The UK's best and worst mobile phone providers


Updated on 07 September 2021 | 35 Comments

Tesco, Sky and EE customers are the happiest, while Three customers had the most complaints, official figures show.

Tesco Mobile, Sky and EE  all generated the joint-fewest official complaints among pay-monthly customers, the latest quarterly figures from the telecoms watchdog have revealed.

At the other end of the table, Three was the provider with the highest number of complaints.

According to Ofcom, the most common gripe among Three's pay-monthly customers related to billings and charges (28%), followed by complaints handling (25%) and faults, service, and provisioning (16%).

If you're fed up with your provider, or simply need a new phone, why not compare deals with Carphone Warehouse(note: we'll receive a small commission for any purchase you make)

Best and worst: networks ranked

The graphic from Ofcom below highlights how all the major networks compare and covers the three months from January to March 2021, which are the latest figures available.

It's worth pointing out that, while the number of complaints appears low for all mobile providers, these are issues that customers have needed to escalate to Ofcom as they've been unable to resolve their issue directly with their provider. 

So the actual number of complaints made directly to network providers will be much higher. 

Best and worst mobile providers

Mobile complaints (Image: Ofcom)

In the first-ever three-way tie, Tesco Mobile, Sky and EE all generated just one official complaint per 100,000 customers.

Remarkably, no other mobile provider has generated a lower number of complaints than Tesco since the regulator Ofcom first added the company to its complaints league table back in 2014, so it could well be worth joining them if you're looking to switch deals soon.

O2 came in second place with two complaints per 100,000 and was the only other provider to come in under the industry average of three per 100,000.

At the other end of the scale, Three both generated the most complaints at six per 100,000 customers.

Virgin Mobile and iD Mobile fared slightly better with five complaints per 100,000, with Vodafone (4) and BT (3) directly above them in the table.

Which providers offer consistently good service?

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

Looking at such a short period can be unreliable – any provider can have a problem that takes a few months to fix, after all.

In order to give you a clearer picture of how the mobile network giants consistently fare, we've listed the complaints figures for the last six quarters in the table below.

If you're fed up with your provider, take a look at our pain-free guide to cancelling your contract then search for a new mobile phone deal on Carphone Warehouse or another comparison site.

Complaints per 100,000 customers over the last 18 months

Provider

Q4 2019

Q1 2020

Q2 2020

Q3 2020

Q4 2020

Q1 2021

 

Virgin Mobile

5

5

5

9

5

5

Vodafone

6

5

4

5

5

4

iD Mobile

2

2

2

4

6

5

BT mobile

5

5

4

4

4

3

Three

6

5

6

7

6

6

O2

2

2

2

2

2

2

EE

2

2

1

2

2

1

Sky Mobile

1

3

1

1

2

1

Tesco Mobile

1

1

0.4

1

1

1

Industry average

3

3

3

4

3

3

Mobile coverage

Practically speaking, the most important thing to keep in mind when signing up for any phone contract is the coverage and reception offered by the operator (you can read how about the best networks for signal and speed here).

Ultimately, an extremely helpful call centre is of little use if you can't even phone them in the first place!

To make sure you don't live in a particular network's 'blackspot', the links below will take you to each network’s coverage map or coverage checker, so you can get a decent idea of the coverage you can expect where you live.

Finally, 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.

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.

 

Don't waste your time with these ropey providers!

The UK’s worst pay TV provider

The UK's worst home phone provider

The UK’s best and worst broadband provider

 

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