Telecoms and pay-TV complaints from January to March 2013

26 June 2013

26 June 2013

Anxious woman looking at billOfcom today published levels of complaints for the major telecoms and pay TV providers between January and March 2013.

This is Ofcom’s ninth quarterly report, which aims to help consumers make informed decisions, especially those who are considering changing provider or taking a new service. It also incentivises operators to improve their performance.

Overall, the total volume of complaints made to Ofcom during the first quarter of 2013 fell slightly due to a reduction in pay-monthly mobile complaints. Complaints about landline telephone, broadband and pay-TV services remained static.

Claudio Pollack, Director of Ofcom’s Consumer Group said: 'It’s important that providers continue to work to improve their performance.

'We’re committed to providing consumers with valuable information to help them choose a provider that best suits their needs. Consumer complaints also help us to identify where to target any necessary enforcement action and ensure that providers comply with our rules.'

Landline telephone services

In the landline telephone market, TalkTalk generated the most complaints during the first quarter of 2013, with 0.39 complaints per 1,000 customers.

TalkTalk complaints increased slightly from 0.36 per 1,000 customers in Q4 2012 and remain at around double the industry average. Customers mainly complained about service faults and complaints handling.

BT complaints stayed level quarter on quarter and, at 0.20 per 1,000 customers in Q1 2013, remain just above the industry average.

Both Sky and Virgin Media generated complaints below the industry average. Virgin Media had the fewest number of complaints, at 0.10 complaints per 1,000 customers, while Sky generated 0.12 complaints per 1,000 customers.

Landline telephone complaints per 1,000 customers, October 2010 – March 2013Bar chart of landline telephone complaints per thousand customers October 2010 to March 2013

Broadband services

For the third consecutive quarter, Orange/EE generated the most complaints as a proportion of its broadband customer base at 0.57 per 1,000 customers in Q1 2013. Complaints were mainly driven by difficulties in changing provider and service issues.

TalkTalk and BT continued to generate above average complaints at 0.36 and 0.33 complaints per 1,000 subscribers respectively.

Virgin generated the fewest complaints for the first time since Q2 2011 at 0.08 per 1,000 customers, followed by Sky at 0.10 per 1,000 customers.

Fixed broadband complaints per 1,000 customers, October 2010 – March 2013Bar chart of fixed broadband complaints per thousand customers October 2010 to March 2013

Pay-monthly mobile services

Ofcom received the most pay-monthly mobile complaints from T-Mobile customers during the three months to the end of March 2013.

T-Mobile generated above average complaints at 0.19 per 1,000 customers, largely driven by issues related to billing and complaints handling. Orange and Three also generated complaints in excess of the industry average.

O2 retained its position as the provider generating fewest complaints at 0.05 per 1,000 customers. The gap between O2 and Virgin Mobile, which generated second fewest complaints at 0.06 per 1,000 customers, has narrowed in recent quarters.

As Ofcom has not received more than 30 complaints per month about any pay-as-you-go provider, we have not included separate data for these. However, Ofcom continues to closely monitor levels of complaints for pay-as-you-go mobile.

Mobile telephone (pay-monthly) complaints per 1,000 customers, October 2010 – March 2013Bar chart of mobile pay-monthly phone complaints per thousand customers October 2010 to March 2013

Pay TV services

From January to March 2013, Ofcom received the most complaints about BT Vision at 0.29 complaints per 1,000 customers.

Increasing from 0.24 per 1,000 subscribers in the previous quarter, complaints about BT Vision remain seven times greater than the industry average. Complaints were partly driven by problems with service provision and billing issues.

Virgin Media’s complaints were in line with the industry average at 0.04 per 1,000 customers, while Sky had the lowest number of complaints – 0.02 per 1,000 customers.

Pay TV complaints per 1,000 customers, October 2011 – March 2013Bar chart of pay-tv complaints per thousand customers October 2011 to March 2013Note difference in scale to landline and broadband services


Ofcom’s telecoms advice and complaints section explains what you need to do to get your phone and broadband problems solved and who you need to complain to.

The section is split into nine areas including billing and charges, switchingnuisance calls, faultscontractsthe way a service was sold and customer service.

Each section explains the complaints process for a particular problem and includes direct links to the right organisation to handle your problem.

There are also links to our guides which include advice on everything from call costs and billing problems, to mobile phone coverageprice comparison sites and broadband speeds.