The UK's worst mobile phone provider


Updated on 21 November 2019 | 29 Comments

Virgin Mobile is the UK’s worst mobile phone provider, according to the latest official complaints figures.

Virgin Mobile is the most complained about mobile phone company in the UK, new figures from Ofcom have revealed.

The telecoms watchdog said Virgin generated eight complaints per 100,000 customers between April and June this year, well above the industry average of three.

Customers’ main complaints about Virgin related to how their grievances were handled, as well as issues with billing, pricing and charges.

It means Virgin has now topped the complaints charts for six straight quarters, although it did come joint worst with Vodafone in the previous quarter.

If you're fed up with your provider, or simply need a new phone, why not compare deals with Carphone Warehouse?

Worst mobile networks

Vodafone generated the joint second highest number of complaints over the quarter alongside BT Mobile, with both receiving six per 100,000 customers.

The number of complaints about Three and Sky Mobile has declined from three to two between April and June.

This means both providers are now beating the industry average of three complaints per 100,000 customers.

Tesco Mobile retained its top spot, having generated the fewest complaints per 100,000 – one – for the ninth straight quarter.

O2, iD Mobile and EE – all with two complaints per 100,000 – were also among the providers to come in under the industry average of three complaints.

Full details are available in the graphic below.

It's worth flagging that while the amount of complaints appears low for these mobile providers, these are issues that have been escalated to Ofcom as customers have been unable to get their issue resolved directly with their provider.

So, the actual number of complaints to these mobile phone providers could be much higher. 

The number of complaints per 100,000 customers about mobile phone providers to Ofcom. (Image: Ofcom)

If you're fed up with your provider, here are the easiest ways to cancel your contract and you can search for new mobile phone deals on Carphone Warehouse.

Ofcom complaint figures

Ofcom publishes data on the number of complaints it receives about each of the big telecoms providers, including mobile phone networks, each quarter.

To give you a clearer picture of how the mobile network giants treat their customers, we've listed the complaints figures for the last four quarters in the table below.

Complaints per 100,000 customers over the last 12 months

Provider

 Q3 2018

 Q4 2018

Q1 2019

Q1 2019

Virgin Mobile

11

7

6

8

Vodafone

8

7

6

6

iD Mobile

N/A

2

2

2

BT

8

7

5

6

Three

4

4

3

2

O2

3

3

2

2

EE (aggregate of T-Mobile, Orange & 4GEE)

3

2

2

2

Sky Mobile

-

1

3

2

Tesco Mobile

1

1

1

1

Industry average

4

4

3

3

Mobile coverage

Practically speaking, the most important thing to keep in mind when buying any mobile phone is the coverage and reception of the handset and operator.

Yet when it comes to comparing the best networks for this, it gets a little tricky as so much of the signal strength depends on location.

The links below take you to each network’s coverage map or coverage checker, so you can get a decent idea of what coverage you can expect.

Get paid cashback on your mobile bills

Some current accounts now pay cashback on a range of household bills, like your mobile phone contract.

You could save with the Santander 123 Current Account which gives you up to 3% in cashback a month and the NatWest Reward Account, which pays 2% every month on certain bills.

NatWest is scrapping cashback on its Reward account from February 2020 – you can find out more details about what is changing here.

Find out which other providers you should be dodging by reading The UK’s worst pay TV providerThe UK's worst home phone provider and The UK’s best and worst broadband providers.

This article is regularly updated

Compare mobile phone deals at Carphone Warehouse

This article contains affiliate links, which means we may receive a commission on any sales of products or services we write about. This article was written completely independently.

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