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Survey Claims 19% of UK Mobile Users Have Never Changed Network

Wednesday, Jun 14th, 2023 (12:01 am) - Score 968
Sky Mobile UK

A new survey conducted by Opinium with 2,000 UK adults, which was commissioned by Sky Mobile (vested interest), has found that 19% of UK mobile phone users have never changed their network operator, while 28% haven’t switched for more than 5 years and could thus potentially be missing out on over £100 every year in savings.

The survey noted that 48% of respondents felt as if cheaper monthly payments would be their biggest driver for switching. But many are unaware of the savings they could be making, with 17% saying the reason they don’t switch is that they didn’t think they would save any money, while 10% said it’s too much hassle.

NOTE: Sky Mobile is an O2 (VMO2) powered Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO).

Additional Survey Results

➤ 24% of mobile phone users are with their current provider because they were lured by a good deal when they first signed-up and 19% say they use their current provider just because it’s who they have always used.

➤ 21% let their contract renew without ever shopping around.

➤ 33% of all mobile phone users are unsure what they would gain from switching, going up to 35% for O2 users. Similarly, 17% worry they wouldn’t get good signal with other providers, going up to 25% of Vodafone users.

➤ 39% of mobile phone users switched in the last 3 years, 46% said they saved and 4% of this group said they saved at least £20.01 per month.

➤ Brits are said to be missing out on a potential £1bn worth of savings each year.

At this point it should go without saying that Sky Mobile has a vested interest in the survey results, and so they should be taken with a pinch of salt. On the other hand, there are still plenty of people around who don’t switch, but we should also remember that price isn’t the only factor to consider.

Different mobile operators offer different features and have differing levels of performance, support and coverage. Saving money on your plan doesn’t help if the network you switch to suffers from poor coverage in your area etc.

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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 X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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15 Responses
  1. Avatar photo Anonymous says:

    Just thought that I might mention bidb.uk, it’s a dashboard mostly for the FTTP rollout or anything similar however it does also cover the 4 operators (O2, EE, Vodafone, Three) in coverage for any said postcode. Vodafone here currently don’t have any 5G coverage at all whilst EE suffers on 3G and 5G coverage. O2 and Three both have excellent coverage on all 3G/4G/5G network types.

    (I should also specify Three in the last 8 or so months recently installed a 5G mast almost directly outside so that plays into their 5G coverage as well)

    1. Avatar photo Obi says:

      Yeah, it’s a fantastic site. Been using it to track developments in my area, seeing as I’m expecting FTTP to arrive in my area by December

  2. Avatar photo Ad47uk says:

    I have been with Smarty for just over 3 years, I see no need to change providers. I do agree that people should shop around and some are paying far more than they should be, certainly after having paid for their phone. I don’t get this must have a new phone every couple of years, waste of resources.
    People don’t shop around or look at any deals they can get after their contract ends, that is the same with Broadband as well, it is amazing how much some people are paying.

  3. Avatar photo GreenLantern22 says:

    So in summary 1/3 of mobile are lazy or dumb or too afraid to change. Nothing new then…

  4. Avatar photo bert says:

    Brits are said to be missing out on a potential £1bn worth of savings each year.

    this is fime

  5. Avatar photo Cheesemp says:

    How can you switch when only 2 providers work reliably in your house? I’d love to have more choice (and according to Ofcom all the networks work great indoors for 4G) but my choice is between EE or 3. Vodaphone the data cuts in and out. O2 the data never works.

    Maybe when signal strength is actual decent we might be able to switch? Oh and I live in a 70s build in a town on the South coast. Not exactly rural Scotland in a stone built house where these issues might be expected.

    1. Avatar photo AD says:

      You do realise that these two operates do also have MVNOs like Smarty and 1p, and you are still switching between two different providers.

      Just because your signal is poor, doesn’t mean other people will have poor signal from the others too, ergo they will have more options.

    2. Avatar photo Anon says:

      Agreed, where I live the only real choice is the EE network and any MNVOs that operate off it that give reasonable coverage and speeds, the likes of Three, Vodafone and O2 struggle daily to even reach 5Mbps.

      The networks really do need to step up their game where the above applies to areas, I was considering Smarty that runs off the Three network but until the network gets upgraded, the only network worth going with that covers the local area and the three towns that form it is EE.

    3. Avatar photo MilesT says:

      A better 4G/5G router, especially one that can be cabled to an exterior antenna (or an antenna mounted higher in the property, e.g. loft if you have one) might help

    4. Avatar photo Cheesemp says:

      AD – yes I use a mix of plusnet/id mobile but its still a limited selection with no differentiator other than being cheaper. Its still half the market I cannot access even though ofcom count that I can (to be honest its ofcoms disinterest in their maps being wrong that winds me up the most). Also yes others may have more options but if as I say its like this in a town how much worse is it in more rural locations. I bet there are plenty of similar not spots in cities?

      MilesT – I get 30~35Mb FTTC so low signal mobile is unlikely to compete but yes I imagine a high antenna would make 4g viable for internet however I just want my phone to work in the house (receive calls!)

  6. Avatar photo Onslow says:

    I change my network more often than I change my underwear. I have no loyalty and loop between Lebara, Lyca and Smarty promo and referral deals. You can get cheap mobile service if you are willing to put in the effort.

    1. Avatar photo Ad47uk says:

      i could not be bothered to do that to save a few pence, maybe if you use a lot of data, you may end up better off.

      don’t want to move from Smarty, but if Three becomes part of Vodafone then I may have to.

    2. Avatar photo Eric says:

      I do something similar – I have a dual sim phone with my main mobile number on O2 Classic PAYG then in the second sim slot I rotate these cheapo deals mainly for the data and dispose of the sim once done.

  7. Avatar photo MilesT says:

    Utilities and motor fuel have structural barriers to change that result in prices having low elasticity (i.e. change in price doesn’t strongly correlate to change in behaviour).

    Nothing new there, long part of what is called churn analysis.

  8. Avatar photo Tron says:

    The only times Ive changed network is when theyve gone through a merger and increased prices.

Comments are closed

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