Latest telecoms and pay TV complaints figures

26 March 2014

Ofcom today published the volumes of complaints made to Ofcom against the major providers of telecoms and pay TV services between October and December 2013.

Overall, the total volume of telecoms and pay TV complaints decreased in Q4 2013. Complaints were lower quarter on quarter across landline telephone, broadband and pay TV services.

This is Ofcom's twelfth quarterly report, which aims to provide useful information for consumers and incentivise operators to improve their performance.

For the first time, complaints made against TalkTalk’s pay TV service in Q4 2013 are reported, as the threshold for including them has been met.

Landline telephone services

In the landline telephone market, TalkTalk generated the most complaints during the final quarter of 2013, with 0.27 complaints per 1,000 customers.

However, its complaints have continued to decrease quarter on quarter and are now at their lowest levels since Ofcom first began publishing complaints. Complaints were mainly related to service faults and complaints handling.

BT also generated complaints above the industry average at 0.20 per 1,000 customers in Q4 2013.

Virgin Media had the fewest number of complaints about its landline service, at 0.06 complaints per 1,000 customers.

Landline telephone complaints per 1,000 customers, October 2011 – December 2013

Broadband services

For the first time, BT generated the most complaints for broadband as a proportion of its customer base - 0.32 per 1,000 customers during Q4 2013. Complaints were primarily driven by service faults and issues with how complaints were handled.

EE was the second most complained about broadband provider, generating above industry average complaints at 0.29 per 1,000 subscribers. TalkTalk also generated complaints above the industry average, at 0.21 for every 1,000 customers.

Virgin Media's service attracted fewest complaints (0.07 per 1,000 customers) followed by Sky (0.08 per 1,000 customers).

Fixed broadband complaints per 1,000 customers, October 2011 – December 2013

Pay-monthly mobile telephone services

Removed while data checks being conducted.

Pay TV services

From October to December 2013, Ofcom received the most complaints about BT TV at 0.31 complaints per 1,000 subscribers.  Although volumes had notably decreased compared to the previous quarter, they remained well above the industry average. Complaints mainly related to service faults and billing.

Having met the threshold for inclusion, TalkTalk pay TV complaints have been reported for the first time. In Q4 2013, TalkTalk generated pay TV complaints in excess of the industry average at 0.19 per 1,000 subscribers.

The relative positions of Virgin Media and Sky remained the same as for the previous quarter. Sky retained its position as the provider generating the fewest number of complaints – 0.02 per 1,000 customers.

Pay TV complaints per 1,000 customers, October 2011 – December 2013

Note difference in scale to landline and broadband services

Claudio Pollack, Director of Ofcom's Consumer Group said:  “This report acts as a significant incentive to providers to work to address issues driving complaints and deliver an improved quality of service to their customers.

"We're committed to giving consumers valuable information to help them choose a provider that best suits their needs. Consumer complaints also help us to identify where enforcement action is needed and ensure that providers comply with our rules."



  1. Complaints volumes for Orange and EE broadband services now reported as a single combined entity due to brand consolidation
  2. TalkTalk pay TV complaints are now included for Q4 2013 as it has acquired more than 4% market share and has received above 30 complaints per month.
  3. As Ofcom has not received more than 30 complaints per month about any pay-as-you-go mobile provider, we have not included separate data for these. However, Ofcom continues to closely monitor levels of complaints for pay-as-you-go mobile.
  4. The 'industry average' refers to the average of providers included in this publication. Complaints about other smaller providers are not included in this average.
  5. Consumers typically raise a complaint with their provider in the first instance. If the provider is not able to resolve the complaint within eight weeks, the consumer can submit their complaint for consideration by an independent person in accordance with the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) scheme that the provider is obliged to put in place under General Condition 14.5 of the General Conditions. In addition, some consumers contact Ofcom. While we do not resolve individual complaints, we offer advice on how best to resolve the issue and use the data to inform policy and enforcement actions.
  6. Advice for consumers on how to complain about a provider can be found on Ofcom’s website.
  7. Ofcom is the independent regulator and competition authority for the UK communications industries, with responsibilities across television, radio, telecommunications, wireless communications and postal services.
  8. For further information about Ofcom please visit: Ofcom's news releases can be found at: