Telco complaints grew 10.2% in December quarter
The ratio of complaints about telecommunications services to services in operation (SIOs) increased 10.2% quarter on quarter during the three months ending in December, ACMA’s first Telecommunications Complaints Handling report shows.
The report, which covers the period from July to December 2018, shows that there were 108 complaints per 10,000 services during the December quarter.
But the percentage of complaints escalated to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman fell five percentage points over the same period to 9.2%.
The report also shows that mobile services have the highest number of SIOs — over 30 million — but the lowest proportion of complaints, at 58 per 10,000 services. But total complaints grew 13.7% between the third and fourth quarters.
Complaints about fixed broadband services over the nbn were recoded at 199 per 10,000 SIOs, 40% lower than the proportion of complaints about non-nbn broadband services.
Broken down by category, the largest proportion of complaints were related to NBN Co’s recently launched fibre-to-the-curb (FTC) services (547 per 10,000 SIOs). But most of these complaints were fielded by a small number of reporting providers.
ACMA said the relative newness of the technology — the first FTTC connections were completed just prior to the first reporting period — is also likely to have contributed to the high rates of complaints.
FTTC was followed by complaints related to fibre-to-the-building (246 per 10,000 SIOs), hybrid fibre-coaxial (226), fibre-to-the-node (216), fixed wireless (185), fibre-to-the-premises (141) and satellite (57) services .
The highest overall ratio of complaints were regarding voice services delivered over the nbn, amounting to 490 complaints per 10,000 SIOs.
Across all services, the top two complaint categories for most reporting providers were billing and faults, with roughly half of providers having billing as their top complaint category.
Meanwhile the median time to resolve all complaints was six days, with a range of 1 to 13 days across reporting providers, the report found.
Telecommunications service providers were instructed to start providing statistics on the handling of customer complaints to ACMA as part of new requirements put in place by the government in response to rising levels of customer complaints.
“The telecommunications sector is undergoing rapid change — more than 600,000 premises were activated on the nbn during the reporting period,” Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts Paul Fletcher said.
“Telco customers deserve to have their complaints dealt with quickly. This report builds a clearer picture of complaints across the industry and provides a baseline for future trends. This will help Australia’s telcos to further focus on improving the customer experience.”
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