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Just one in 10 prefer an MVNO over an operator

Paul Lipscombe
October 9, 2018

Over one-third (38 per cent) believe the big four operators provide a better signal than MVNOs 

Only 10 per cent of consumers prefer to use an MVNO over one of the traditional mobile networks, according to a study.

The research, carried out in April this year by digital customer feedback specialists Maru/edr also found that 35 per cent of the 500 people surveyed would only ever consider one of the big four mobile networks; EE, Vodafone, O2 and Three.

Despite an increased awareness of MVNOs, with nine out of 10 mobile phone users aware of at least one such provider, the study found that the willingness to switch is low.

One of the biggest misconceptions found about MVNOs was the expectation of a reduced network signal compared to mobile network operators, with over one-third of users (38 per cent) thinking that bigger networks would provide a better signal.

However, some see the benefits of choosing an MVNO, with 28 per cent believing they can offer better flexibility in contracts and 11 per cent expecting more customer perks from an MVNO.

Commenting on the findings, Maru/edr managing director of telecoms, media and technology Melanie Lewis said:

“We’re in the age of the challenger brand. But this awareness is not translating to the biggest growth possible – the research uncovered that a high proportion of UK mobile phone users are confused by what an MVNO can offer.

“Consumer expectations when it comes to both personalisations and innovation are higher for MVNO brands than traditional networks, but many are still wary that virtual networks do not have the fundamental basics – such as signal strength and even customer service – in place.”

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