Best and worst broadband and phone service quality revealed

01 May 2018

  • Ofcom analyses how broadband and phone companies are serving their customers
  • Customers encouraged to compare providers and switch if they’re not getting the service they deserve

Ofcom today reveals which broadband and phone companies are falling far short in serving their customers, and those who are setting a strong standard for satisfaction.

In our most comprehensive survey of telecoms customer service, published today, Ofcom shows how each major provider performs on measures including customer satisfaction, complaints and call waiting times.

The report provides vital insights into what level of service phone and broadband users can expect, helping them shop around for a provider that meets their needs.

Who's best for broadband service?

Recommend to a friend - broadband providersMost likely to recommend: Virgin MediaMobile average: BT, EE, Plusnet, SkyLeast likely to recommend: TalkTalk

Overall, eight in ten broadband customers (80%) say they are satisfied with their service, while 15% have a reason to complain.

Virgin Media broadband customers are more likely than average to recommend their provider to a friend; and Virgin Media is the only provider with above-average customer satisfaction for broadband speeds.

TalkTalk customers are less likely to recommend their provider to a friend[1], and its overall satisfaction is below average. TalkTalk scores poorly on most customer service measures. Its customers are less satisfied with reliability, more likely to have a reason to complain, and less satisfied with how their complaints are handled.

Across the industry, satisfaction with complaints handling could be improved. Sky and EE perform above average for how they handle complaints with around six in ten customers satisfied.

The amount of time people are kept waiting on the phone to customer service lines varies widely. Plusnet customers have to wait the longest – nearly eight minutes on average. EE customers wait the shortest amount of time to get through – only 48 seconds.

What about mobile?

Recommend to a friend - mobile providersMost likely to recommend: giffgaff, Tesco MobileMobile average: EE, O2, ThreeLeast likely to recommend: Vodafone, Virgin Mobile

In mobile, satisfaction is generally high. Overall, nine in ten customers (91%) say they are satisfied with their mobile phone service, with just 4% having a reason to complain.

Among mobile companies, Tesco Mobile and giffgaff customers are more likely to recommend their provider to a friend.

Vodafone and Virgin Mobile are less likely to be recommended[1]. These two companies also score below average in a number of satisfaction rankings, particularly when it comes to handling complaints.

Tesco Mobile, giffgaff and EE generally score highly compared to the sector average across several measures of service quality.

Lindsey Fussell, Ofcom’s Consumer Group Director, said: “People often focus on price when they’re choosing a phone or broadband provider. But there are big differences in the customer service offered by providers.

“We’re encouraging people to look beyond the price and consider customer service too. In such a competitive market, companies simply can’t afford to let their service standards slip. If they don’t up their game, customers can vote with their feet.”

Ofcom’s work to improve service quality

Arming consumers with information is one of several Ofcom initiatives designed to improve service quality. We recently gave an update on our work to make it easier for people to shop around, including work to alert customers when their contract expireds.

We are also ensuring that people receive automatic compensation when things go wrong; get better information on broadband speeds before entering a contract; and benefit from tough targets on Openreach for repairs and installations.

People can find simple, handy tips on improving their broadband or mobile service at Ofcom’s website.

ENDS

NOTES TO EDITORS

  1. TalkTalk has a negative ‘recommend to a friend’ score; whereas Vodafone and Virgin Mobile both have positive scores, despite the fact their customers were less likely than average to recommend their provider to a friend.
  2. Overviews of key data for each market are below. Red or green shading and * indicates significantly lower/higher than the sector average.

Broadband

Dashboard showing broadband results for overall satisfaction, proportion of customers with a reason to complain, average call waiting time, complaints to Ofcom per 100,000 subscribers, and satisfaction with complaints handling. Data is available in the report and in the accompanying data tables.

Landline

Dashboard showing landline results for overall satisfaction, proportion of customers with a reason to complain, average call waiting time, complaints to Ofcom per 100,000 subscribers, and satisfaction with complaints handling. Data is available in the report and in the accompanying data tables.

Mobile

Dashboard showing mobile results for overall satisfaction, proportion of customers with a reason to complain, average call waiting time, complaints to Ofcom per 100,000 subscribers, and satisfaction with complaints handling. Data is available in the report and in the accompanying data tables.