back to article Oh UK. You won't switch mobile providers. And now look at you! £5.8bn you've lost

Customers are losing £5.8bn per year by sticking with the same mobile supplier, according to research from comparison site uSwitch. One-quarter of mobile users have never switched mobile network, according to the survey of 2,000. For those over the age of 55, the proportion rose to one-third. If extrapolated across the …

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Does it take into account

Free calls to people on the same network? Most of my family are on O2, so whilst I may swap company to get a better deal (go through one of the resellers etc.) I try to stay with it so I can make all those mobile calls for free and just as importantly my friends and family can contact me - free via mobile.

I *could* probably save £5 a month by moving but then I'd have to spend more than that in call charges.

I'd also debate whether Uswitch, who have more than a passing business interest in stoking up the idea of switching is the best source for this sort of data.

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Re: Does it take into account

Most mobile companies do unlimited minutes to UK numbers from around £20pm (read below I didn't have this). this would remove that potential issue, but not knowing what you currently pay & get ... not sure if it helpful

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Re: Does it take into account

I also doubt it takes into account those of us who can be bothered to do the retentions dance, I've never had a problem calling EE, telling them about a deal through Carphone warehouse on their, or even another, network and them matching it via a line rental discount, takes 20 minutes maximum if you're polite about it.

They're usually happy to carry over a previous discount as well, meaning my line rental actually ends up cheaper than the offer I'm giving them as an example.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Does it take into account

>Free calls to people on the same network? Most of my family are on O2

Who makes calls outside of their bundle minuets anyway or do o2 not give you bundled mins to use calling other networks?

If not then you need to change.

/roll eyes.

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Re: Does it take into account

The reception in the area in which people live? Not everyone can get all mobile suppliers in their area.

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Re: Does it take into account

I don't use very many minutes at all - but my wife has long conversations regularly with other family members. To increase the bundled minutes to cover all those calls, she'd need a lot more minutes - and that means a more expensive package.

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Re: Does it take into account

The purpose of customer retentions people is to retain customers. If you tell them "This is what you have to offer me to make me stay", you make their job easy for them, or at least you do if what you ask for is something they are able to offer. If you are asking them to match another advertised offer, they can usually do that. (Fairly often they can do better than that, too, if you are willing to negotiate for a bit).

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Re: Does it take into account

A tariff which only includes calls to the same network? Wow, that's a blast from the past! It must be 10+ years since I last saw an 'own network calls only' tariff advertised. The only current exception I know of is giffgaff whose minutes do include calls to any UK landline/other network, but also gives unlimited free calls to other giffgaff numbers.

Double check what you're on, and compare the market. I suspect that either the minutes you have already include calls to all UK landline and mobile numbers, or that you're on a VERY old legacy tariff, which might be poor value for money - for example, £15-£20 per month would now get you UNLIMITED minutes to any UK landline or mobile network.

Though, I guess this is kinda the point of the article ;-)

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Re: Does it take into account

The networks are not just going give away £5.8 billion because people switch. What uswitch are actually saying is there is £5.8 billion cross subsidy between people who think:

"Most mobile companies do unlimited minutes to UK numbers from around £20pm"

and people like me that bothered to look for a deal and get unlimited minutes and texts and 4GB of data for £10pm.

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Re: Does it take into account

Did anyone mention a tariff including only free minutes on the same network? I think two of us mentioned a tariff including free minutes on the same network - but not *only* on the same network. And the example you gave (Giffgaff) is the one I use.

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Re: Does it take into account

Quite a few MVNOs to choose from - that may offer better bundles.. but may have data speed slightly reduced (rumours - I have no proof)

EE - Asda, Plusnet

O2 - Tesco, GiffGaff

Three - FreedomPop, iD (CarphoneWarehouse)

Vodafone - Sainsburys

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Angel

Re: Does it take into account

I suppose it depends on starting point, but many people spend a minimum of say a tenner a month.

That gets me 4 GB of data, unlimited minutes and unlimited texts.

There are deals around, but just needs someone to look every few months (the one I am on is a rolling monthly contract, not tied in forever!)

"HUKD" and "SIM only deals" should find a few sites giving useful info, alongside MSE (MoneySavingExpert).

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Not everybody you'll be pleased to hear.

After another £70 phonebill from vodafone for near on 20min of calls out of free min, normally I pay £16, I have told them to stick it and gone to Three, where they are happy to place caps on usage and warn you if your getting near your limit. blah blah you should keep an eye on your usage blah blah (windows phone).

Second time I have left vodafone due to bullshit like this, this time it is for good. It would cost them more to bribe me back than they would earn off me as a customer.

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Re: Not everybody you'll be pleased to hear.

Vodashite are an appalling company to do business with. I'm amazed you went back to them :0

I've been with Three for almost a year and I'm very likely to stay with them, it's been the most hassle free experience with a mobile provider I've ever had.

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Re: Not everybody you'll be pleased to hear.

I'd love to be with Three, except they have no mobile signal in most of the places where I go.

Daughter is on three, with a boost box, but mainly for the fact that as a teenager unlimited data is all she wants.

I get the best deal out of vodafone every year. If not I'd switch. Was tempted this year, as they still have the worst deal on a iphone 7 out of any of the big 4. But payg and buying a phone outright was a better deal. (still is)

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Goodbye Three

Yesterday in the EE shop near Moorgate it took 10minutes to get my PAC code. The Three Customer person simply wouldn't take no for an answer. I literally had to bellow "For the sixth time, I don't want to answer any questions, I don't want any other deals, your network's bandwidth is terrible in London, and I'm getting out. I don't have to give you any details now please give me my PAC code." He still persisted, and then sent me to another department. Have to say the next guy took my 'non-charm offensive' and sorted it quickly.

I'll change my provider every year now (SIM only deal). They make profit on our laziness.

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Re: Goodbye Three

I was under the assumption EE is T-Mobile ??

Were you with Three or EE

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Goodbye Three

Well If your in a EE shop trying to get a PAC code for a Three mobile its no wonder it took so long :D

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FAIL

"The Three Customer person simply wouldn't take no for an answer"

And that customer person was Albert Einstein.

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Re: Goodbye Three

Well If your in a EE shop trying to get a PAC code for a Three mobile its no wonder it took so long :D

Mind you, if you are dealing with a Three sales person in a EE shop they are probably undercover on black-ops so you shouldn't be surprised if they are less than helpful

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Re: Goodbye Three

I think he means he was In the EE shop for a new contract, and calling Three to get his PAC to give to EE

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Re: Goodbye Three

Been there.

Done that.

ANYTHING that claims to be customer retention or "you just have to do this first", I will stand and cost you so much custom that it really won't be worth all of the hassle. Whether on the phone, in-store, or wherever.

This is your legal notice that I'm terminating my contract / requesting my PAC code / whatever. No, I don't need to "just" do anything. That WAS your legal notice. I'll then hang up (if on the phone, you've been notified, so I can just cancel the Direct Debit, right?), or stand right here in the doorway yelling loudly every 30 seconds until I get acknowledgement or my request fulfilled.

If you were so desperate for my custom, maybe you should have sorted that out BEFORE I got to the point where I felt the need to terminate my service with you.

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Re: Goodbye Three

@Lee D "This is your legal notice that I'm terminating my contract / requesting my PAC code / whatever. No, I don't need to "just" do anything. That WAS your legal notice. I'll then hang up"

Interesting point, given the majority (all even?) billing related conversations are recorded, is the recording sufficient evidence that legal notice to the appropriate department and authorised member of staff was given...

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TWB

Switching is a bit painful

I've done it a few time with mobile ops and ISPs and only once has it been smooth and all I lost was a few hours connection time.

Often it is difficult to compare like for like charges, Halfmad has a good example - I found for ISPs/broadband I had to consider line rental which I pay yearly up front but which is not cancellable (normally) and then whether to move my phone as well and whether I could get a similar call plan, so I suspect all these things hold people back.

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I've changed providers in the past. At the moment, I'm quite happy with Tesco Mobile; decent coverage, prices are OK and good service. I'm told that I could save on the monthly fee, but only by going to a provider that is a byword for poor service and appallingly bad security. Really not a difficult choice; I'll stay where I am for now, thank you.

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I went to Tesco Mobile after suffering 2 years at the hands of EE, which I turned too after my abusive relationship with 3. I've never had a problem with the network - except in the case of trying to use a VPN over their mobile internet, it doesn't like that.

The good thing with Tesco is that they split the bill in half. You know what you pay for the handset, you know what you pay for the tariff. My 2 years is up in June, at which point my £35 a month will fall to £13 a month as I'll have stopped paying for the phone. EE definately didn't let me do this, neither did 3.

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Yes, I'm happy with Tesco (O2 really). Good value for my money and coverage for my purposes. Wife and kids with 3. Serves them well for their purposes.

It's very difficult to compare packages, and then factor in coverage and individual use patterns. Tesco don't give Europe and USA calls within contract all year round ( but did last Summer which was when I needed it). 3 does give all year round. Which can make a big difference to some users. Likewise I get more internet data than I can possibly use. Daughters could quite possibly use every byte the world can offer. (OK slight exaggeration).

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Reasons to stick

I'm staying on my antiquated unlimited data deal as it is no longer offered (far too good a deal I assume) and lots cheaper than any current high / unlimited data offers

It has a few limitations (data usage costs apply outside of UK, so essentially UK use only on data) but closest (all more expensive deals than mine from various other phone companies) only offer between 16 - 20 Gb a month which is insufficient for me

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Re: Reasons to stick

What's a PAC? I've stuck with Tesco through thick and thin ... my Nokia phone and its PAYG top up of about £20 per *year* suits me fine ... I just love the reaction of the 'switching' cold call droids that can save me at least £10 a month ... :-)

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Re: Reasons to stick

a PAC code, will allow you to take your mobile number from one provider to another, saving you and others the hassle of changing your number.

You call your phone company ask for a PAC code, go to new provider get a new contract, when it arrives apply the PAC code, your old number will go to the new sim card.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Reasons to stick

I think Andy the Hat was being ironic.

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Re: Reasons to stick

oh ....

umm thank you, sorry...

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Company sponsored 'research'

These surveys as means of getting free press coverage for a brand are getting harder to spot, aren't they?

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Anonymous Coward

I could save a few pence a month

by changing my One month rolling to a 12 month rolling (SIM Only).

Other providers are all in the same area as mine so the savings are not huge anyway.

However the deal breaker is that AFAIK, only "3" allows me to make calls in the USA using my UK Minutes.

And for Around £11/month I never get to my limits anyway.

If you want rip off Mobile charges go see what your existing deal costs in the USA.

Mind you many Americans can't get their head around our willingness to actually buy our handsets and go for SIM ONly.

$100+/month is not out of this world in Trumpton.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I could save a few pence a month

Yeah but yanks rent their modems, and pay for incoming calls, so who cares what they think.

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Re: I could save a few pence a month

However the deal breaker is that AFAIK, only "3" allows me to make calls in the USA using my UK Minutes

If you are making calls to UK numbers, yes. Otherwise you are paying international call rates to call local numbers. But yes, the free internet roaming is awesome.

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Re: I could save a few pence a month

It will be interesting to see if Three maintain their present roaming package after Brexit.

Certainly, it is great for the teenagers who can still text each other etc. as if they are at home, at local rates when in Europe etc..

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Stop

Re: I could save a few pence a month

"It will be interesting to see if Three maintain their present roaming package after Brexit."

Three have always offered this roaming package it's got nothing to do with the EU / Brexit.

Huthcinson are huge and have "operators" all over the world, their "feel at home" package has always been available.

So, no it won't be interesting at all because I sincerely doubt anything will change

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Re: I could save a few pence a month

Roland6 Precisely. Which is why family members, as noted below, are with 3. They are at age in life where included minutes they can use on overseas travel is a big inducement.

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Re: I could save a few pence a month

Worth looking at dual SIM phones if one has to visit on a relatively frequent basis (though I don't know what "PAYG" options exist in N America - been a while since I visited Canada or USA).

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How it works in Germany

The company to which you are moving requests permission from your existing network to port the number. Normally this means they provide you with a form to do this. In this way their interests are aligned with yours when you want to switch. There are also strict timelines for the procedure with the disabling of the number on one network and enabling it on another having to take place within 24 hours (much less in my experience).

In contrast the UK system seems to place the burden on the customer to arrange keeping their number. This also gives the existing service provider leverage against any switch, which is anti-competitive. Still, as the right to keep the number was one of those nasty, burdensome regulations handed down from Brussels, it's probably only a matter of time until it's revoked and you don't have to worry about switching networks because you won't be able to keep it. That's what "taking back control" is all about, right?

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Re: How it works in Germany

I believe there is hesitation to switch to this model for mobiles as there were a lot of problems when this model was implemented for gas & electricity suppliers. There were many accusations that sales people were making up or forging requests to move just to hit targets.

Maybe German sales people are more honest than their British counterparts?

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Re: How it works in Germany

I believe there is hesitation to switch to this model for mobiles as there were a lot of problems when this model was implemented for gas & electricity suppliers.

Wouldn't have anything to do with a timid and toothless regulator would it? We haven't had anything like it here (yet) but I imagine something like Talk Talk's data breach would also have been handled more seriously. The flip-side is that stronger competition leads to more rationalisation – meters have been remote read for years – which means fewer low-paid, low-skilled jobs.

Maybe German sales people are more honest than their British counterparts?

Not really, the same breed of spotty, commission-obsessed youths appears to inhabit shops around the world and the telesales people are just as aggressive. The difference is really in how complaints related to inevitable mis-selling are handled.

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Does it take into account when companies won't let you switch?

I tried to upgrade on Virgin to save money but they point blanked refused as apparently 'I wasn't in the right family of tariffs' so once that contract expires later this year I'm done with them - and downgrading the wifi as well.

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The costs of switching

While I would encourage everyone to keep abreast of the average costs of the various services they use, it should also be noted that there are always costs associated with switching: researching, form-filling, etc. Very often the optimal approach is switching tariffs at your existing provider. But that won't make companies like uSwitch very happy.

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Value != Cost

uSwitch (et al) can only compare the cost of a deal. They can't compare the value of a deal to a customer. e.g. Does the cheaper provider have worse coverage/performance than your current provider? What about customer services? Technical support?

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Boffin

Coverage maps

uSwitch does have some somewhere on their site but they make them a bugger to find (I've lost the link I once had: and what they showed certainly didn't tally with my own experience anyway).

Useful coverage maps (IMHO) can be found at https://opensignal.com

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GiffGaff

I can only get a good signal from O2, and found GiffGaff while searching for a SIM-only contract. I like them because I can terminate with 1 month's notice, and I can change the contract details each month (if appropriate), based on my actual usage for the previous month. The only downside is that calls from other European countries are not inclusive.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: GiffGaff

GiffGaff is pretty good value generally and the ability to change tariffs regularly is very useful for some. I find it particularly good for the kids' phones.

I also bought by Galaxy S7 from GiffGaff. Their phones are unlocked and run stock firmware - I noticed that every month or so, they dropped the price by quite a bit for a few days, so snapped one up cheaper than I could get anywhere else - all you need is to have a GiffGaff account (which I did for the kids' phones); you don't need to subsequently use the phone on GiffGaff.

One downside is that GiffGaff get the lowest level of access to the O2 network for data, so if the cell you are on is congested, O2 users and Tesco Mobile users get a greater share of the available bandwidth.

Most of the time this isn't a problem, but when it IS a problem in a congested area, it can be quite a big one (to the extent that it feels like you're on a dial-up modem).

Just something to be aware of as there is always a downside!

I am currently on EE, even though there is no EE signal at home (the only one that vaguely works is Vodafone, who are very expensive). Instead, I use WiFi Calling (on the S7 I bought from GiffGaff - on the S7, EE WiFi calling works on an unlocked phone, unlike with Vodafone). WiFi calling generally works pretty well (there are occasional problems with inbound calls which I believe are down to a small software bug on the phone related to power saving - hopefully will get fixed).

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