Commenting on the launch of newcomers to the SIM-only space – Vodafone’s VOXI and Three’s SMARTY – Ernest Doku, mobiles expert at uSwitch.com, says: “The arrival of Vodafone’s VOXI and Three’s announcement of SMARTY both within the space of 12 hours shows how the big mobile players are attempting to land-grab in a market that has been steadily shifting towards greater flexibility and simplicity.
“Their moves shouldn’t come as a surprise. Our latest research reveals that on top of the 30% already on a SIM-only plan, 15% of customers currently on a contract are eyeing a move to SIM-only.
“Mobile users are crying out for simplicity and transparency as new players have competed fiercely to deliver great value tariffs and flexibility in the form of the overwhelmingly popular 30-day contract. Now the industry’s big names are rushing into the space to keep pace.
“VOXI’s offer of unlimited data usage on certain social and messaging apps sees it emulating similar shouts from Three and Virgin Media. Clearly with EU roaming cutting down the value of props like Feel at Home, providers see this as a potential differentiator.
“As for SMARTY, the stripped back premise is a remarkably refreshing offer – giving money back for unused data is a decent differentiator. However, its offering is slightly hamstrung by some early omissions from its plans.
“As it stands, customers can neither roam for free, phone premium numbers or make international calls. We hope these are rolled out quickly and quietly to customers, but with competition already at fever pitch, any gaps in an offering will prove a challenge to gain ground.
“Our research shows that data and network service still reign supreme, but with providers increasingly offering unlimited data plans as a key differentiator, there is a divide between what consumers want and what they are being offered – only one in five Brits say these new unlimited data plans for certain apps would encourage them to switch provider.
“Undoubtedly, the sweet spot is a combination of this kind of innovation with an ongoing commitment to creating better value for money and top-notch service for consumers.”
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