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Ofcom Praise Sky and Virgin Media in Q2 2017 UK Consumer Complaints Study

Ofcom Praise Sky And Virgin Media In Q2 2017 UK Consumer Complaints Study

Broadband providers Virgin Media and Sky Broadband have today been praised by Ofcom‘s Q2 2017 UK consumer complaints report after they received fewer gripes than any other ISP for their service. Unfortunately the same cannot be said for BT and TalkTalk, which attracted the most complaints.1234

The report, which also examined Landline Phone, Mobile and Pay TV providers, notes that Ofcom5 continue to receive “nearly250 complaints per day (down from “nearly” 300 at the last report), although their study only includes feedback from the biggest providers (i.e. those with a market share of at least 1.5%). The data itself is reflected as a proportion of residential subscribers (i.e. the total number of quarterly complaints per 100,000 customers), which makes it easier to compare providers in a market where the biggest ISPs can vary significantly in size.

Overall the total volume of complaints across all service sectors has decreased during the first half of 2017 and this quarter sees the addition of BT Mobile’s pay-monthly product into the table, which occurs because the service has now achieved “sufficient market share“. By comparison with Q1 2017, the total volume of complaints decreased by four for landline services, decreased by three for fixed broadband services, and decreased by one for both pay-monthly mobile and pay-TV services. However fixed broadband and landline services continue to generate the highest number of complaints.

Jane Rumble, Ofcom’s Director of Consumer Policy, said:

“Complaints about telecoms and pay-TV may be falling this year, but some providers are falling a long way short on customer service. There can be no room for complacency. We expect providers, particularly those who have been consistently under-performing, to make service quality and complaints handling their number one priority.”

Take note, today’s report only covers complaints that the regulator itself has received and not those sent directly to an ISP or ombudsman.

Ofcom does not itself deal with individual complaints but they do monitor them and can take action if enough people raise a problem. Consumers who are unable to resolve a complaint with their communications provider can (after 8 weeks) raise a case with one of the two ombudsman providers – Ombudsman Services: Communications or CISAS – under the Alternative Dispute Resolution6 process (they will investigate the issue at no cost to yourself).

Fixed Line Home Broadband Complaints

Overall BT generated the highest relative complaint volumes in Q2 2017 and the main complaint drivers for them related to faults, service and provision issues, followed by complaints handling and billing, pricing and charges.However it has to be said that almost every provider saw a reduction in complaint volumes during Q2. By comparison Virgin Media7 and Sky Broadband8 all generated the lowest relative complaint volumes and remain below the industry average volume of complaints. Both operators have also just been joined by EE, which is a welcome development.

Ofcom Praise Sky And Virgin Media In Q2 2017 UK Consumer Complaints Study

Fixed Line Phone Complaints

In terms of phone line services, the most complaints were generated by TalkTalk9 and the Post Office10, which was largely due to complaints relating to faults, service and provision issues. Ofcom also believes that BT’s performance may be comparable to those two, although they show up as being lower because they used a different methodology to compile their subscriber figures. Once again EE, Sky Broadband and Virgin Media remain below the line and received the fewest complaints overall.

Ofcom Praise Sky And Virgin Media In Q2 2017 UK Consumer Complaints Study

Mobile Complaints

Both Vodafone11 and BT Mobile received the most complaints this quarter, although Vodafone12‘s complaint levels have dropped sharply over the past six months. Vodafone and BT’s main complaint drivers were gripes related to handling, followed by issues around billing, pricing and charges.

Ofcom Praise Sky And Virgin Media In Q2 2017 UK Consumer Complaints Study

Pay TV Complaints

Sadly BT continues to generate the highest relative volume of Pay TV complaints, although they have seen a big drop in the amount being received and that’s a positive development. The main driver of BT’s complaints related to faults, service and provision issues, complaints handling and billing, pricing and charges. On the flip side Sky TV received the fewest gripes of anybody and is the only operator below the line for industry average (that’s a good thing).

Ofcom Praise Sky And Virgin Media In Q2 2017 UK Consumer Complaints Study

Ofcom’s Complaints Report Q2 2017
https://www.ofcom.org.uk/../Telecoms-pay-TV-complaints-Q2-2017.pdf13

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References

  1. ^ Virgin Media (www.ispreview.co.uk)
  2. ^ Sky Broadband (www.ispreview.co.uk)
  3. ^ Ofcom (www.ofcom.org.uk)
  4. ^ TalkTalk (www.ispreview.co.uk)
  5. ^ Ofcom (www.ofcom.org.uk)
  6. ^ Alternative Dispute Resolution (www.ispreview.co.uk)
  7. ^ Virgin Media (www.ispreview.co.uk)
  8. ^ Sky Broadband (www.ispreview.co.uk)
  9. ^ TalkTalk (www.ispreview.co.uk)
  10. ^ Post Office (www.ispreview.co.uk)
  11. ^ Vodafone (www.ispreview.co.uk)
  12. ^ Vodafone (www.ispreview.co.uk)
  13. ^ https://www.ofcom.org.uk/../Telecoms-pay-TV-complaints-Q2-2017.pdf (www.ofcom.org.uk)

Vodafone reports stagnant mobile, improved broadband

The country’s largest mobile operator has 1,951,000 customers compared to 1,967,000 a year ago. It has also marginally increased its mobile customer base by 1,000 from the previous quarter. Five years ago, Vodafone Ireland had 2.24 million mobile customers here, compared to 1.95 million today. But heavy competition at the budget end of the mobile market saw competitors such as Tesco Mobile eat heavily into its prepaid base. However, Vodafone has added 20,000 contract mobile customers as punters opt for high-end devices such as iPhones and Samsung S8 handsets.

The operator’s service revenue declined by 2.5pc year-on-year and by 1.2pc from the previous quarter. However, when mobile termination rates are excluded from considerations, it grew 1.1pc. Areas of service revenue growth were attributed by Vodafone to fixed customer growth. The company now has 264,000 fixed broadband customers, up 6.9pc over the previous year. Broadband subscription figures are likely to grow again due to Vodafone’s part in rolling out fibre-to-the-home broadband in large regional towns. Vodafone is a 50pc stakeholder in Siro, a joint venture with the ESB. The joint venture currently has over 80,000 homes and businesses passed for fibre broadband with a target of 500,000 in coming years.

Executives from Vodafone and Siro say the venture expects a more than 20pc take-up rate in rolled out areas within 12 months of connection. The company declined to release its Irish average revenue per unit (Arpu) figures. However, in six of the eight European markets for which it made disclosures, Arpu fell.

Official figures from Ireland’s telecoms regulator show that Arpu in Ireland is falling on average across all operators.

“We continue to grow the business, expanding customer numbers across both fixed and mobile,” said Anne O’Leary, chief executive of Vodafone Ireland. “We also continue to roll out our Gigabit Hub Initiative with further location announcements coming.”

North Dorset MP Simon Hoare backs broadband bill

Simon Hoare MP is backing a new bill that should benefit rural areas including his North Dorset constituency. He praised the Telecommunications Infrastructure Bill in the House of Commons. During the debate he said small shire districts that areaways seeking to be more efficient would benefit greatly from the bill.

He said: “It will be absolutely crucial for the farmer in my constituency who is trying to buy or sell stock and make their submission to the Rural Payments Agency to have fast, reliable broadband of a speed and regularity of service.”

He said it was also important for delivery services in rural areas that are not particularly well served by rural public transport.

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Mr Hoare also highlighted the advantages for tourism with promotion of hotel and pub rooms, visitor attractions and interactive tourist information centres in areas where local authorities have reduced support and services.

He pointed out the benefits made possible in education and the advantages of receiving faster films and sports coverage.

Mr Hoare suggested to fellow MPs that they “remind ourselves of the most enormous strides made in broadband provision for all our constituents and constituencies, urban and rural.”