Mobile provider satisfaction survey

How do you rate your mobile phone provider?

Straight talk

Given how reliant many of us are on our mobiles, it's important to have a trustworthy mobile phone provider. How you feel about your provider may depend on the value of your plan, your monthly bill, where you travel and need coverage, or how the provider responds when you're having issues with your service or phone.

Our mobile satisfaction survey rates providers based on their own customers' feedback on how they're performing on key things such as network performance and customer service. And the results are in.

So, which telco has the happiest customers?

We've also found the internet service providers you're happiest with. See our ISP satisfaction survey.

SIM-only mobile provider satisfaction

This table represents mobile satisfaction scores for providers where respondents supply their own phone and pay the provider for a SIM-only plan. In the table we can see that:

  • Aldimobile (93) and Amaysim (84) score highest for value for money/plans. 
  • Telstra SIM-only customers score their provider lowest for value for money (69).
  • Aldimobile (86), Amaysim (82) and Virgin Mobile (78) all score higher than average for overall satisfaction.
Providers Overall Network reliability
Internet connectivity
Network coverage Internet speed Value for money
Call clarity Customer service
Bill clarity
Aldimobile (n=41) 86    85 83       87       78       93 ↑        87         77      86     
Amaysim (n=59) 82 80 81 82      81     84 ↑        84      75     82     
Virgin Mobile (n49) 78 76    73   75     74    82     83       77     81     
Average (n=1038) 77 78 77     78     76     77        80       74    78   
Optus (n=235) 76   77   75 75    75    76     79     73      76     
Vodafone (n=155) 75   76   74 73    74    75     78     76      78     
TPG (n=38) 75   75   73 72    73    79     77     72      76     
Telstra (n=315) 74 80   80   82    76     69 ↓    81         70       76      

TABLE NOTES ↑ represents significantly higher at 95% confidence interval, ↓represents significantly lower at 95% confidence interval. Base: n=1038 Australian adults aged 18 years and over who knew their SIM provider.

SIM-only providers

What you look for

When choosing a mobile provider on a SIM-only plan, respondents told us that value for money (94%), network coverage (94%) and network reliability (94%) are equally important factors.

Problems you have

While 65% of respondents said they hadn’t experienced any problems in the last six months, of those who had, 43% said it was due to network coverage, 31% nominated call reception, 29% internet connection and 25% very slow internet speed.

Customer breakdown

Of the 1038 people surveyed who are with SIM-only providers, Telstra (30%), Optus (23%) and Vodafone (15%) have the highest number of customers. Telstra has a higher presence among regional/rural respondents (42%), while people with Vodafone as their SIM provider are more likely to be in metro areas (19%).

More than half (59%) said they’re on a pay-as-you-go plan, while 34% are on a contract and 5% said they’re on a no-contract plan. This pattern is consistent across generations, state, location, household type and income.

Despite Telstra’s high take-up among SIM-only customers across the country, its customers are some of the least satisfied. 

What our respondents say

  • “The coverage is far from exemplary.” – Anonymous, Vic, Vodafone
  • “Aldimobile has very good support. I contacted them to find out about global roaming as I am going overseas and they gave me all the information promptly.” – Daraius, NSW, Aldimobile
  • “Terrible coverage since they switched to the Vodafone network.” – Anonymous, Vic, TPG
  • “The internet drops out; sometimes I can’t get on at all. The clarity of calls is sometimes bad, even when I don’t move.” – Jo, Qld, Telstra
  • “I have been surprised to find areas where there is no internet connection although the areas are not remote.” – Jan, NSW, Optus
  • “The call dropouts are frustrating! And I only live 16km from the city, so it's very annoying!” – Melanie, WA, Vodafone
  • “It is good value for money. However, when faced with issues, the wait time on the online chat can take up to 45 minutes.” – Mal, Vic, Amaysim
  • “Long credit expiry, cheap calls and texts, easy to recharge, convenient and simple, value for money, best phone provider for prepaid.” – Peter, Vic, Aldimobile
  • “Reception is poor in rural areas, but great in metro areas.” – Anonymous, SA, Virgin Mobile
  • “Telephone support is very variable.  Auto top-up does not work as it should – it fails about 30% of the time.” – Anonymous, NSW, Telstra
  • “I don't like how they changed my plan and I had to pay more with no added benefits.” – Anonymous, Vic, Optus

SIM and handset mobile provider satisfaction

This table shows satisfaction scores for mobile providers whose customers have a SIM and handset plan with them. In the table we can see that:

  • Virgin Mobile (82) and Optus (78) scored above average for overall satisfaction. 
  • Telstra customers gave the provider lower scores for overall satisfaction (73).
  • Virgin Mobile customers scored the provider highest for value for money/plans (81), compared to Telstra customers who scored it the lowest at 67.
Providers Overall Network reliability
Internet connectivity/coverage
Network coverage Internet speed Value for money
Call clarity Customer service
Bill clarity
Virgin Mobile (n=69) 82      84 82       81       83       81↑        83         80   82        
Optus (n=254) 78 78 77 76 77 75 81      74  79
Average (n=765) 76 78 78 77 77 73 80 74  78
Vodafone (n=125) 76  77 75 74 74 77 79 75  78
Telstra (n=282) 73 78   78   79    76     67   80         70 77 

TABLE NOTES ↑ represents significantly higher at 95% confidence interval, ↓ represents significantly lower at 95% confidence interval. Base: n=765 Australian adults aged 18 years and over who knew their SIM and mobile provider.

SIM and handset mobile providers  

What you look for

When it comes to selecting a SIM and phone provider, respondents rated these as equally as the three most important factors, which is consistent with SIM-only provider choice: value for money (95%), network coverage (95%) and network reliability (95%).

Problems you have

We asked Australians whether they’d had any problems with their SIM and mobile provider in the past six months, and close to half (47%) of respondents said they had encountered issues. Among those who’d had problems with their SIM and phone provider in the past six months, 40% said it was related to network coverage. The other common issues reported were problems with call reception (27%), very slow internet speed (27%) and problems with internet connection (26%).

Customer breakdown

Of the 765 people surveyed, a majority are on a contract (89%) and only 10% are on a pay-as-you-go plan. Telstra (37%) and Optus (33%) are the two most-used providers by people with a combined SIM and phone plan. On the other hand, Vodafone is a distant third at 16% and Virgin Mobile was used by just nine percent of respondents in this group. 

Not surprisingly, Telstra, with its large coverage footprint, had the highest presence among regional and rural respondents (48%). Vodafone (20%) and Virgin Mobile (11%) had a higher presence among metro SIM and mobile customers when compared to those in regional areas. 

Just as with their SIM-only customers, Telstra’s higher number of SIM and handset customers is no indication of customer satisfaction.   

What our respondents say

  • "So far I have only had good service and reception with my mobile." – Anonymous, NSW, Optus
  • "The only reason I'm still with Telstra is because I'm on a plan for another 12 months; after the plan has finished I will check out the other phone companies and see if I can get a better deal on the plan." – Anonymous, Vic, Telstra
  • "Virgin's infrastructure comes from Optus so generally and relatively speaking they are reliable and on this day and age, dropouts are uncommon especially with local and national calls." – Rick, WA, Virgin Mobile
  • "Sometimes I find in certain areas at my workplace Vodafone coverage is not effective and connection drops out in the middle of talking." – Anonymous, Qld, Vodafone

About the survey

The CHOICE mobile satisfaction survey was conducted in May 2017. Australian residents aged 18 and over who have a mobile phone service (N=1994) completed the survey. CHOICE designed the survey and fieldwork, and Research Now executed the survey. Survey results have been weighted to be nationally representative of the Australian population as per ABS Census 2011.

The survey asked respondents about their mobile connection type (SIM-only or SIM and mobile), their current mobile provider, their satisfaction with their provider, and also about any problems they’d faced.

Scoring the satisfaction rating

A provider needed 30 or more respondents to be included in the table. Satisfaction scores are calculated out of 100 by asking respondents to rate their service provider on various attributes and overall satisfaction on a seven-point scale ranging from terrible to excellent. The results are tested for statistical significance to verify scores that are statistically higher or lower than the average.

For the scores tables, the average score refers to the category average and includes not just the brands listed but also all other brands which had a sample of N<30 and didn’t make it into our scores tables.

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