The consumer company Which? has labelled Smarty, Giffgaff, and iD Mobile as this year's Great Value mobile providers. The label tries to highlight to consumers that these brands offer decent packages at great prices. In its annual mobile network survey, it also found that the Big Four - O2, EE, Vodafone, and Three - who recently put prices up, ranked lower than many mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs).
Thanks to inflation, which is wreaking havoc on personal and business finances, mobile operators are putting up prices. Providers have been introducing mid-contract price increases of 17% which customers have to pay, or they risk large contract exit fees. To highlight the customer-friendly companies, Which? has introduced its Great Value criteria to its survey. It found that Smarty, Giffgaff, and iD Mobile were the best in this regard.
In overall customer ratings, which look at problems experienced, performance, and value, Giffgaff and Smarty came in joint fifth place with 75/100 points and iD Mobile came in eighth with 72/100. The top provider in the survey as a whole was Tesco Mobile with 80/100 but it lost its Which? Recommended Provider endorsement after raising prices above inflation.
“The vast majority of mobile customers are with one of the Big Four providers, but our research suggests consumers could save money during the cost of living crisis and get better service by switching to a better deal – such as one of those offered by Which? Great Value providers,” said Rocio Concha, Which? Director of Policy and Advocacy. “Switching to a flexible one-month rolling deal with one of these providers if you’re out of contract also means you’ll be protected against the mid-contract hikes of up to 17 per cent introduced by the Big Four earlier this month.”
While MVNOs are definitely a good alternative to the Big Four providers, you should still be careful. At the bottom of the survey rankings were Asda Mobile and Lycamobile, both MVNOs. They were in joint 17th place with just 56/100 points. These two performed badly on customer service, network reliability, and download speeds.
To help combat abusive price rises, Which? says it’s critical that Ofcom’s review into mid-contract hikes produces results that ensure consumers aren’t trapped. Which? ideally want consumers to have the option of leaving their contract as a result of big price increases, without hefty exit fees.
Let us know in the comments if you’ve been affected by broadband or mobile price rises this year. What have you done about it?