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A survey from OneCompare.com has highlighted how little networks know about their own tariffs.

Price comparison service OneCompare.com called mobile phone operators 100 times each, asking a range of pretty basic questions about their call costs and roaming charges. The results were surprising, with up to 40 per cent of calls being given inaccurate information.

OneCompare.com director Anthony Ball said: "Comparing these results with our research last year, Vodafone still remain as one of the providers with the least knowledgeable staff. Alarmingly, O2 had the best phone manner and the third most knowledgeable customer service team last year but are now rated as having the poorest standards when mobile users require assistance."

International roaming charges was the area most commonly confused, with O2 giving the wrong information 39 per cent of the time.

Incorrect information about peak rates and hours was also frequently given.

The complexity of modern billing tables is no accident: in the early days UK cellular systems competed heavily on price, and comparing prices was simple. But price wars benefit no one (except perhaps the customer) so complexity was introduced to make price comparison effectively impossible and allow more complex billing models to be used.

Now it seems no one is on exactly the right tariff for them, and few have any idea how much they're paying - another survey from OneCompare.com found that 49 per cent of mobile phone users had no idea they pay to receive calls when abroad.

But tariffs are starting to settle down, and with most networks introducing some form of simplified roaming charge things should get easier for the beleaguered consumer, but if the network staff don't know the right information, how will customers find out?

The results

Most knowledgeable staff

  1. Virgin
  2. Three
  3. T-Mobile
  4. Orange
  5. Vodafone
  6. O2

Best phone manner

  1. Orange
  2. Three
  3. Vodafone
  4. T-Mobile
  5. Virgin
  6. O2

Accuracy of roaming information

  1. Vodafone
  2. Orange
  3. T-Mobile
  4. Three
  5. Virgin
  6. O2

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