Customers can avoid having to wait in line... for a price / Getty Images

Customers can pay 50p to avoid having to queue to speak to an operator

Mobile phone company EE has been criticised for introducing a two-tier call centre system which allows people to pay to jump the queue.

Customers who agree to pay 50p during business hours can speak to “the next available operator” instead of having to wait in line. The customer backlash was swift with people taking to Twitter to condemn the firm, which has had the highest rate of complaints for a pay-monthly service for nearly two years.

One customer, Matt Woosie, tweeted about the charge, saying: “Definitely leaving @EE at the end of my contract after this.”

And John Masters wrote: “@EE disgusting that you’re charging for priority on query calls. Everyone should be treated equally.” A spokesman for EE said: “It’s not that literally they would go straight through, all I know is it’s a queue jump… ‘priority answer’ is what we’re referring to it as.”

He stressed the company would “still process calls as quickly and efficiently as we can”. The option of paying the charge is being made available to everyone except pay-as-you-go customers.