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Consumers Switch Broadband ISP for Savings and Faster Speeds

Thursday, January 3rd, 2019 (7:35 am) - Score 1,525
switching man broadband isp uk

A new online survey of 1,380 ISPreview.co.uk readers, which was conducted between 16th November 2018 and 2nd January 2019, has found that the top reasons why most UK respondents switched broadband ISP in 2018 were to save money (29.9%) or get access to faster speeds (25.4%), while 18.3% simply sought better quality.

Overall 32.2% of respondents confirmed they had switched ISP during 2018 (up from 26% in our 2017 survey), but looking forward only 22.6% said they would definitely expect to switch provider in 2019.

Respondents were also asked to identify which of the largest broadband ISPs they perceived to have improved the most during 2018, which saw BT coming top of the list (this may be because the prior 2017 period was a particular bad one for the operator due to the Italian accounting scandal, Ofcom’s strategic review / various fines and other issues).

However 47.3% said they had no idea which ISP had improved the most. Perception does not always reflect reality, but it’s a useful insight into the mindset of consumers.

Which of the largest UK broadband ISPs do you perceive to have improved the most in 2018?
Don’t Know – 47.3%
BT – 17.9%
Virgin Media – 10.4%
Vodafone – 10.1%
Sky Broadband – 8.2%
TalkTalk – 5.9%

Did you switch ISP in 2018?
No – 67.7%
Yes – 32.2%

Will you switch in 2019?
Maybe – 42%
No – 35.3%
Yes – 22.6%

What was the main reason for your last ISP switch?
Save Money – 29.9%
Faster Speeds – 25.4%
Better Quality – 18.3%
Other – 13.9%
House Move – 7.6%
Service Complaint – 4.7%

Broadly speaking not much has changed over previous years, with broadband speed, price and service quality predictably continuing to be the main reasons why most people choose to change ISP. Meanwhile others still prefer to stick with their existing provider rather than chase a cheaper deal, which is often because they’re either satisfied with the service they receive, are locked into an existing contract or remain wary of moving.

Going forward we predict that Ofcom’s plan to introduce ‘end of contract’ notification letters (here) could help to encourage more switching within the market, although this won’t be implemented until later in 2019. As a result we might not be able to fully appreciate the impact of this until 2020.

Finally, on the subject of customer loyalty, it’s worth remembering that the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) recently concluded a “super-complaint” into telecoms providers, which examined how consumers who remain loyal (e.g. stay with a service at the end of their contract) can end up paying “significantly more” than new customers (here). Ofcom are already in the process of implementing most of their recommendations.

Meanwhile this month’s new survey asks how long you think it will be before full fibre (FTTP) broadband reaches your area? Vote Here.

NOTE: ISPreview.co.uk surveys are likely to receive a higher proportion of tech-savvy respondents than most, although the majority of our visitors are normal consumers (i.e. they come to this site for help and assistance with basic broadband problems / questions or when hunting for a new ISP).

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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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4 Responses
  1. Avatar Michael V

    I was with sky DSL broadband [regular b’band] & hated it. They didn’t listen to my concerns, speeds weren’t right. £24 Inc: evening & weekend calls. November it was going to go up to £32.

    I moved to Vodafone home fibre. £22 Inc: line rental. Don’t need a call package anymore. This was The best choice I made. Speeds are fast & consistent. I’m probably going to stay put.

  2. Avatar EndlessWaves

    On the January poll the first question is hard to answer as there’s not a lot of current information on the FTTC rollout. All that’s available here landline-wise is 1.5Mbps ADSL so I’d expect to be fairly high in the queue for full fibre if the FTTC rollout has finished, or right at the back if I get FTTC in the next couple of years. It could be anywhere between 2 years and 20 years.

    And then there’s the uncertainty over whether the USO will be installing FTTP or just signing people up to 100GB EE sim cards.

    • I assume you mean FTTP on that first point and not FTTC 🙂 , but being hard to answer is kind of the point here. It’s all about gauging perception and opinion.

    • Avatar EndlessWaves

      No, I do mean FTTC. Without knowing what scale it’s still happening on it’s hard to judge the likelihood that it’ll replace ADSL here, and how fast the existing connection is will (presumably) be one of the main criteria when deciding on FTTP rollout for awkward and less densely populated areas.

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