MVNOs beat network partners in customer satisfaction

Poor customer service provided by network operators is allowing MVNOs to outrank them. According to new research, Virgin Mobile and Tesco Mobile outperformed their operator partners in almost all areas of customer services.

The study, undertaken by the price comparison site uSwitch and research firm YouGov, surveyed over 6,700 mobile phone users and ranked service providers for both contract and prepay services on a number of categories, including: network coverage, choice of handsets, customer service, online services, roaming tariffs and value for money.

Virgin Mobile dominated the contract section coming top in six of the nine categories and claiming an 84 per cent response rate for value for money. Its lowest ranking was fourth for choice of handsets (65 per cent). Its network partner, T-Mobile UK, only managed to finish second in two categories-customer service (68 per cent) and billing services (80 per cent).

Overall, Virgin Mobile was ranked the best contract mobile phone network, while T-Mobile was placed third.

In the prepay sector, Tesco Mobile came first in five of eight categories, compared to its network partner O2, which only lead two categories. Tesco Mobile was also ranked overall best prepay network in the poll, while O2 came second.

Of note was that both Virgin Mobile and Tesco Mobile registered higher in voting for network coverage than their network partners T-Mobile and O2.

Attempting to explain these results, Quocirca analyst Rob Bamforth said: "Companies that are perceived to be more service orientated, even though they might be partners, are perceived to be out-playing them."

"Historically operators have been focused on networks and network assets as they had to build them out to meet their commitments. Now they need to focus on services."

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