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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)

Siro exit hits broadband rollout to rural homes

The government’s plan to deliver high-speed broadband to 542,000 rural homes suffered a blow yesterday after Siro dropped out of the tendering process. Siro, which is a joint venture between the ESB and Vodafone, said it was unable to develop a “competitive business case” to bid for the national broadband plan, leaving Eir and Enet as the only remaining bidders. The decision is likely to make the tendering process more expensive for the taxpayer and could further delay the rollout of the plan.

Sean Atkinson, chief executive of Siro, said that the decision to withdraw from the plan, which was first promised in 2012, was not taken lightly. “We will continue with our original plans focusing on transforming Ireland’s regional towns, putting them on a…

Major blow to State broadband scheme as Siro drops out

Major Blow To State Broadband Scheme As Siro Drops Out

Siro’s decision to exit the broadband race comes just five months after the Government controversially removed 300,000 homes from its original plan and placed them back into Eir’s commercial rollout plan. ESB/Vodafone1 joint venture Siro2 has dropped out of the Government’s National Broadband Plan (NBP), suggesting there was no longer a “business case” for its continued participation. The move is major blow to the process, which aims to bring high-speed broadband to rural Ireland, as it leaves just two potential bidders – Eir and Enet – in the procurement race.

This is likely to result in a less competitive tendering process, which could inflate the State subsidy required and/or extend the rollout period, which has already been delayed several times.

Review

“Following a comprehensive review, Siro cannot develop a competitive business case to justify continued participation in the National Broadband Plan bid process and therefore has decided to withdraw,” the company said in a statement, noting its original plan to build a high-speed fibre broadband network in 50 regional Irish towns would be unaffected by the decision

Chief executive Sean Atkinson said the decision to withdraw had not been taken lightly.

“We will continue with our original plans focusing on transforming Ireland’s regional towns, putting them on a par for high speed connectivity with cities like Tokyo and Hong Kong,” he added. The company’s decision to exit the race comes just five months after the Government controversially removed 300,000 homes from its original plan and placed them back into Eir’s commercial rollout plan. Siro had long viewed the 300,000 homes as the quasi commercial end of the project, suggesting their removal had undermined the viability of the scheme for the other bidders.

Anne O’Leary, chief executive of Vodafone Ireland, added: “Naturally we are disappointed that Siro is withdrawing from the National Broadband Plan tender, but our vision of creating a Gigabit society in Ireland is unaffected as the Siro roll out continues as part of our EUR450 million investment with ESB.”

Also commenting on the decision Pat O’Doherty, chief executive of ESB said: “Siro’s withdrawal from the National Broadband Plan tender process was a difficult decision, it was made on the basis that Siro was unable to make a business case for continued participation in the process.

Plan

As it stands, the Government’s plan now covers 542,000 homes and businesses in rural Ireland. Eir has been accused of gaming the Government’s process by including the 300,000 homes in its commercial rollout at the last minute having previously deemed them uneconomic. Mininster for CommunicationDenis Naughten said he had received “detailed submissions” from the two remaining bidders as per Tuesday’s deadline, marking another milestone in the process.

While acknowledging Siro’s departure, he insisted: “We are one of a few countries in the world that has a compelling competing operator to the incumbent.”

He said the scheme remained on track and on schedule and that the Government’s plan would put every place name on the digital map.

“The facts are that close to 7 out of 10 premises now have access to high speed broadband. Within a year that will rise to nearly eight out of ten premises and by 2020 nine out of ten premises or 90 per cent of premises the length and breath of the country will have access to high speed broadband,” he said. However, it will be several months before the final bids, which will determine the overall cost of the plan, are submitted.

The first homes are not expected to be connected until late 2018 or even 2019.

References

  1. ^ Vodafone (www.irishtimes.com)
  2. ^ Siro (www.irishtimes.com)