A third of British mobile phone users are unhappy with their operator, according to a study by French telco watcher Qualiope. Most think costs are high, but mobile telcos say it's just a case of caveat emptor.

The survey of European mobile and internet users revealed that, in the UK, a staggering 79 percent are unhappy with mobile phone costs. Internet connection speeds were ruled unsatisfactory by 78 percent of Brits, while 76 percent were dissatisfied with the sound quality of their mobiles.

"Two thirds of [European] users are satisfied with their service operators," said Ernest Jones, general manager at Qualiope UK. "Only British users had stories of personal unpleasant experiences."

But Orange says this is an uncommon UK complaint. "Costs are assessed all the time," said Orange. "People need to choose carefully which contract suits their needs and change when necessary."

According to the latest EC figures, about 40 percent of the EU's 375 million citizens are online, but only about eight percent have high-speed broadband access.

"Users need to switch over to broadband to make the most of their server and internet speeds," said spokesperson for MSN, Microsoft’s ISP. "This will make a considerable difference." Regular PC Advisor readers know this is easier said than done in the UK.

Oftel had mixed conclusions about UK internet and mobile phone services. Qualiope's report paints a gloomier picture.