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October 20, 2023
Vodafone has edged ahead of TalkTalk to become the UK’s most complained-about broadband provider.
This is according to regulator Ofcom, which regularly compares fixed, mobile and pay-TV providers’ performance by publishing the number of complaints per 100,000 customers it receives about each one.
During the three months to 30 June, Vodafone notched up 24, putting it well ahead of second-placed TalkTalk at 18. That’s a big swing from the first quarter, when TalkTalk took top spot with a score of 20 versus Vodafone’s 17.
Ofcom said the single biggest cause of complaints about Vodafone related to faults, service and provisioning. Ofcom said it has been in touch with Voda, which is taking measures to identify and address the causes.
“The minimum people expect from their broadband is for it to work, so it’s disappointing that the bulk of Vodafone complaints were down to basic issues, such as faulty connections,” noted Alex Tofts, broadband expert at comparison Website Broadband Genie. “As one of the UK’s biggest providers – and one that raised most household broadband bills by 14 percent in April – it’s understandable that customers have been more willing to make their feelings known.
“On a more positive note, it’s good to see that Ofcom has stepped in and engaged with Vodafone to help them get their house in order,” he added.
At the other end of the scale, Sky maintained its position as the least complained-about broadband provider, and also received the fewest gripes about its landline, mobile and pay-TV services. It is particularly worth noting its mobile score, since its MVNO service suffered some fairly high profile outages in May and June, which some tried to pin on government pressure to rip out and replace Huawei kit. Sky must have handled the fallout with aplomb to avoid its Ofcom score slipping.
Normally, the response to being told you’re the least worst at something is to accept the outcome with quiet dignity – restate your commitment to continued improvement – and celebrate privately with friends and colleagues.
Or you can do what Sky did, and mark the achievement as if you’ve just been named best service provider since the dawn of telecoms.
“Providing excellent customer service is at the heart of what we do, which is why we’ve maintained our position as the least complained about provider across pay-TV, broadband, landline and mobile services,” said Sky’s UK and Ireland CEO Stephen van Rooyen. “We are proud of our customer service teams – it is thanks to their high standards and hard work we have achieved this yet again.”
Meanwhile, BT retained its ignominious position as the UK’s most complained-about mobile and pay-TV provider, although in terms of the latter, its score was equalled by Virgin Media O2 (VMO2).
Overall, the UK telecoms sector’s performance so far this year hasn’t been terrible, but it hasn’t been great either. According to Ofcom, the overall volume of complaints in the second quarter was consistent with Q1. However, volumes in 2023 are still higher than they were in 2022.
“It is positive to see that overall, complaints volumes have remained consistent compared to the previous quarter,” noted Fergal Farragher, Ofcom’s consumer protection director. “However, complaints are still slightly higher than they were in 2022, and this shows that providers still have work to do in improving customers’ experiences.”
Nick is a freelancer who has covered the global telecoms industry for more than 15 years. Areas of expertise include operator strategies; M&As; and emerging technologies, among others. As a freelancer, Nick has contributed news and features for many well-known industry publications. Before that, he wrote daily news and regular features as deputy editor of Total Telecom. He has a first-class honours degree in journalism from the University of Westminster.
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