O2's focus on the iPhone may have hit the rest of its smartphone customer base, which is showing falling satisfaction rates.
Research from YouGov's technology and telecoms consulting team shows that for both customer satisfaction and loyalty, Vodafone is outperforming O2 in the UK smartphone market.
The report states: 'Most research into the mobile market in recent years has shown that O2 has led other mobile operators on both customer satisfaction and loyalty, however YouGovs smartphone study indicates the market is shifting.'
YouGov asked 1,679 UK smartphone owners if they would consider switching operator to get their ideal handset. Half of O2 customers (50%) said they would be willing to switch brands, compared to just over a third of Vodafone customers (34%).
The report states: 'This question asked as a proxy for loyalty demonstrates a shift in user attitudes just as the market has transformed to a data, voice and SMS market rather than a voice and SMS market.'
Russell Feldman, research manager in YouGov's technology and telecoms team said: 'At times of technology transition market leaders are vulnerable. This survey shows that Vodafone has invested in the smartphone market and are now reaping the benefits. O2 appears overly-dependent on the iPhone and our data shows that among the rest of their customer base satisfaction, loyalty and recommend scores are trailing their traditional rival.'
However O2 strongly refuted the findings. A spokeswoman said: 'This survey does not reflect our experience.
'Our Q4 results showed that our churn level is at a record
low, with more customers staying with us longer than any operator in UK history.'