Most ‘Complained About’ Providers Revealed by Ofcom

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In a quarterly report covering January to March 2023, Ofcom has released data on customer complaints about telecom and Pay-TV services, showing a slight overall increase compared to the previous quarter.

The UK regulator published reports on the broader telecoms market, including consumers’ perceptions of telecom operators and their services, as well as market trends on subscribers and revenues.

The report on consumer complaints covers landline, fixed broadband, pay-monthly mobile, and Pay-TV services across the UK. It includes data on individual providers by service category and identifies key drivers of complaints, such as handling complaints, issues with changing providers, billing, pricing and charges, faults, service, and provisioning.

Ofcom’s report reveals a year-on-year rise in the relative volume of complaints across all service categories, with fixed broadband services receiving the highest volume at 12 complaints per 100,000 subscribers, a 20% increase compared to the same quarter in 2022.

In a section highlighting the most complained-about providers, TalkTalk stands out as the most complained-about landline and fixed broadband provider due to faults, service, provisioning, and handling of customer complaints. In the pay-monthly mobile sector, BT Mobile takes the lead in complaints related to handling complaints and issues with customers changing providers. However, it is essential to note that BT Mobile does not include EE services, which are also owned by BT.

Regarding the Pay-TV sector, BT remains the most complained-about operator, while Sky received the fewest complaints.

Sky achieved the fewest complaints across all four service categories, sharing this position with EE and Tesco Mobile in the pay-monthly mobile sector.

Fergal Farragher, Ofcom’s Consumer Protection Director, commented on the slight increase in complaints across all services, indicating that service providers still need to improve the quality of service they offer customers.

Ofcom also highlighted Shell Energy’s improvement in performance compared to previous iterations, noting that their figures have improved after engagement with Ofcom on making enhancements. Shell Energy’s complaints dropped from 25 per 100,000 subscribers to 10 in Q1 2023, showing significant progress.

Ofcom has been publishing residential complaints data quarterly since 2011 to provide consumers with additional measures to assess quality and value for money when choosing a provider. The data publication aims to ensure transparency and encourage service providers to improve their performance.

In other news, Ofcom reported on the UK telecoms market, covering fixed and mobile revenues and subscriber trends.

The fixed broadband sector saw an increase of 261,000 broadband lines, representing a 0.9% year-on-year growth. While fixed broadband revenue growth is not reported, the UK market experienced an 8.2% decrease in fixed voice service revenues, amounting to £118 million year-on-year, with BT holding nearly half of total voice revenues.

The number of fixed exchange lines has been decreasing over the years in favor of mobile telephony, and standalone fixed broadband services have grown due to advancements in technologies like fiber and cable broadband.

Mobile revenues grew by 3.7% compared to the previous year, generating approximately £3.2 billion in retail revenues in Q1 2023. The number of active mobile subscribers also increased by 1.9% compared to the previous year, a trend likely influenced by ongoing price hikes amid inflation in the UK.

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