vodafone only charges me 0.70 Pence for 60 minutes of incoming calls anywhere in EU and NZ and Australia. Haven’t seen any one who could beat that!

I have amazing bad luck with my providers – I use 3 for my mobile broadband and T-Mobile for my phone – the top 2 offenders apparently!

I’ve been having non-stop problems with both of them over the last 2 months after being away. I waited 6 weeks for delivery of a new dongle from 3 until I gave up and just bought one from a 3 shop – but since then have been having huge problems claiming back the money I paid and for the time that I was without the service.

T-Mobile have been just as bad for not including credits and leaving out parts of my allowance on my bill – enough that my bill went from £21 to £59.

Both of these operators have apalling customer service – although I have to say 3 is slightly better due to their operators having a better understanding of English. Which brings into focua the main reason I think their customer service is so bad – they’re based in India and very often don’t understand what I’m trying to say. I had to explain what I meant by ‘payment under protest’ and when I queried a charge, was put on hold for 5 minutes before the advisor came back and confirmed that I had been charged… I was put on hold again when I said I knew I’d been charged but wanted to know why! My average call to these companies has been 45 minutes of soul-destroying frustration.

However, I have heard good things about Vodaphone from most of my colleagues who have them – although they are slilghtly more expensive.

re calls to helplines – i agree these are DREADFUL.

most are to REVENUE SHARING premium lines where they get part of the call cost at our expense.

you are almost always put ON HOLD and often the DISCONNECTED.

they are laughing all the way to the bank.

i dont make calls if i cant find a freephone number on SAYNOTO0870 website.

Geoff says:
7 May 2011

I feel like a lone voice….but we switched to 3 about 5 years ago and the service, including tech support, has been excellent. Recently had a problem with e-mail on an iPhone which was essentially a BT issue but 3 came up with a workaround. I would also say that the bundles we have are great value.

Andrew says:
8 May 2011

Geoff, I, too, have had excellent service from 3 – especially at their shop in Cambridge. By far and away the most knowledgeable and helpful staff, never in the least bit pushy, either. I’ve moved the whole family onto 3 – and just gone onto their One-plan with my superb HTC Desire HD.
O2 really annoyed me by charging the earth until I asked for a PAC code, then suddenly making offer after improved offer to try and keep me. I feel with Three I am getting their best price, rather than being exploited as I clearly was with O2.

raja says:
14 May 2011

I had been with orange for over 7 years and have recently taking the decision to move to three. I was very apprehensive having read the poor signal and customer service feedback on forums. However I have to confess to being extreemly pleased with the service overall. Each time I have phoned they have been courteous attentive and solved the issue.

First issue was transfering my number from orange to three 2nd was to resolve faulty pixel on new phone and both occasions good. Network coverage is also far greater than orange! Would strongly recommend given that I am very particular about service as a whole.

I would seriously join GiffGaff.Com 🙂 Its the best Pay Aa You Go (PAYG) & Offers 100% UNLIMITED Mobile Internet Access & Text Messages, If You Buy a 30 Days Goody Bag 🙂

Neil Pugh says:
14 September 2011

Tesco Mobile are the worst service provider. They are always the last network to release OS updates, see here for many disgruntled customers:



a payg mobile broadband topup failed to deliver but the money was taken from my credit card account.

they require proof of this in the shape of the credit card statement.

fair enough.

they ask me to FAX it to them.

i have faxed it ten – yes TEN times – they say it hasnt arrived – send it again !!

can i post it to them ? no they wont acept that.

can i attach a copy to an EMAIL? NO

My local O2 shop are unable to take it up for me.

my only remedy is to issue a court summons.

Hi @ DaveTParkes,

You can send Your bank statement by post, Also e-mail straight to The O2 CEO, Along with Your complaint/s.

Make sure You black out any bank account details & keep sort codes in, & Block parts of Your address out.

Find Me through Twitter.Com, Or I’ll try getting WhichConvo to pass on the details of where to find The O2 CEO’s e-mail address 🙂

Best Of Luck 🙂

many thanks scott A J

i will certainly email the CEO if i can get the email address.
i doubt there are any useful email addresses on their website.

[Hi Dave, we’ve edited some of this comment out as it was repetitive and included some personal information – thanks, Mods]

Try This Website: http://www.ceoemail.com & Hopefully WhichConvo Will Allow It To Be Posted Up On Here &/Or Forwarded To You By E-Mail.

Scott1984_FP From Twitter.Com

[Hi Scott, we’ve removed the email address as it breaks our T&Cs, but hopefully the website you have included will help. Thanks, mods.]


great !!

i HAVE found the email address of the O2 CEO on this website.

i noticed it has many hundreds of useful looking contacts.

i will post here again with an update soon.

many thanks again


i will add here that this year i was involved in a very long running fight with a major city council regarding my 96 year old mother.

i played it very straight for many months and many dozens of emails.

eventually lost patience with blatant obstruction and delay.

i sent a stiff letter to the ceo.

within a week they had capitulated.

so it can work !!!

Hi Dave & Which Convo Team/Staff 🙂

Thanks for allowing the ceomail website to be uploaded 🙂

Sorry I had no idea we couldn’t post O2 CEO’s e-mail address, even though its already public with CEOEMail website & Twitter.Com Account 🙂

CEO’s always get there ceo offices & staff to work through the problems straight away.

Good Luck 🙂

I’ll be changing to Tesco PAYG after T-Mobile cancelled my PAYG account without notification and took my money (I was £27 in credit.) They said it was because of non-use. I carry the phone for emergency purposes only and rarely receive a call, but had been keeping the account alive – so I thought – by regularly checking my balance every month. T-Mobile claimed that this didn’t count because although I was using the account it wasn’t chargeable. They refused to return my money and would only give me 50% of it as credit.
They said that they were perfectly entitled to take all my money and not give any of it back when I asked, because OFCOM says they can. Strangely though, I can’t find T-Mobile on the list of companies that OFCOM says you can complain to them about.
Incredible, appalling, and disgusting. I am astonished that this is legal.

Orange customer service is appalling. I phoned Orange customer services 7 times to unlock my iPhone, after being with them for 21 months, and each time was told that the my request had not been processed, before I found someone who did actually process the request to unlock, only to be told it was going to take 30 days. That means that I have an expensive phone that I won’t be able to use for in excess of a month, and even then, based on past experience, not sure that they will actually unlock MY phone that I paid for. It was a waste of time complaining to Orange customer services as they took 5 days to respond (not the 2 days published on their website), advising me to phone Orange customer services to unlock the phone, which obviously meant that they hadn’t actually read my complaint.

Orange have appalling customer service and appalling communication, ironic considering that they’re supposed to be a communications company.

MHughes says:
8 February 2012

Orange has rock-bottom Customer Service. Below rock-bottom – in fact, it can only be compared with a broken underground sewer.
When you continually get that message from Orange: ‘We’re sorry, we’re unable to continue processing your call…….’ here are the ways to circumvent their abusive system:
1. When the automated voice asks for your phone number, put in random numbers.
DO NOT put in your own mobile number if you have previously received the message above, when doing so.
2. When you eventually get through to a call centre in India, insist that your issue is resolved by them.
3. If this fails: go back on the automated call service and select SALES. Orange Sales Department are quick to answer the phone – unlike Orange Existing Customers line.
If every Orange Customer who is unable to get through to Customer Services about their existing contract clogs the lines of Sales – eventually Orange will have to provide Customer Services on the right lines.
4. Send an email to Orange for every single telephone call you make that fails; IE: if you try the line 75 times, send 75 emails. Time and date each one. Copy and paste to save time, but vary the content each time by a couple of words at the top. (Maybe the time and date). They will have to action the emails or assign a reference number to each email. This is your proof when you finally speak to them to pursue your complaint. If they fail to help you, you have a record which you can send to Ofcom.
5. Make sure you are extremely vocal about their failure when you eventually get a supervisor to deal with your problem. If you feel they have breached their contract with you by their poor customer service, save it for the emails and Ofcom.
Orange tell you that you can never end a contract with them. It is true that it is easier to end your marriage in the UK than end a mobile phone contract. But unless Orange Customer Service step up and wipe their shoes, I urge you to pursue your complaint as far as you can go.

Gail Higgins says:
15 March 2012

Orange mobile have completely disappointed me. My partner’s phone broke a month ago and his insurance had “dropped off”. He called a week before an upgrade, and although he has no mobile phone and hasn’t done for a month, they refused to bring the upgrade forward. Ridiculous when you think they are asking for an 18 month resign of the contract.

Most outrageous bit is that this happened to me before with Orange and they were more than happy to upgrade. One rule for one. I think I’ll go with Tesco.

drew says:
30 April 2012

Been with Orange for a while absolutely useless. Without fail signal drops out in central london at busy times. Customer services refuse to admit any problems with their network being overloaded instead repeated instructed me to change settings on my phone. After months of frustration attempting to cancel only leads to being put through to “retentions” which is a never-ending repetition of reasons why you should not cancel and attempts to convince you to stay. I think you should steer well clear.

stanton says:
4 November 2013

T-mobile are the worst
I was given a faulty phone and two years ago and since have had 8 replacements. But the worst thing ever was that they charged me £1785.00 for one month and refused to give in to the fact that the mobile they gave me was faulty and was ringing up costs. They expected me to replace the phone myself and said that I should claim the costs from the Apple as it is a Apple product that was giving to me.
No apologies or sympathy for the grief and trauma I had gone through.

wolfgang says:
3 March 2014

‘Pay as you go’ credit ran out this morning. Didn’t get notification from Vodafone – or rather received a text “text missing” which I assumed was a marketing thing. A friend had just informed me of some very bad luck to which I thought I had responded but only later this evening realised that the text hadn’t gone. Immediately tried to top-up on the mobile with a registered card. Message said that service wasn’t available at the time but would be later. I re-tried over 4 hours. Then went on to the internet. Logged on and entered all the card details etc. Pressed ‘process’ – message appeared that ‘link broken … you may have terminated link …’ etc. etc. Repeated the process; same result. Not at all impressed and very much under the impression that this is because I am on ‘pay as you go’ and not a contract.

Anna says:
8 November 2015

Yes. I have had a three-week total nightmare with Vodafone since the death of my phone inside contract. I was forced to upgrade and pay an early exit fee when I was not leaving out of choice! That was just the beginning…. I left yesterday, but do not know where to go now after reading these comments which are saying that they are all the same.

Reinhard says:
14 March 2018

I had been with Vodafone for two years before my patience finally ran out. Had to spend £50 for an additional box to get a signal. When the box packed up after a year, I bought another one – didn’t work. I spent over 4 hours on the phone on separate days talking to a friendly but incompetent call centre in India (very hard to understand). I took the new box back to the shop and they refused to refund the money. It was only after insisting that I had tried everything to get it to work, did they refund the money. I left my contract prematurely, since I couldn’t get any signal. Vodafone charged me over £400 as a penalty. Avoid like the plague!! Now got a Tesco, sim only deal for £6 per month instead of £46 from Vodafone.

Susan says:
23 July 2014

T-Mobile are dreadful. After over 10 years as a loyal customer, they refused to remove £10 from a bill which I disputed because I could not actually access my voice message account when I was abroad in the States. They still put through the charges. They said that I could pick up these message; and refused to be reasonable. They were happy to give me a PAC code right away. This shows that they are rolling in the money and do not really care about customer loyalty. A complete shambles! Do not even think about moving to T-Mobile. A disgrace! How do you figure this – loyal customer after 10 years and paying on a monthly contract very promptly. All I can say is that I am a mug. I am going to give GiffGaff a try.

Having read the fairly good report Asda mobile, I have made the mistake of trying to transfer my existing mobile number to Asda. It was supposed to take 2 days. That was 4 days ago and I have just been told that it could be another five days, during which time I basically have no phone. The process that I have started cannot be reversed. I have also been told by their call centre that I can’t speak to anyone else about it, nor do they have a formal complaints procedure (which I find incredible). I am totally stuck and very frustrated.
If you are considering moving to Asda – based on my experience: DON’T DO IT.

John says:
30 March 2015

I’ve had a PAYG deal with Tesco for the past 4 years. I took out a contract with them as they were recommended by Which for overseas use. All went well until last month when I arrived in Abu Dhabi to be greeted by a message on my phone ” you have arrived in a country where you cannot use your phone” I used it the previous year but Tesco have apparently changed their contract with the local network and the service is no longer available. That’s no use to me as I travel to the UAE at least once a year and need to use my phone. I will be changing my provider probably to vodafone.

After 11+ years with T-Mobile I joined Vodafone a few months ago and have experienced how appalling they are. How on earth is it possible for a so-called telecommunications giant that they cannot remove a spam subrscription that has been not only harrassing me with texts to click on suspicious links but also Vodafone billed me £6 for this. Why do they refuse or unable to remove this spam subscription called CoMob for which there is info on the Internet that they are spam targetting phone customers.

Send an online letter to ombudsman to see if they can sort this out. I guess I am appalled as I didn’t like falling victim to a known spam subscription which came out of the blue (new phone, new number never used for any service or typed on a web page) as this wasn’t why I left T-Mob after 11 years to join them.

I am pretty happy with Tesco broadband which I have been using for 3-4 years now with nada technical or customer services problem. So I guess it’s Tesco for me for my mobile when the contract with Vodafone expires. Keep up the good work Tesco.

Wendy G says:
11 February 2016

Have joined giffgaff, but wish there was an agent to speak direct to….where we live, no reception at all, and wonder if there is hope for this to arrive before too long. W