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    Ofcom Name the Worst UK Mobile, Phone and Broadband ISPs – Q3 2015

    This is a discussion on Ofcom Name the Worst UK Mobile, Phone and Broadband ISPs – Q3 2015 within the Sky news and announcements forums, part of the SkyUser Announcements category; Ofcom Name the Worst UK Mobile, Phone and Broadband ISPs - Q3 2015 - ISPreview UK The telecoms regulator has ...

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      Ofcom Name the Worst UK Mobile, Phone and Broadband ISPs – Q3 2015

      Ofcom Name the Worst UK Mobile, Phone and Broadband ISPs - Q3 2015 - ISPreview UK
      The telecoms regulator has today published their latest Q3 2015 complaints report, which reveals the volume of gripes received for all of the United Kingdom’s largest broadband, phone, mobile and TV providers. As usual EE takes a beating, while Sky Broadband and Virgin Media win praise.

      Ofcom’s report focuses on the market’s biggest providers (i.e. those that hold an overall market share of at least 1.5%) and on average they receive nearly 300 telecoms complaints a day from consumers. Related gripes are likely to be made where a consumer has been unable to resolve an issue with their provider and sadly we don’t get any visibility of the complaints made to the ISPs themselves.

      Providers can of course vary in size and so the regulator publishes complaints as a proportion of residential subscribers, which makes it easier to compare. Interestingly Ofcom has tweaked how it performs this calculation and now reports complaints per 100,000 customers, while prior updates reported per 1,000 subscribers. The reason for this change is not clear, although it does produce an easier to understand figure.

      The Results


      As usual we’ll start with the latest complaints for the biggest fixed line broadband ISPs, which once again finds that EE received the most gripes (45 complaints per 100,000 customers); albeit largely unchanged from the previous quarter. EE’s complaints were dominated by problems related to faults, service and provision (40%); billing, pricing and charges (20%); and complaints handling (19%).

      Claudio Pollack, Director of Ofcom’s Consumer Group, said:

      We expect providers to make customer service and complaints handling top priorities, so it’s disappointing to see a rise in the number of complaints. Consumers have a right to expect good service and will rightfully complain when that standard isn’t met. Ofcom is continuing work to make switching easier and our complaints data allows consumers to make meaningful comparisons that can be useful when looking for a new provider.”
      Elsewhere TalkTalk, PlusNet and BT all saw a sudden spike in complaints, mostly related to a rise in the number of gripes linked to service faults and provision, with a range of 33 – 37 complaints per 100,000 customers.

      Thankfully Sky Broadband and Virgin Media continued with their persistent trend of delivering the lowest level of consumer complaints of all the major broadband providers, which is also well below the industry average of 22 complaints per 100,000 customers.

      <Graph showing fixed line broadband complaint levels since Q4, 2013>

      The story for fixed line phone providers follows a roughly similar trend to the fixed broadband results above, albeit with some key differences. For example, EE had been attracting the most complaints for the past few quarters, but in Q3 2015 we suddenly see PlusNet shoot to 33 complaints per 100,000 customers (one below EE’s score of 34).

      The main complaint drivers for EE’s landline customers were concerns about faults, service and provision (27%); problems changing provider (26%); and complaints handling (19%). By comparison PlusNet’s complaints surge has been driven by issues around faults, service and provision (30%); billing, pricing and charges (21%); and changing provider and complaints handling (both 19%).

      Once again we see Virgin Media and Sky Broadband enjoying their position as the providers that attract the markets least complaints, at least in terms of the big players.

      <Graph showing complaint levels compared to customer base>

      Meanwhile, on the mobile network operator front, we see that Vodafone has attracted a sharp rise and received 20 complaints per 100,000 customers. Most of the gripes against them relate to billing, pricing and charges (37%); complaints handling (28%); and concerns around faults, service and provision (17%).

      The good news is that Three UK, O2 and Tesco Mobile have continued along a fairly steady path by attracting the fewest complaints, with both Talk Mobile and Virgin Mobile also seeing fewer gripes against their service and managing to duck below the industry average.

      <Graph showing mobile provider complaints>

      Finally we come to Pay TV services and it’s disappointing to report that BT’s previous downward trend (fewer complaints) has suddenly been reversed, with complaint volumes increasing significantly to 25 per 100,000 customers (up from 11 per 100,000 in Q2 2015).

      The main reasons for BT’s rising complaints were linked to fault, service and provision issues (31%); complaints handling (25%); and issues relating to billing, pricing and charges (22%). By comparison everybody else held fairly flat, with both Virgin Media and Sky deserving praise for being below the industry average.. again.

      <Graph showing complaints relative to customer base>

      Overall it was the fixed line broadband market that attracted the most complaints, followed by fixed line phone services. All of the other sectors (mobile, pay TV etc.) received considerably fewer complaints on a proportional basis. However it’s too early to say whether the Q3 2015 spike is just a singular event or one that is indicative of a more persistent problem.
      Ofcom’s Complaints Report Q3 2015
      http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/complaints/Q3-2015/
      Comment: Both Sky and Virgin have done exceptionally well compared to the other providers once more.


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      Angry Re: Ofcom Name the Worst UK Mobile, Phone and Broadband ISPs – Q3 2015

      Quote Originally Posted by Scubbie View Post
      Ofcom Name the Worst UK Mobile, Phone and Broadband ISPs - Q3 2015 - ISPreview UK


      Comment: Both Sky and Virgin have done exceptionally well compared to the other providers once more.
      I feel sorry for EE customers because its only gonna get worse when BT takes over next year.
      why BT were allowed to take over EE i don't understand with their custom service being so bad and BT Openreach the future doesn't look to rosy for us customers.

      My mind does boggle when it comes down to service providers Ombudsman or whoever it is trying to stop Three from taking over O2 what a cheek and let BT do what they like.....Sounds like a lot of back handers have been given out.
      Last edited by sdd; 17-12-15 at 02:36 PM.


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      Re: Ofcom Name the Worst UK Mobile, Phone and Broadband ISPs – Q3 2015

      I am surprised it has taken BT so long to get back into Mobile. They were the first to introduce it way back in 1985. I remember I had a BT Cellnet phone for my business, it weighed a ton and there was no way you could slip it into your pocket. They then sold out to MMO2, which became O2.

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      Re: Ofcom Name the Worst UK Mobile, Phone and Broadband ISPs – Q3 2015

      The difference is that previously O2 was a separate competitor to Three. The fact that Orange and T-Mobile merged to create EE has obviously escaped the regulator's mind.

      What now appears to be an issue is that both O2 and Three may wish to keep the signal spectrum that they individually bought and now Ofcom wants some of it back.

      I'd have to research properly to find out what happened when Orange & T-Mobile fully merged but for a long time you could use both networks without any problem, suggesting that they each held on to their own respective spectrums.

      Of course now that we currently have just 4 mobile networks (Vodafone, Three, O2 & EE), the merger of O2 & Three would leave us just with 3 companies. This might not be so good for competition.

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      Re: Ofcom Name the Worst UK Mobile, Phone and Broadband ISPs – Q3 2015

      Isn't Sky starting up their mobile network early next year?

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      Re: Ofcom Name the Worst UK Mobile, Phone and Broadband ISPs – Q3 2015

      When Orange and T-Mobile merged OFCOM forced them to get rid of a chunk of their 1800Mhz spectrum they owned. The rumours are that as they didn't want O2 or Vodafone to have it, therefore, EE offered the chunk to Three for just £1.

      (EE still have the most total amount of mobile spectrum though)

      Three are now using the bit of 1800Mhz spectrum for their 4G service they obtained from EE.

      From what I've read so far, I'd be very surprised if the O2 / Three merger did go ahead. Not to mention the whole lack of competition factor, the whole network mast share thing already in place would become a nightmare as EE currently share pretty much all their 3G sites with Three as part of the MBNL company they both set-up between them (EE and Three don't share any 4G).

      Then you also have the O2 / Vodafone site sharing company they both set-up called CornerStone. Many O2 and Vodafone sites are now being shared (though it's not as integrated as the MBNL set-up is)

      It's going to be an absolute nightmare unraveling all that cross-network sharing.

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      Re: Ofcom Name the Worst UK Mobile, Phone and Broadband ISPs – Q3 2015

      Quote Originally Posted by vfx View Post
      Isn't Sky starting up their mobile network early next year?
      Yes the are, but like several other firms they'll be using another provider who'll provide access to their network. In Sky's case it'll be O2.

      It is worth noting that in Ireland where Three and O2 are already a part of the same company that where O2 didn't previously have any access, but Three did, that O2 only has 3G coverage even when Three customers have 4G coverage.

      @James_Mitchell: Thank you for that. I couldn't recall what had happened and that information does paint a not-so-pretty-picture over the legal battle that's been going on over the spectrum.

      I too believe that the merger will go through too. It'll take a few years for the dust to settle, much like the merger that created EE did. I suspect that they'll stay separate brands for a while though, much like they are in Ireland.

      In light of the Sky deal, it would be nice to know what will happen with regards to 4G and International coverage too. Currently with Three I could use my phone in France or Spain without any problem providing I keep within my UK usage limits. I couldn't use my phone as freely in Belgium, Germany or Holland though. I'd end up paying a considerable amount extra.

      With O2 I'd need to pay a little extra each day, but then I'd get plenty of data usage in all the European countries I believe.

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      Re: Ofcom Name the Worst UK Mobile, Phone and Broadband ISPs – Q3 2015

      The worst score, 33 out of 100,000, is not too bad. I'm surprised that it isn't higher.

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      Re: Ofcom Name the Worst UK Mobile, Phone and Broadband ISPs – Q3 2015

      Fair comment that 33 out of 100,000 isn't that bad. Perhaps though if you were one of the 33, or 22, you might feel differently.

      Customer services have improved a great deal over the years. There will always be those who wish to take advantage of their customers though.

      The ideal should be closer to zero for everyone, so that all customers are happy. Of course this is unlikely as you can never keep everyone happy.

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