Author Archives: Ernest Doku

About Ernest Doku

Ernest has turned an unabashed interest in gadgets into a desire to help consumers get the best deal - whatever the device - for 10 years. Leveraging his unrivaled data insight to help networks, retailers and manufacturers deliver market leading offers to consumers, he is always at the forefront of identifying key trends in the industry.

uSwitch comments on launch of Apple’s iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus and Apple Watch 2

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Commenting on the launch of the iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus and Apple Watch 2, Ernest Doku, telecoms expert at uSwitch.com, says:

On the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus:

“Despite being touted as a credible numbered sequel, it was difficult to escape the feeling that the iPhone 7 is very much an iterative device rather than the step change needed to allay concerns of falling fortunes. 

“Having said that, the device nailed the key features consumers look for in a flagship smartphone, from an improved display and increased resilience to water and dust, to an improved camera and better battery life.

“Only time will tell if this is the model to help Apple to break away from Samsung, who is aggressively biting at their heels with a strong line-up in the Galaxy S7 and Edge.

Design

“The iPhone 7 is the apex of the design we’ve been seeing for a number of years, refined with richer materials and adding yet more colour variants; albeit two of the five models are shades of black.

AirPods – losing the headphone jack

“The loss of the headphone jack is likely to divide opinion. The pricey AirPod earphones are part style statement, part practicality, but Apple just didn’t seem to land a persuasive justification for the bold move. The headphone adaptor helps bridge the gap, but suggests a lack of commitment to something touted as a courageous step.”

Features

“iOS 10 revamps the iPhone experience for existing customers with deeper Siri support, an improved keyboard and Homekit support to deliver the Internet of Things to homes of the future.

“By adding a number of core features currently offered by rival flagship devices including water and dust resistance and more internal memory, Apple ticks the boxes and narrows the gap between the iPhone 7 and existing, already impressive, competition.

Camera

“Optical image stabilisation, an improved flash and ‘intelligent AI’ give the camera a much-needed boost, emphasising Apple’s goal of addressing the primary smartphone features consumers lust after.

“Meanwhile the Plus gets a second camera on the rear and improved photography, adding a telephoto lens into the mix for impressive zooming functionality.

iPhone 7 Plus

“There seems less to differentiate the Plus from the 7 now both variants offer optical image stabilisation – the bigger screen makes it ideal for movie lovers and gamers.”

On the Apple Watch Series 2:

Doubling down on the fitness aspect of the Apple Watch Series 2, Apple’s flagship wearable finally has a true purpose.

“From a more robust design to water-resistance and GPS support, the sequel is a smart evolution of the original device, challenging the likes of FitBit and Garmin in the wearables market.

“Apple’s leveraging of Nike, the biggest name in the space, legitimises the partnership and allows them to seamlessly pivot into the contentious and highly aggressive fitness space.

“The Apple Watch 2 and Nike collaboration represent unquestionably attractive gadgets for sporting pros and enthusiasts alike. However, the success of the Apple Watch needs to be considered in relative, rather than absolute terms.

“To date it has under-performed and they’ve not managed to deliver a hit for that all important ‘prime real estate of the wrist’. Apple is relying on hardware iterations for market growth – but only time will tell if the new Apple Watch can deliver what its predecessor couldn’t.”

On Nintendo:

“This is a smart move by Nintendo – a brand that was almost written off by many following the peak of their gaming dominance in the 90s and early 00s. With Mario and Pokemon Go Plus, Nintendo has leveraged the opportunity to really make a mark in the world of mobile; but let’s be clear – their presence was for their own benefit as much as to prop-up Apple.”

Find out how you could save over £1,000 a year with uSwitch here.

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About us

uSwitch is an online and telephone price comparison and switching service, helping consumers get a better deal on gas, electricity, home phone, broadband, digital television, mobile phones and personal finance products including mortgages, credit cards, current accounts and insurance.

Energy customers have the option to create an account to automatically monitor the market and notify them when they can move to a cheaper tariff - making future comparisons even simpler and faster. In 2014, uSwitch saved UK consumers over £112m on their energy bills alone.

Broadband customers can conduct a speed test to find out how fast their broadband is and to identify the best broadband provider for their postcode.

uSwitch was the first comparison site to achieve the Plain English Campaign’s Internet Crystal Mark, recognising that it has clear language, is accessible and easy to use.

uSwitch has a UK contact centre which is manned by energy and broadband experts. The ‘Send Us Your Bill’ service allows customers to post their latest energy bills to FREEPOST USWITCH in order to receive a free call back to be guided through the comparison process. Alternatively, consumers can email customerservices@uswitch.com with their postcode and usage details. uSwitch’s address is Notcutt House, 36 Southwark Bridge Rd, London, SE1 9EU.

uSwitch is owned by Zoopla Property Group Plc (LSE:ZPLA), a digital media business that owns and operates some of the UK's most widely recognised and trusted online brands including Zoopla, PrimeLocation, SmartNewHomes and HomesOverseas.

uSwitch comments on the next phase of EE’s 4G network

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Commenting on EE’s next phase of its 4G network, with Cat 9 technology, Ernest Doku, telecoms expert at uSwitch.com, says: Hot on the heels of last week’s news that Finnish firm Elisa says it has achieved a 1.9 gigabit-per-second (Gbps) speed on a test network, today’s announcement from EE looks like true superfast speeds might now be a step closer to reality in the UK. Download speeds of more than 360Mbps equates to downloading a DVD-quality movie in less than two minutes or a MP3-format music album in a few seconds, coverage permitting.

“Further roll-outs are planned in London, Birmingham and Manchester, but many customers – of both EE and the other big providers – still struggle to secure decent 3G coverage and speeds. The real test will be their ability to push the market forward without leaving those already long suffering blank-spot and super-slow speed customers even further behind. And they’ll need to be able to deliver at an attractive and competitive price.”

Find out how you could save over £1,000 a year with uSwitch here.

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About us

uSwitch is an online and telephone price comparison and switching service, helping consumers get a better deal on gas, electricity, home phone, broadband, digital television, mobile phones and personal finance products including mortgages, credit cards, current accounts and insurance.

Energy customers have the option to create an account to automatically monitor the market and notify them when they can move to a cheaper tariff - making future comparisons even simpler and faster. In 2014, uSwitch saved UK consumers over £112m on their energy bills alone.

Broadband customers can conduct a speed test to find out how fast their broadband is and to identify the best broadband provider for their postcode.

uSwitch was the first comparison site to achieve the Plain English Campaign’s Internet Crystal Mark, recognising that it has clear language, is accessible and easy to use.

uSwitch has a UK contact centre which is manned by energy and broadband experts. The ‘Send Us Your Bill’ service allows customers to post their latest energy bills to FREEPOST USWITCH in order to receive a free call back to be guided through the comparison process. Alternatively, consumers can email customerservices@uswitch.com with their postcode and usage details. uSwitch’s address is Notcutt House, 36 Southwark Bridge Rd, London, SE1 9EU.

uSwitch is owned by Zoopla Property Group Plc (LSE:ZPLA), a digital media business that owns and operates some of the UK's most widely recognised and trusted online brands including Zoopla, PrimeLocation, SmartNewHomes and HomesOverseas.

Back to school gadgets spend triples to £1.2 billion

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  • A third of parents (34%) will buy new gadgets for their children this autumn[1], spending £397 per household[2] – almost triple last year’s back-to-school spend of £134[3]
  • A child’s school bag now contains £219 worth of gadgets, with 13% carrying more than £500 worth of kit[4]
  • The vast majority (95%) of mums and dads believe being tech savvy will improve their child’s future career prospects[5]
  • The average child spends 3½ hours a day using gadgets, not including TV, while 14% spend more than seven hours a day[6]
  • More than a quarter (26%) of parents say their kids have broken gadgets in the first three months of ownership, while 20% say they’ve been lost or stolen at school[7].

‘Back to school’ once meant shiny new shoes and a pencil case bursting with stationery but, this autumn, parents will splurge £1.2 billion on back-to-school smartphones, tablets and laptops for their brood[8], according to new research by uSwitch.com, the independent price comparison and switching service.

Despite fears from more than a quarter (27%) of parents that gadget-filled backpacks will make their children prime targets for thieves[9], mums and dads will spend £397[2] per household on new gadgets ahead of the start of the new school year – which is almost three times last year’s outlay of £134[3]. 

Almost a fifth (17%) of parents plan to buy new mobile phones for their offspring, while 18% will buy tablets or laptops[1]. Mums and dads estimate their child’s school bag now contains £219 worth of gadgets, with 13% carrying more than £500 worth[4].

The average child now spends 3½ hours a day using gadgets, while 14% spend more than seven hours a day[6]. The vast majority (95%) of mums and dads believe being tech savvy will improve their child’s future career prospects[5], and more than a fifth (21%) cite this as their main reason for kitting their kids out with new tech[10].

The average British child gets their first gadget at 8 years and 11 months old[11]. Six in ten (60%) primary school children have at least one gadget and more than a fifth (21%) have mobile phones, while almost one in 10 (9%) have tablets[12]. Meanwhile, nine in 10 (90%) secondary school children have gadgets, with 40% owning mobile phones[12].

Primary school children are more likely to own a mobile phone without internet access than a smartphone, while secondary school children are three times more likely to have a smartphone than a feature phone[12].

Homework is the main reason parents will treat kids to new gadgets, according to 28% of respondents[13], with more than half (51%) of children now relying on laptops, a third (34%) using tablets and 19% using desktop computers[14]. A smaller proportion, 15%, make use of smartphones for homework[14].

But the majority of schools appear to have a no-tolerance policy on gadgets, with 39% of parents reporting that their child’s school bans and confiscates them if found[15]. 35% said gadgets were allowed and widely used, but not in lessons while more than one in 10 (13%) parents said gadgets were incorporated into their children’s lessons and widely used for educational purposes[15].

52% of parents cite buying their child a smartphone primarily for safety reasons and 42% so they could keep in touch with a parent or relative who lives or stays away from home[16]. A fifth (20%) of parents admitted to caving to peer pressure, and bought their child a phone as all their friends had one[16].

In spite of their generosity, parents do have some concerns. More than half (55%) fear their child’s social skills will be impacted as a consequence of their technology habits, while 44% worry about what it might be doing to their children’s verbal communication skills[17]. Almost half (49%) are concerned a reliance on gadgets will make their offspring’s handwriting worse, and 58% are concerned they’ll become too reliant on spell check[17].

Table shows parents’ concerns regarding their child’s gadget use:

How worried are you about the following?

Very concerned

Quite concerned

Not concerned

Using gadgets will make my child’s handwriting worse

10%

39%

52%

Using gadgets will make my child too reliant on spell check

16%

42%

42%

Using gadgets will affect my child’s mental math skills

13%

35%

52%

Using gadgets will negatively affect my child’s verbal communication skills

13%

31%

56%

I won’t be able to help with their homework as my own tech skills aren’t good

8%

26%

66%

Using gadgets will negatively affect my child’s social skills

16%

39%

45%

Using gadgets will negatively affect my child’s attention span

13%

40%

47%

Source: uSwitch.com survey August 2016

Meanwhile, more than a quarter (26%) of parents say their kids have broken gadgets in the first three months of ownership, while 20% say they’ve been lost or stolen at school[7]. There are also school bullies to contend with – and 16% of parents say their child has been picked on over their gadgets, with the most common form of teasing focusing on the brand of the gadget[7].

Ernest Doku, technology expert at uSwitch.com, says: “Parents are recognising that kitting out children with tech builds on what they’re now learning in the classroom – such as how to code and create their own programs. This might be over the heads of many mums and dads, but it’s great that most are recognising this is need-to-know stuff for their kids.

“When it comes to what investments to make, the key is to understand what your child needs to use the device for – it might be primarily for browsing, in which case a tablet or smartphone can work, or if it’s for writing you might find a laptop or PC works better. With the majority of today’s gadgets being connected to the internet, it’s worth just making sure you’ve set up parental controls on their device or installed security software that blocks access to potentially harmful sites. This helps gives peace of mind to parents, whilst still giving children the freedom to explore and learn online.

“If you’re making some big investments ahead of the new school year, insurance might also be a wise choice, with many policies extending to cover family members who live in the same house.”

For more information visit www.uswitch.com or call 0800 093 0607

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Notes to editors

Survey conducted online via Censuswide in August 2016 among 1,000 UK parents with at least one child aged  5-16. Throughout this survey ‘gadgets’ refers to electronic devices or technology such as smartphones, tablets, laptops, computers, MP3 players, iPods, smartwatches and other wearable tech items. We asked respondents not to include calculators or televisions.

1.     Respondents were asked: ‘Ahead of the start of the autumn term in September, will you be buying any of the following gadgets for your child(ren) before they go back to school?’- 33.6% selected smartphone, tablet, mobile phone, MP3 player/iPod, desktop computer, e-reader, smartwatch, other wearable gadgets, or other

2.     Respondents were asked: ‘How much do you plan to spend on back to school gadgets for your children this year? (please think about the total amount for all of your children)’- the mean response was £396.90

3.     In a survey conducted online via Censuswide in August 2015, UK parents with children aged 16 or under were asked: ‘‘How much do you plan to spend on back to school gadgets for your children this year? (please think about the total amount for all of your children)’- the mean value was £134.13

4.     Respondents were asked: ‘On average, what do you think is the combined value of the gadgets one of your children takes to school each day in their school bag?’- the mean response was £218.90

5.     Respondents were asked whether they agreed with the following statement: ‘Being tech savvy will improve my child’s future career prospects?’- 95.3% selected ‘agree’

6.     Respondents were asked: ‘How many hours a day does your child(ren)/do your children spend using gadgets (not including TV)?’- the mean response was 3.5 hours, 14% selected more than 7 hrs per day

7.     Respondents were asked: ‘Has/have your child(ren) ever had the following happen?’- 26% ‘broke a gadget in the first 3 months of owning it’, 11.6% ‘lost a gadget at school’ and 8.2% ‘had a gadget stolen from school’, 8.2% ‘been bullied/teased about the brand of gadget they are using’, 6.1% ‘been bullied/teased because they don’t have a certain type of gadget’, 1.7% ‘been bullied into giving their gadget to another child’

8.     Respondents were asked: ‘How much do you plan to spend on back to school gadgets for your children this year? (Please think about the total amount for all of your children)’: 2.4% said £0, 16.5% said £1-£100, 14.7% said £101-£200, 14.1% said £201-£300, 11.4% said £301-£400, 13.2% £401-£500, 7.5% said £501-£600, 6% said £601-£700, 7.2% said £701-£800, 2.1% said £801-£900, 1.5% said £901-£1,000, 1.2% said £1001-£1,500, 1.2% said £1501-£2000, 0.6% said £2001-£2500 0.6% said £2501-£3000. The mean value is £396.90. There are 8,981,340 children aged 5-16 in the UK according to ONS Population Estimates for mid-2015. 34% of parents will spend money on back to school gadgets. 34% of 8,981,340 is 3,053,656. £396.90 x 3,053,656 = £1,211,996,066

9.     Respondents were asked: ‘How do you primarily feel about your child(ren) carrying valuable gadgets with them to school?’ – 26.8% selected ‘worried that somebody will steal the gadgets’

10.   Respondents were asked: ‘What’s the main reason you’ll be buying these gadgets?’- 21.3% selected ‘I want to give my child a headstart as tech is central to their future career prospects’

11.   Respondents were asked: ‘At what age was your child when you first bought the following gadgets for them?’- the mean response for all gadgets was 8.9 years

12.   Respondents were asked: ‘Which of the following do your child(ren) carry in their backpacks to school?’. Responses were split as follows. Primary school: 10.8% mobile phone without internet, 10.1% smartphone, 8.7% tablet, 6.7% MP3 player/iPod, 6.5% handheld games console, 5% laptop, 3% e-reader, 3% smartwatch, 1.6% other wearable gadgets, 2.8% had no children at primary school age, 40.2% ‘none of the above’ Secondary school: 9.9% mobile phone without internet, 29.7% smartphone, 7% tablet, 7.6% MP3 player/iPod, 3.5% handheld games console, 5.3% laptop, 2% e-reader, 1.8% smartwatch, 1.6% other wearable gadgets, 2.4% had no children at secondary school age, 9.7% ‘none of the above’

13.   Respondents were asked: ‘What’s the main reason you’ll be buying these gadgets?’- 28.1% selected ‘they need them for homework’

14.   Respondents were asked: ‘Does your child(ren)/do your children rely on any of the following gadgets for homework?’- 50.6% said laptops, 34.3% tablets, 18.8% desktop computer and 15.1% smartphones

15.   Respondents were asked: ‘What is your child(ren)’s school’s policy on gadgets?’- 39.7% selected ‘gadgets are banned and confiscated if found’, 34.6% ‘gadgets are allowed and widely used but are not allowed in lessons’ and 13% ‘gadgets are allowed in lessons and widely used including for educational purposes in lessons’

16.   Respondents were asked: ‘What are the main reasons you bought your child(ren) their first smartphone?’- 52.4% selected ‘for safety reasons (for example to keep track of them)’, 42% ‘to keep in touch with a parent or relative who lives away from/spends time away from my child’ and 19.5% ‘because their friends have one’

17.   See table above

About us

uSwitch is an online and telephone price comparison and switching service, helping consumers get a better deal on gas, electricity, home phone, broadband, digital television, mobile phones and personal finance products including mortgages, credit cards, current accounts and insurance.

Energy customers have the option to create an account to automatically monitor the market and notify them when they can move to a cheaper tariff - making future comparisons even simpler and faster. In 2014, uSwitch saved UK consumers over £112m on their energy bills alone.

Broadband customers can conduct a speed test to find out how fast their broadband is and to identify the best broadband provider for their postcode.

uSwitch was the first comparison site to achieve the Plain English Campaign’s Internet Crystal Mark, recognising that it has clear language, is accessible and easy to use.

uSwitch has a UK contact centre which is manned by energy and broadband experts. The ‘Send Us Your Bill’ service allows customers to post their latest energy bills to FREEPOST USWITCH in order to receive a free call back to be guided through the comparison process. Alternatively, consumers can email customerservices@uswitch.com with their postcode and usage details. uSwitch’s address is Notcutt House, 36 Southwark Bridge Rd, London, SE1 9EU.

uSwitch is owned by Zoopla Property Group Plc (LSE:ZPLA), a digital media business that owns and operates some of the UK's most widely recognised and trusted online brands including Zoopla, PrimeLocation, SmartNewHomes and HomesOverseas.

uSwitch comments on launch of Huawei Honor 8 smartphone for millenials

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Commenting on the European launch of Huawei’s Honor 8 smartphone, Ernest Doku, telecoms expert at uSwitch.com, says: “Everyone knows that if you design a phone for millennials, a front-facing selfie camera is compulsory.

“Huawei has ticked that box and silenced the competition by offering a photo mode that promises to make selfies ‘perfect’. They’ve coupled that with another which makes food look good enough to eat, playing to our insatiable appetite for parading dinners across social media.

“Specs like these – teamed with features such as the fingerprint sensor doubling as a multi-purpose button to start apps like WhatsApp or Pokémon Go – are likely to be a honeytrap for millennials living vicariously through Instagram and Snapchat; especially when wrapped up in a sleek glass handset that actually looks good.

“The Honor 8 joins the club that already counts the iPhone SE and Samsung Galaxy A as members – all are handsets targeted towards techy Generation Y who crave tons of features but refuse to pay flagship smartphone prices.

“But the Honor 8 comes in at just £10 less than a 16GB iPhone SE which, for some, will still be a little steep for a challenger device. Even though the Honor 8 is a comparable phone, Apple is still the brand kids aspire to own – for now at least.”

Find out how you could save over £1,000 a year with uSwitch here.

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About us

uSwitch is an online and telephone price comparison and switching service, helping consumers get a better deal on gas, electricity, home phone, broadband, digital television, mobile phones and personal finance products including mortgages, credit cards, current accounts and insurance.

Energy customers have the option to create an account to automatically monitor the market and notify them when they can move to a cheaper tariff - making future comparisons even simpler and faster. In 2014, uSwitch saved UK consumers over £112m on their energy bills alone.

Broadband customers can conduct a speed test to find out how fast their broadband is and to identify the best broadband provider for their postcode.

uSwitch was the first comparison site to achieve the Plain English Campaign’s Internet Crystal Mark, recognising that it has clear language, is accessible and easy to use.

uSwitch has a UK contact centre which is manned by energy and broadband experts. The ‘Send Us Your Bill’ service allows customers to post their latest energy bills to FREEPOST USWITCH in order to receive a free call back to be guided through the comparison process. Alternatively, consumers can email customerservices@uswitch.com with their postcode and usage details. uSwitch’s address is Notcutt House, 36 Southwark Bridge Rd, London, SE1 9EU.

uSwitch is owned by Zoopla Property Group Plc (LSE:ZPLA), a digital media business that owns and operates some of the UK's most widely recognised and trusted online brands including Zoopla, PrimeLocation, SmartNewHomes and HomesOverseas.

uSwitch comments on the launch of Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7

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Commenting on the launch of Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7, Ernest Doku, telecoms expert at uSwitch.com, says: “Before Apple’s Plus-sized iPhone stole its thunder, the Galaxy Note was the original phablet. 

“But since then its huge screen – the Note range’s unique selling point – has been copied by multiple mobile-makers. The result is that all the Note 5 had to differentiate it was its inclusive stylus ‘S Pen’.

“So you can see why Samsung – at the forefront of eyeball-tracking smartphone technology – has thrown an iris security scanner into the mix, and rolled out its unique curved edge as standard.

“It’s aiming to trump the existing fingerprint ID systems of its competitors, while building on the unexpected popularity of its first curved Edge phone – the closest thing to a major rethink of handset design we’ve seen for some time.

“As the Note 7 is Samsung’s priciest handset to date, users will be expecting bells and whistles, but these features need to add value to the device. Iris scanning tech that is redundant for wearers of contact lens or specs will have the geek chic brigade up in arms.

“There’s clearly a market for oversized phones that barely fit in your pocket. Gamers, film fans and business people could all benefit from the better user experience just a few extra millimetres can bring.”

 Find out how you could save over £1,000 a year with uSwitch here.

— ends —

About us

uSwitch is an online and telephone price comparison and switching service, helping consumers get a better deal on gas, electricity, home phone, broadband, digital television, mobile phones and personal finance products including mortgages, credit cards, current accounts and insurance.

Energy customers have the option to create an account to automatically monitor the market and notify them when they can move to a cheaper tariff - making future comparisons even simpler and faster. In 2014, uSwitch saved UK consumers over £112m on their energy bills alone.

Broadband customers can conduct a speed test to find out how fast their broadband is and to identify the best broadband provider for their postcode.

uSwitch was the first comparison site to achieve the Plain English Campaign’s Internet Crystal Mark, recognising that it has clear language, is accessible and easy to use.

uSwitch has a UK contact centre which is manned by energy and broadband experts. The ‘Send Us Your Bill’ service allows customers to post their latest energy bills to FREEPOST USWITCH in order to receive a free call back to be guided through the comparison process. Alternatively, consumers can email customerservices@uswitch.com with their postcode and usage details. uSwitch’s address is Notcutt House, 36 Southwark Bridge Rd, London, SE1 9EU.

uSwitch is owned by Zoopla Property Group Plc (LSE:ZPLA), a digital media business that owns and operates some of the UK's most widely recognised and trusted online brands including Zoopla, PrimeLocation, SmartNewHomes and HomesOverseas.

Sports fans headed to Brazil for Rio Olympics could face £3,920 mobile bill shock

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  • Spectators jetting off to Brazil for the 16-day Games could be hit with a roaming bill of £3,920[1]– almost 50 times the cost of a ticket to the men’s 100m final[2]
  • Call, text and voicemail retrieval charges are not capped: Olympic spectators risk clocking up more than £47 per day, excluding data costs[3]
  • Mobile data bills alone could hit £197 a day during the Olympics if sports fans opt out of automatic limits provided by networks[4]
  • Brits visiting Rio can expect to spend an average £4.85 on every 1MB of mobile internet data, barely enough to upload three stadium selfies to social media[5]
  • Less than a fifth (18%) of Brits check with their networks before travelling to see if they can save money on roaming costs with a bundle or add on[10]
  • uSwitch.com urges those travelling outside the EU to consult with their networks before leaving to explore roaming options and costs.

UK mobile users travelling to Rio for the Olympic Games could easily rack up a roaming bill of £3,920, according to research by price comparison and switching service uSwitch.com[1]. The sky-high charge – almost 50 times higher than the cheapest ticket to the men’s 100m final[2] – is based on a conservative daily usage over 16 days in Brazil, if British mobile customers opt out of data caps put in place by networks.

Although UK networks place a cap of around £40 on mobile data roaming costs[6], travellers may be tempted to opt out of this cap as data charges rack up quickly and, in doing so, could easily wind up with a data bill of £197 a day[4].

In Brazil, £40 will buy you an average of 8MB of mobile data if purchased out of bundle, enough for just 23 social media photo updates, or two minutes streaming the day’s sporting highlights[7]. That’s because just 1MB of mobile data – barely enough to upload three selfies in the Olympic stadium to social media – costs an average of £4.85 out of bundle, with one network charging as much as £8[5].

In fact, more than one in 10 (13%) mobile users say they returned to a mobile bill of more than £40 after travelling abroad in the last 18 months[8]. Costs for calls, voicemail retrieval and text messages are still uncapped, and – with a call costing up to £2 per minute on some networks – uSwitch.com has calculated that UK mobile users could easily spend over £47 a day on minutes and texts alone[3]. That’s based on a conservative daily usage too: making three five-minute phone calls to the UK, receiving two five-minute phone calls, listening to a two-minute voicemail message, and sending 10 texts.

Certain networks offer a higher level of protection, for example EE doesn’t allow its customers to use data abroad at all without first buying a data bundle, while both Tesco Mobile and iD Mobile allow customers to control their spend abroad by capping their monthly bills. Meanwhile, O2 Travel offers a daily allowance, including unlimited data for £4.99 per day and Vodafone’s World Traveller allows UK mobile users to use their domestic bundle of minutes, texts and data in Brazil for £5 a day – a total of £80 for the 16-day trip [9].

In spite of this, less than a fifth (18%) of Brits check with their networks before travelling to see if they can save money on roaming costs with a bundle or add on[10]. And, worryingly, 16% think it’s free to use your mobile phone outside the EU, while almost half (49%) aren’t sure[11].

The table below shows the out-of-bundle charges for pay monthly customers roaming in Brazil across the different networks and as an average cost, as well as any roaming add-ons available:

EE Vodafone Three O2 iD Mobile Tesco Mobile Ave. cost
Making calls to UK mobiles (per min) £1.50 £1.65 £2.00 £1.50 £2.00 £1.49 £1.69
Receiving calls (per min) £1.50 £1.30 £1.25 £1.25 £2.00 £1.49 £1.47
Sending 1 SMS text message £0.50 £0.35 £0.35 £0.40 £0.50 £0.40 £0.42
Sending 1 MMS text message £0.40 £0.55 £0.40 £0.40 £0.50 £0.25 £0.42
Voicemail (per min) £1.50 £1.65 £2.00 £1.50 £2.00 £1.49 £1.69
Data (per MB) N/A Daily charge of £3.00 for first 5MB, £15 for 5MB thereafter £6.00 £6.00 £1.25 £8.00 £4.85
Roaming add ons for Brazil  £5/10MB & £10/25MB (per day), £20/40MB & £40/100MB (per week). 30 mins £6 per month, 60 mins £10, 120 mins £20, 100 texts £6 per month, 250 texts £10 Vodafone WorldTraveller: take your UK minutes, texts and data with you for just £5 extra a day No add-ons available for countries outside Feel At Home destinations O2 Travel: unlimited data, 120 minutes and 120 texts for £4.99 per day None available for countries outside TakeAway plan destinations None available for countries outside Home From Home destinations

Source: uSwitch.com 

Prices in table correct for pay monthly customers travelling to Brazil for the dates of the Olympic Games, checked on 7/7/16

Ernest Doku, mobiles expert at uSwitch.com, says: “Anyone heading to Rio to cheer on Team GB this summer could do some serious damage to their bank balances because some UK networks’ roaming offerings are decidedly unimpressive or, in certain cases, non-existent. Just re-playing a 20-second clip of the 100-metre final would cost you more than £6 out of bundle, and that’s provided there aren’t any false starts[12].

“Never has there been more urgency for networks to improve rates for overseas mobile usage, particularly now lower roaming prices inside the EU potentially hang in the balance following the UK’s decision to leave.

“Right now, the £40 cap is all well and good in the EU – where roaming prices are currently lower – but potentially astronomical roaming costs further afield means people are tempted to opt out, making them more vulnerable to bill shock.

“Three’s Feel At Home – one of the best roaming deals on the market – has slashed costs to zero in the likes of the USA, New Zealand and Australia, but it’s limited to 19 countries, and Brazil isn’t in the line-up.

“For those going to Rio, and reluctant to hunt out free Wi-Fi, Vodafone’s World Traveller and O2 Travel are the best offerings. You have to opt in at a cost of around £5 a day – so it’s quite pricey for the duration of the Games – but you could store up those calls and social media updates and blitz them every other day instead, only paying an extra £40.”

Find out how you could save over £1,000 a year with uSwitch here.

— ends —

Notes to editors

 

  1. Average daily data bill of £197.40 + average daily calls and text bill of £47.63 x 16 days in Brazil = £3,920.48
  2. Price of cheapest ticket for men’s 100m final is R$350.00, or £80.50 according to Google conversion rates on 13/07/2016. Prices according Rio2016.com. Calculation is: £3,920.48 / £80.50 = 48.7 times the cost of the ticket.
  3. Average daily calls and texts bill of £47.63 is based on making three five-minute phone calls to the UK per day, receiving two five-minute phone calls, listening to a two-minute voicemail message, and sending 10 text messages. Calculation is: £1.69*15 + £1.47*10 + £1.69*2 + £0.42*10 = £47.63
  4. Average daily data spend of £197.40 is based on the following usage per week (then divided by 7 to get daily data spend): send/receive 20 text only emails, send/receive 10 emails with images/attachments, 2 hours surfing the web, 1 hour streaming music, download 5 music tracks, download 1 app, 30 minutes video calls like Skype, 50 photos posted or tweeted. Calculation is: 400KB + 3MB + 30MB + 30MB + 20MB + 4MB + 180MB + 17.5MB / 7 days = 40.7 x £4.85 (average price per MB) = £197.40.  File sizes according toAT&T.
  5. AT&T says x1 social media update with photo = 350 KB. Mean charge for 1MB of data by Vodafone (£3), Three (£6), O2 (£6), iD Mobile (£1.25) and Tesco Mobile (£8) is £4.85. EE not included in mean data cost as add-ons must be purchased to use EE mobile data abroad.
  6. As per the Ofcomwebsite, all mobile operators have to cap mobile data usage at €50 (around £40), wherever you travel in the world, unless you choose to opt out.
  7. £40 (mobile data cap) / £4.85 (mean price per MB of data) = 8.25MB of data. File sizes according to AT&T.
  8. In a uSwitch.com survey of 2,171 UK telecoms customers carried out between 13/04/16 and 15/04/16 via Censuswide, respondents were asked ‘Have you received a mobile bill greater than £40 after travelling abroad in the last 18 months?’ – 13.1% said yes, 60.8% said no, 26.1% hadn’t travelled abroad
  9. Roaming information and prices according toEE.co.uko2.co.ukVodafone.co.ukTescomobile.com and iDMobile.co.uk
  10. In a uSwitch.com survey of 2,171 UK telecoms customers carried out between 13/04/16 and 15/04/16 via Censuswide, respondents were asked whether the following statement best described them when travelling abroad with their mobile phone: ‘I always check with my network before I leave to find out if there’s a roaming bundle that will give me cheaper calls, texts and data’, – 17.5% of respondents selected this option.
  11. In the same survey, respondents were asked whether they thought the following statement was true or false: ‘There are now no extra charges for people from the UK using their mobiles in non EU countries’, to which 16.4% selected ‘true’, 35.01% selected ‘false’, and 48.5% selected ‘unsure/don’t know’.
  12. AT&Tsuggests streaming 1 min video requires 4MB mobile data, so watching a 20-second clip of the final would require 1.3MB – costing £6.31 (ave across networks, see table)

 

About us

uSwitch is an online and telephone price comparison and switching service, helping consumers get a better deal on gas, electricity, home phone, broadband, digital television, mobile phones and personal finance products including mortgages, credit cards, current accounts and insurance.

Energy customers have the option to create an account to automatically monitor the market and notify them when they can move to a cheaper tariff - making future comparisons even simpler and faster. In 2014, uSwitch saved UK consumers over £112m on their energy bills alone.

Broadband customers can conduct a speed test to find out how fast their broadband is and to identify the best broadband provider for their postcode.

uSwitch was the first comparison site to achieve the Plain English Campaign’s Internet Crystal Mark, recognising that it has clear language, is accessible and easy to use.

uSwitch has a UK contact centre which is manned by energy and broadband experts. The ‘Send Us Your Bill’ service allows customers to post their latest energy bills to FREEPOST USWITCH in order to receive a free call back to be guided through the comparison process. Alternatively, consumers can email customerservices@uswitch.com with their postcode and usage details. uSwitch’s address is Notcutt House, 36 Southwark Bridge Rd, London, SE1 9EU.

uSwitch is owned by Zoopla Property Group Plc (LSE:ZPLA), a digital media business that owns and operates some of the UK's most widely recognised and trusted online brands including Zoopla, PrimeLocation, SmartNewHomes and HomesOverseas.

Brits fritter away £811 million on unnecessary mobile phone charges

10
  • More than four in 10 (42%) British mobile users spend an extra £40 per year on out-of-tariff mobile costs[1]
  • The most common reason is exceeding mobile data limits (39%) suggesting many data-hungry users are on the wrong deals[2]
  • Premium rate calls and texts catch out almost a quarter (23%) of mobile users, while roamingfees for using handsets overseas are hitting 20% in the pocket[2]
  • Over a third (37%)[4] are completely unaware of the difference between SMS and MMS messages, costing almost a fifth (19%) of mobile users in additional charges [2]
  • Switching to a better mobile tariff for your needs could save you an average of nearly £100 a year[3].

In the past 12 months, Britons have spent a combined £811 million on top of their monthly mobile tariffs[1], according to price comparison and switching service uSwitch.com. More than one in four (42%) British mobile users pay out an extra £39.72[1] per year on unforeseen mobile charges.

The most common reason for out-of-tariff charges is exceeding mobile data limits (39%)[2], implying many mobile users are on the wrong deals for their browsing, streaming and downloading needs. Premium rate calls and texts catch out almost a quarter (23%) of mobile customers, while roaming charges for using handsets abroad hit 20% in the pocket[2]. Other costs to sting mobile users include exceeding call minute allowances (13%) and making calls to overseas numbers (9%)[2].

Worryingly, well over a third (37%)[4] are completely unaware of the difference between SMS and MMS messages, costing almost a fifth (19%) of mobile users in additional charges[2]. While text (SMS) messages are usually included as part of your text bundle, MMS or multi-media messages include photo messages, texts containing emoticons and messages sent to more than one recipient. These are usually charged separately, and can cost up to 45p each, as shown in the table below, which reveals the costs of out of tariff charges for pay-monthly customers across the different mobile providers:

Network Calls (per min) SMS (per message) MMS (per message) Data Voicemail (per min) Access charge for calling premium rate numbers (per min)
EE 30p to all networks 12p to all networks 40p Prices start at £6 for 500MB. If you don’t buy an add-on, you won’t be able to use mobile internet until your next bill. 30p 44p
Vodafone 45p to all networks 

Increasing to 55p from 23rd July 2016

18p to all networks 

Increasing to 35p from 23rd July 2016

45p 

Increasing to 55p from 23rd July 2016

£6.50 per 250MB of data until your next monthly data allowance is added. 45p 

Increasing to 55p from 23rd July 2016

45p 

Increasing to 55p from 23rdJuly 2016

O2 45p to all networks 15p to all networks 45p Bolt-ons start at £3 for 100MB. If you don’t buy a bolt-on, you won’t be able to use mobile internet until your next bill. Free 45p
Three 35p to all networks N/A – all packages have unlimited texts 17.4pIncreasing to 40p from 13th June 2016 If you run out of data, you’ll need to purchase an add-on to continue using data. Short-term add-ons last until the end of the bill cycle and are £2.50 for 250MB or £5 for all other add-ons (which match the data allowance on your plan). 35p 45p
Virgin Media 40p to all networks 

Increasing to 45p from 1st July 2016

15p to all networks 40p £1 per day for unlimited data usage within the UK. 

Increasing to £2 per day from 1st July 2016

Free 36p 

Increasing to 45p from 1st July 2016

Tesco Mobile 25p to all networks 10p to all networks 25p 10p per MB buy an add on starting at £3 for 250MB. 15p 25p

Source: uSwitch.com. Correct as of 26th May 2016. All of the above charges apply to pay-monthly contracts

Ernest Doku, telecoms expert at uSwitch.com, says: “The really frustrating thing is these charges could easily be avoided. Billpayers are spending three quarters of a billion pounds on out of tariff charges, suggesting many people are languishing on the wrong mobile deals.

“Smartphones have made us all hungrier to surf, stream and search online and exceeding your data limit is the biggest culprit when it comes to excess charges. Only 14% of mobile deals sold through uSwitch.com offer unlimited data[5], which suggests people are still underestimating their data usage.

“Getting your tariff right plays as much a part in keeping bills down as understanding any hidden costs. If you’re not sure where you are overpaying, look at your bills over the past 12 months and see where your usage is heaviest. This will help you work out where you are being caught short.

“There are a few simple steps you can take to try and reduce your bills but, first things first, either speak to your current network to find a tariff that better suits your needs or, if you are out of contract, consider switching to a new provider that can offer you a better deal. You can save an average of nearly £100 by switching[3], so it’s worth looking into.

‘If you regularly receive excess charges, it’s worth exploring a pay-as-you-go option such as giffgaff instead. Its out of bundle charges are notably less than those offered on a pay-monthly contract from the big four providers.

“Making some basic changes to the way you use your phone can also help you avoid falling victim to typical out-of-tariff traps. For example, switching to messaging apps that use data to send photos and texts instead of SMS or MMS, considering Skype for overseas calls and checking out roaming bundles before you travel can all save you money.”

— ends —

Notes to editors

Data based on a uSwitch.com survey of 2,000 UK telecoms customers via Censuswide, carried out between 11/3/16 and 14/3/16.

  1. Respondents were asked: ‘On average, how much extra do you pay for your monthly mobile phone contract in a typical month?’ 90% said £0.01-£5, 10.6% said £6-£10, 4.6% said £11-£15, 2.5% said £16-£20, 1.2% said £21-£25, 0.7% said £26-£30, 0.4% said more than £30, 58.1% said I never pay extra. The mean is £3.31. Calculation for headline stat: 58.1% of mobile customers never exceed their mobile bill – meaning 41.9% do, by an average of £3.31 per month, or £39.72 a year.93% of UK adults personally own/use a smartphone. There are 52.4million people aged 16 and over in the UK. 93% of 52.4million is 48,732,000. 41.9% of that figure is 20,418,708 multiplied by £39.72 = £811,031,082
  2. Respondents were asked: ‘Which would you say are the main reasons you rack up out of bundle charges on your monthly mobile phone contract?’ 39.3% said ‘exceeding my mobile data limit’, 20% said ‘using my mobile abroad (roaming)’, 19% said ‘MMS messages (these are texts with emoticons, or photographs, or texts sent to more than one recipient)’, 13% said ‘exceeding my allowance of minutes’, 11.6% said ‘calling premium rate numbers e.g. TV voting hotlines’, 11% said ‘texting premium rate numbers e.g. TV competitions’, 9.1% said ‘making calls to friends/family who live overseas’, 6.8% said ‘being charged to listen to voicemail’, 3.9% said ‘making in-app purchases or play expensive games’, 3.4% said ‘exceeding my allowance of text messages’ and 4.5% said ‘other’.
  3. Respondents who have switched mobile network were asked ‘thinking about the last time you switched on average how much did you reduce your mobile bills by per month?’ The mean saving was £8.32 (x12 to get annual saving of £99.84). 24.7% said their bills stayed the same, 20% saved up to £5, 20.2% saved £6-£10, 9.8% saved £11-£15, 6.3% saved £16-£20, 3.7% saved £21-£25, 2.6% saved £26-£30, 1.6% saved £31-£35, 0.8% saved £36-£40, 0.8% saved £41-£50, 0.6% saved £51+. Not included in the mean saving were the 9.1% who said their bills increased when they switched
  4. Respondents were asked: ‘Did you know that MMS messages on your mobile carry an extra charge, as they are not charged as texts or data?’ 37.4% said ‘No, I didn’t know this’ and 62.6% said ‘Yes, I knew this’
  5. 14% of all deals sold via uSwitch.com in the six months between 22.10.15 and 22.4.16 offered unlimited data usage

About us

uSwitch is an online and telephone price comparison and switching service, helping consumers get a better deal on gas, electricity, home phone, broadband, digital television, mobile phones and personal finance products including mortgages, credit cards, current accounts and insurance.

Energy customers have the option to create an account to automatically monitor the market and notify them when they can move to a cheaper tariff - making future comparisons even simpler and faster. In 2014, uSwitch saved UK consumers over £112m on their energy bills alone.

Broadband customers can conduct a speed test to find out how fast their broadband is and to identify the best broadband provider for their postcode.

uSwitch was the first comparison site to achieve the Plain English Campaign’s Internet Crystal Mark, recognising that it has clear language, is accessible and easy to use.

uSwitch has a UK contact centre which is manned by energy and broadband experts. The ‘Send Us Your Bill’ service allows customers to post their latest energy bills to FREEPOST USWITCH in order to receive a free call back to be guided through the comparison process. Alternatively, consumers can email customerservices@uswitch.com with their postcode and usage details. uSwitch’s address is Notcutt House, 36 Southwark Bridge Rd, London, SE1 9EU.

uSwitch is owned by Zoopla Property Group Plc (LSE:ZPLA), a digital media business that owns and operates some of the UK's most widely recognised and trusted online brands including Zoopla, PrimeLocation, SmartNewHomes and HomesOverseas.

uSwitch comments on Tesco Mobile Xtras launch

tesco mobile

Commenting on today’s launch of Tesco Mobile Xtras, which allows people to reduce monthly mobile bills in return for viewing adverts, content and offers when unlocking their Android smartphones, Ernest Doku, telecoms expert at uSwitch.com, says: “Smartphone users aren’t unfamiliar with advertising on handsets – it’s the compromise of many free-to-use apps – so it’s likely cost-conscious customers will be happy to give this a try.

“But whether mobile users are willing to live with ads in return for cheaper bills will depend on how intrusive they are, and how relevant.

“Geolocation will be used to offer promotions for shops and cafes close by. For some, this will be too ‘Big Brother’, but others will see the appeal of personalised and timely deals.

“Fears of the ads eating into mobile data allowances are assuaged by a free 200MB of data a month, while the function will be disabled automatically abroad.

“Another tick in the box is that brands won’t be able to access or buy users’ personal mobile data but, on the flip side, a saving of £3 a month barely covers a coffee these days.

“Three recently re-ignited the debate about mobile ads by announcing plans to block them at network level, so all eyes will be on Tesco’s customer base, and how they respond to having the freedom of choice.”

— ends —

About us

uSwitch is an online and telephone price comparison and switching service, helping consumers get a better deal on gas, electricity, home phone, broadband, digital television, mobile phones and personal finance products including mortgages, credit cards, current accounts and insurance.

Energy customers have the option to create an account to automatically monitor the market and notify them when they can move to a cheaper tariff - making future comparisons even simpler and faster. In 2014, uSwitch saved UK consumers over £112m on their energy bills alone.

Broadband customers can conduct a speed test to find out how fast their broadband is and to identify the best broadband provider for their postcode.

uSwitch was the first comparison site to achieve the Plain English Campaign’s Internet Crystal Mark, recognising that it has clear language, is accessible and easy to use.

uSwitch has a UK contact centre which is manned by energy and broadband experts. The ‘Send Us Your Bill’ service allows customers to post their latest energy bills to FREEPOST USWITCH in order to receive a free call back to be guided through the comparison process. Alternatively, consumers can email customerservices@uswitch.com with their postcode and usage details. uSwitch’s address is Notcutt House, 36 Southwark Bridge Rd, London, SE1 9EU.

uSwitch is owned by Zoopla Property Group Plc (LSE:ZPLA), a digital media business that owns and operates some of the UK's most widely recognised and trusted online brands including Zoopla, PrimeLocation, SmartNewHomes and HomesOverseas.

uSwitch comments on Android Pay launch

shopping-money-credit-card-debt-230x230

 Commenting on today’s UK launch of Android Pay, Ernest Doku, telecoms expert at uSwitch.com, says: “Any Android users glancing sideways at their iPhone-owning mates paying for coffees and train tickets with their phones can put the green-eyed monster to rest. Android Pay is here and it’s prolific.

“Wide-reaching support for NFC means it works everywhere that contactless cards are accepted, but the launch is just the start and work must be done to garner mainstream adoption.

“Much like when MasterCard partnered with Apple Pay to offer free Tube travel, Android is going for the early adopters with ‘Pay Day’ incentives at popular stores, a clever way to get Brits used to small and frequent payments.

“Mobile pay is still in its infancy in the UK, with Apple only just beginning to roll its own platform out to consumers via the mid-range iPhone SE, having limited it initially to the iPhone 6 and newer models. This means Android Pay is unlikely to have been hindered by Apple getting there first.

“And Android Pay’s low barrier to entry – most smartphones are NFC-enabled these days –means it’ll have a more wide-reaching impact on how Brits pay for goods than Apple Pay has had alone.

“The flipside of the convenience of using your phone as a wallet is the openness of the Android platform. Security will be a concern that Android must overcome for payments on a daily basis, especially for the older generation. A survey we carried out revealed 57% of Britons don’t feel comfortable paying for goods and services through their mobile phones, and 45% are concerned about security and fraud.

“It’ll take years not months to build trust in mobile payments among the mainstream and, while the openness of Android as a platform for developers might be a good thing for the user experience, just one data breach or financial hack could destroy all that trust and goodwill – so vigilance is key.”

Find out how you could save over £1,000 a year with uSwitch here.

— ends —

About us

uSwitch is an online and telephone price comparison and switching service, helping consumers get a better deal on gas, electricity, home phone, broadband, digital television, mobile phones and personal finance products including mortgages, credit cards, current accounts and insurance.

Energy customers have the option to create an account to automatically monitor the market and notify them when they can move to a cheaper tariff - making future comparisons even simpler and faster. In 2014, uSwitch saved UK consumers over £112m on their energy bills alone.

Broadband customers can conduct a speed test to find out how fast their broadband is and to identify the best broadband provider for their postcode.

uSwitch was the first comparison site to achieve the Plain English Campaign’s Internet Crystal Mark, recognising that it has clear language, is accessible and easy to use.

uSwitch has a UK contact centre which is manned by energy and broadband experts. The ‘Send Us Your Bill’ service allows customers to post their latest energy bills to FREEPOST USWITCH in order to receive a free call back to be guided through the comparison process. Alternatively, consumers can email customerservices@uswitch.com with their postcode and usage details. uSwitch’s address is Notcutt House, 36 Southwark Bridge Rd, London, SE1 9EU.

uSwitch is owned by Zoopla Property Group Plc (LSE:ZPLA), a digital media business that owns and operates some of the UK's most widely recognised and trusted online brands including Zoopla, PrimeLocation, SmartNewHomes and HomesOverseas.

Brits waste over 2 million hours a year trying to leave mobile networks

shutterstock_269601239
  • Over 11 million mobile customers switched networks in the past year[1], but spent over 143 million minutes in phone calls and on live chats trying to leave – an average of 25 minutes per customer[2]
  • More than four in 10 (41%) contacted their mobile networks twice or more to leave; while 11% called or had live chats with their network four or more times[3]
  • Almost one in 10 (9%) mobile customers have stayed loyal to just one network[4], but the average saving for moving to a new operator is almost £100 per year[5]
  • One in 10 (10%) save more than £250 per year just by switching to a new network[5]
  • uSwitch.com calls on Ofcom to bring the mobile industry in line with energy, current accounts and Openreach broadband, where the provider you are moving to handles the switch, rather than the one you are leaving.

In the past 12 months alone, mobile customers have lost 2.4 million hours in talks to leave networks[2], according to price comparison and switching service uSwitch.com. The 143 million minutes – an average of 25 minutes per customer – include calls, live chats and time spent on hold waiting to speak to an advisor[2].

And it seems one conversation won’t do either, as the average customer must speak to their network twice before parting ways[3]. More than four in 10 (41%) have to contact their network at least twice, and more than a tenth (11%) four or more times[3].

Moving easily between networks is worth almost £100 a year to individuals, who can save an average of £99.84 each by simply porting their number to another network on a new deal[5]. A tenth (10%) of customers save more than £250 a year[5] but, in spite of the financial rewards, almost one in ten (9%) mobile customers have remained loyal to one network since they first started using a mobile[4].

Nearly a quarter (24%) successfully switched provider in the last year, but only 23% described the process of leaving their network as ‘easy’[7]. More than a fifth (22%) felt pressured into staying, while a similar proportion (21%) were bombarded with questions. Another 16% said the conversation was ‘awkward’[7].

Contributing to the problem is that mobile customers have to contact the provider they are leaving to kick start the switching process. By contrast, if you switch energy supplier, or current account, the provider or bank you’re moving to handles the switch. The broadband industry started moving towards a switching process led by the gaining provider back in June 2015 – although, for now, this only applies to Openreach customers[8].

Close to seven in 10 (69%) mobile customers said they would support industry change so the network they are moving to handles the switch, rather than the one they are leaving[6]. Ofcom has launched a consultation on the mobile switching process and is recommending a fully gaining provider led system[9].

Ernest Doku, telecoms expert at uSwitch.com, says: “We’ve heard of all sorts of retention tactics deployed by mobile networks to make people reconsider leaving.

“For example, one in 10 switchers told us the tone of the customer service staff actually became more unfriendly when they insisted they wanted to leave[10] – hardly a good way to entice customers to stay.

“Part of the problem is you have to contact your existing network to request your PAC – a unique code needed to take your mobile number with you – increasing the hassle and giving them one last chance at keeping your custom. Our data shows over a fifth have never switched because they believe the current process is too much hassle[11].

“An issue our research highlights is that in a market where the operator you’re attempting to leave handles your switch, there is relatively little incentive for networks to make it easy. The broadband market has already started shifting towards a common-sense system[12] where the provider you’re moving to handles the switch, but there’s still a way to go before all customers are protected.

“Ofcom has launched a consultation that includes an option to change the mobile switching process to one where it’s all handled by the new provider, but at the moment the old system still stands – and it’s clearly costing people both time and money.”

For more information visit www.uswitch.com or call 0800 093 0607

 

— ends —

Notes to editors

Unless specified below, the results are based on a uSwitch.com survey of 2,000 UK telecoms customers via Censuswide, carried out between 11/3/16 and 14/3/16.

  1. In a survey of 2,000 UK mobile customers via Censuswide carried out between 6/5/16 and 10/5/16, 24% of mobile customers had switched network in the past 12 months. 93% of UK adults personally own/use a smartphone. There are 50.9 million people aged 18 and over in the UK. 93% of 50.9 million is 47,337,000. 24% of 47,337,000 is 11,360,880.
  2. 51.3% used phone or live chat to switch and took an average of 25 mins to switch. 51.3% of 11,360,880 (see caveat 1) = 5,828,131.44 x 25mins = 145,703,286 minutes, which is 2,428,388.1 hours.
  3. Respondents were asked: ‘How many times did you have to contact your mobile network before you managed to leave? Please include telephone conversations, live chat and letter and email exchanges in this’ – The mean was 1.89 times, 58.7% said 1, 21.3% said 2, 9% said 3, 5% said 4, 2.3% said 5, 0.9% said 6, 1.4% said 7, 0.6% said 8, 0.4% said 9, 0.4% said 10, 0.1% said 11+
  4. In a survey of 2,000 UK mobile customers via Censuswide carried out between 6/5/16 and 10/5/16, respondents were asked: ‘Have you switched mobile provider in the last year?’ – 0.70% said ‘Yes more than once’, 23.20% said ‘Yes, once’, 66.10% said no, 9.00% said ‘I have never switched mobile provider’ and 1.10% said ‘I have never switched mobile provider, but I got my first mobile phone in the last year’.
  5. Respondents who have switched mobile network were asked ‘thinking about the last time you switched on average how much did you reduce your mobile bills by per month?’- the mean saving was £8.32 (x12 to get annual saving of £99.84).24.7% said their bills stayed the same, 20% saved up to £5, 20.2% saved £6-£10, 9.8% saved £11-£15, 6.3% saved £16-£20, 3.7% saved £21-£25, 2.6% saved £26-£30, 1.6% saved £31-£35, 0.8% saved £36-£40, 0.8% saved £41-£50, 0.6% saved £51+. Not included in the mean saving were the 9.1% who said their bills increased when they switched
  6. Respondents were asked: ‘Would you support a change in the mobile market, whereby the network you were moving to handled your switch, rather than the network you were leaving?’ 69% said I would support this, 5.7% said no I wouldn’t support this, 25.3% said not sure
  7. Respondents were asked: ‘How would you describe the conversation you had with the mobile network you were leaving?’ 22.9% said it was easy, 21.9% said I felt under pressure to stay, 20.6% said there were lots of questions, 19.8% said it was quick, 16% said it was awkward, 15.3% said the conversation was pleasant, 8.8% said it was confusing
  8. http://media.ofcom.org.uk/news/2015/easier-bb-switching/
  9. http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/consultations/consumer-switching-mobile/
  10. Respondents were asked: ‘Thinking about the last time you switched mobile network, did you experience any of the following?’ Out of the list of options, 10.1% selected ‘the tone of the person I spoke to became unfriendly when I insisted I wanted to leave’
  11. Respondents were asked: ‘Which of the following reasons explain why you have never switched mobile network?’ Out of the list of options, 21.8% said ‘It’s too much hassle’
  12. http://media.ofcom.org.uk/news/2015/easier-bb-switching/

About us

uSwitch is an online and telephone price comparison and switching service, helping consumers get a better deal on gas, electricity, home phone, broadband, digital television, mobile phones and personal finance products including mortgages, credit cards, current accounts and insurance.

Energy customers have the option to create an account to automatically monitor the market and notify them when they can move to a cheaper tariff - making future comparisons even simpler and faster. In 2014, uSwitch saved UK consumers over £112m on their energy bills alone.

Broadband customers can conduct a speed test to find out how fast their broadband is and to identify the best broadband provider for their postcode.

uSwitch was the first comparison site to achieve the Plain English Campaign’s Internet Crystal Mark, recognising that it has clear language, is accessible and easy to use.

uSwitch has a UK contact centre which is manned by energy and broadband experts. The ‘Send Us Your Bill’ service allows customers to post their latest energy bills to FREEPOST USWITCH in order to receive a free call back to be guided through the comparison process. Alternatively, consumers can email customerservices@uswitch.com with their postcode and usage details. uSwitch’s address is Notcutt House, 36 Southwark Bridge Rd, London, SE1 9EU.

uSwitch is owned by Zoopla Property Group Plc (LSE:ZPLA), a digital media business that owns and operates some of the UK's most widely recognised and trusted online brands including Zoopla, PrimeLocation, SmartNewHomes and HomesOverseas.