28 April 2016 ~ 8 Comments

Who can beat LIFE Mobile’s new deals?

life-mobile

LIFE Mobile is a virtual network offering 3G coverage to 99% of the UK population, on the EE network. They’ve just released some new monthly deals that offer excellent value from under £5/month on a SIM-only rolling tariff.

Currently, LIFE Mobile offers the following four SIM-only deals with 30 day bundles:

tarrifs2

A key feature of the LIFE Mobile offering is their Smart Cap option. It is intended to give you better control over your monthly data expenditure. Smart Cap gives you a small buffer to limit your out-of-allowance charges. The default setting is £5 but you can call them and change this to anything from £1 to £30.

For example a Smart Cap of £1 on the £4.95/month tariff, your monthly bill from LIFE Mobile will never exceed £5.95. This is a great feature if you are paying the monthly bills on your children or someone else’s phone. You will never get an unpleasant surprise at the end of the month with Smart Cap.

LIFE Mobile’s cheapest offering at £4.95 has no rivals. If you are connected to BT Broadband you will get 200 minutes with 500 MB of data at a discounted rate of £5.00. This is 400 minutes less talk-time than you will get with LIFE Mobile.

Giffgaff can only offer 250 minutes talk-time and 500 MB data for £7.50. They do have a less expensive option at £5.00 per month, but that only gives 125 minutes talk-time, 500 texts and 100 MB data.

TPO offer some incredible deals but are also outdone by LIFE Mobile’s pricing. Their best priced option costs £5.99 and only offers 100 minutes of talk-time, 100 texts and 500 MB data. For £8.99 TPO still falls short with airtime at 300 minutes, but they offer unlimited texts and 2 GB of data which LIFE Mobile only offers in their £9.95 package. But LIFE Mobile supply 1000 minutes of airtime and 1 GB of data for £7.45. The choice is really whether you use your phone more for talking or for applications which will use up your data. For many users, data is less important since they are often in Wi-Fi zones where they do not use their data at all.

For anyone with their own unlocked mobile phone there are few strong alternatives. LIFE Mobile offers a true budget beating way to get connected. And their UK based call centre has been getting very good reviews from customers. This strong offering puts LIFE Mobile amongst the top UK virtual networks and completely trounces the likes of Vodafone and O2.

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04 November 2015 ~ 0 Comments

MVNOs top customer service poll

customer service poll

A recent poll has shown that customers massively prefer smaller virtual mobile networks to the main players. The recent study asked users to rate the customer service and showed that industry veterans such as Vodafone and EE motivated the worst mobile networks in the UK while smaller organisations such as Giffgaff, Tesco Mobile and ASDA Mobile headed the pack.

The poll was carried out by moneysavingexpert.com and asked 10,620 users to rate their mobile provider’s customer service on a scale from “great” through “okay” to “poor”. The network that topped the table was Giffgaff scoring 65% “great responses” with only 5% of their users rating customer service as “poor”. Close behind in second, was Tesco Mobile with an impressive satisfaction rating of 63%. Third placed was ASDA Mobile and coming fourth was Virgin Mobile. It’s worth noting that all of these networks are MVNOs that actually run using other networks’ infrastructure.

Meanwhile, lingering down in last place was Vodafone scoring “great” in only 20% of responses. Perhaps worse was the fact that 28% of their customers rated the service as “poor”. Barely escaping the booby prize was it EE (including its Orange and T-Mobile brands) which shockingly only was scored “great” by 22% of their users.

The other two main mobile networks are Three and O2, who had to be satisfied with mid-table mediocrity being rated great by 40% and 33% of their userbase respectively. Both had relatively high numbers of “poor” verdicts with 12% of their users giving them the lowest grade.

The poll was especially surprising since MVNOs were evaluated so well. For example, ASDA Mobile actually run’s on EE’s backbone yet their “great” score was 54% vs 22% and only 14% of users decided their service was “poor” compared to 24% for EE.

Analysing the results, it should be clear that you don’t have to go with a big name to get great customer service. And just because you’re paying more with a major network, doesn’t mean you should expect to get a superior experience. ASDA Mobile has always been marketed as a budget network yet they completely outperformed their host network, EE, despite using the same infrastructure. Here’s the results in full:

Rank Network Great OK Poor
1 Giffgaff 65% 30% 5%
2 Tesco Mobile 63% 33% 4%
3 ASDA Mobile 54% 31% 14%
4 Virgin Mobile 42% 44% 14%
5 Three 40% 48% 12%
6 O2 33% 55% 12%
7 BT Mobile 36% 43% 21%
8 Talk Mobile 31% 50% 19%
9 EE 22% 54% 24%
10 Vodafone 20% 52% 28%

If you’re not satisfied by your network’s service no matter what their ranking in the table above, remember it’s really easy to switch mobile network. And you can even keep your same number too. We always recommend going for PAYG or SIM-only deals because they are better value for money and you’re not locked in to a network you hate for years at a time.

Where did your current mobile network come in this consumer satisfaction poll? Do you think it’s a fair rating or do you disagree with the judgement? And which network would you switch to if you could?

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02 November 2015 ~ 1 Comment

BT takeover of EE given provisional clearance by CMA

ee bt takeover

BT is set to become an even more dominant player in the fixed-line phones, broadband, mobile and TV market. The proposed merger of two of the UK’s largest telecommunications companies in a £12.5bn deal which sees the BT Group in a takeover of mobile phone network EE, has been given provisional clearance by the CMA, the competition watchdog.

The Competition and Markets Authority said the deal, agreed in February, was “not expected to result in a substantial lessening of competition” and did not propose any changes in the terms of the deal.

“The group does not provisionally believe that, in a dynamic and evolving sector, it is more likely than not that BT/EE will be able to use its position to damage competition or the interests of consumers,” John Wooton, chair of the CMA inquiry, said.

The CMA said the two firms operated largely in separate areas “with BT strong in supplying fixed communications services (voice, broadband and pay TV), EE strong in supplying mobile communications services, and limited overlap between them in both categories of service”.

BT chief executive Gavin Patterson said: “The combined BT and EE will be good for the UK, providing investment and ensuring consumers and businesses can benefit from further innovation in a highly competitive market”.

The market response to the announcement was immediate as shares in BT rose 4% to 470p within hours of the announcement.Telecoms giant BT announced in February that it had agreed to acquire EE with the deal expected to be completed next March.

The takeover more than trebles BT’s retail customers adding the 10 million it already had to EE’s 24.5 million direct mobile subscribers. BT has a tight hold on broadband services in the UK, being both the most significant provider of broadband services as well as the owner of most of the broadband infrastructure in the UK through its Openreach division. It also provides the capacity to mobile operators to transfer data from phone masts to other networks.

Openreach is still an ongoing concern for BT’s competitors. They would have preferred to see Openreach removed from BT so that it could operate completely independently. This matter is currently being reviewed by UK regulator Ofcom.

The deal would allow BT to offer customers so-called quad-play packages of TV, fixed-line phone, broadband and mobile, which competitors like Virgin Media and TalkTalk already do. The approval, albeit provisional, is expected to anger competitors who see the deal allowing for the creation of a dominant player across all telecoms sectors.

Through this huge takeover, BT is acknowledging the rapid growth of mobile connectivity and the inevitability of a convergence of fixed-line and mobile broadband. The likely scenario in a few years would be that customers would subscribe to a single data connectivity package which would give them access to communication channels inside and outside their homes through a combination of wired broadband, WiFi and 4G (or 5G?).

In reality, we’d argue that BT had no choice but to do this deal to secure its own future viability.

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