Report: Complaints about broadband, landline, mobile and pay-TV services

13 July 2022

As the UK’s communications regulator, Ofcom receives complaints from customers about their landline, fixed broadband, pay-monthly mobile and pay-TV services.

To better understand the reasons for dissatisfaction among residential customers in our sectors, we compile that data and determine the number of complaints received by provider and by service. To compare the performance of providers, on a quarterly basis we publish the number of complaints that we received about them relative to the size of their customer bases (i.e. per 100,000 customers).

In the quarter from January to March (Q1 2022), complaints to Ofcom stayed broadly at the same level as last quarter (October to December 2021). Complaints about fixed broadband and pay-TV services increased slightly, while complaints about landline and pay-monthly mobile services remained the same.

  • Shell Energy attracted the most broadband complaints per 100,000 customers, primarily due to faults, service and provisioning. EE and Sky attracted the fewest broadband complaints.
  • Shell Energy was the most complained-about landline provider, with complaints mainly driven by faults, service and provisioning. EE attracted the fewest landline complaints.
  • Virgin Mobile, BT Mobile and O2 were the most complained-about mobile providers. Customers were mainly unhappy with how their complaint had been handled. Sky, Tesco Mobile and EE attracted the fewest complaints in the mobile sector.
  • Virgin Media generated the highest volume of pay-TV complaints; the main reason customers complained to Ofcom was complaints handling. Sky was the least complained-about pay-TV provider.

See below for information about the comparability of certain providers’ number of complaints. Our background and methodology document (PDF, 174.7 KB) goes into more detail.

Fixed broadband

How the providers ranked

Broadband complaints per 100,000 subscribers. It illustrates the providers receiving the fewest complaints at the top of the table and those receiving the most complaints are placed at the bottom of the table. The results are as follows:EE 3, Sky 4, BT 7, NOW Broadband 8, industry average 10, Plusnet 11, Vodafone 13, TalkTalk 14, Virgin Media 18 and Shell Energy 22.

Reasons for complaining

Reasons for complaining about broadband services. It shows the key drivers of complaints for the industry average and the worst performing provider. For the industry average: faults, service and provisioning 37%; complaints handling 31%; and billing, pricing and charges 14%. Shell Energy: faults, service and provisioning 40%; complaints handling 30%; and billing, pricing and charges 23%.

Landline

How the providers ranked

Landline complaints per 100,000 subscribers. It illustrates the providers receiving the fewest complaints at the top of the table and those receiving the most complaints are placed at the bottom of the table. The results are as follows:EE 1, Sky 2, BT 5, NOW Broadband 5, Plusnet 6, industry average 6, Vodafone 8, TalkTalk 10, Virgin Media 11 and Shell Energy 20.

Reasons for complaining

Reasons for complaining about landline services. It shows the key drivers of complaints for the industry average and the worst performing provider. For the industry average: faults, service and provisioning 31%; complaints handling 31%; and billing, pricing and charges 15%. Shell Energy: faults, service and provisioning 42%; complaints handling 35%; and billing, pricing and charges 12%.

Pay-monthly mobile

How the providers ranked

Mobile complaints per 100,000 subscribers. It illustrates the providers receiving the fewest complaints at the top of the table and those receiving the most complaints are placed at the bottom of the table. The results are as follows: Sky Mobile 1, Tesco Mobile 1, EE 1, industry average 2, Three 2, Vodafone 2, iD Mobile 3, O2 3, BT Mobile 3 and Virgin Mobile 4.

Reasons for complaining

Reasons for complaining about mobile services. It shows the key drivers of complaints for the industry average and the worst performing provider. For the industry average: faults, service and provisioning 24%; complaints handling 25%; and changing provider 19%. Virgin Mobile: changing provider 31%; complaints handling 22%; and billing, pricing and charges 18%.

Pay-TV

How the providers ranked

Pay TV complaints per 100,000 subscribers. It illustrates the providers receiving the fewest complaints at the top of the table and those receiving the most complaints are placed at the bottom of the table. The results are as follows:Sky 1, TalkTalk 3, industry average 4, BT 5 and Virgin Media 10.

Reasons for complaining

Reasons for complaining about pay-TV services. It shows the key drivers of complaints for the industry average and the worst performing provider. For the industry average: faults, service and provisioning 15%; complaints handling 44%; and billing, pricing and charges 19%. Virgin Media: changing provider 13%; complaints handling 47%; and billing, pricing and charges 20%.

Relative volume of complaints

The chart below shows the relative volume of complaints we have received for broadband, landline, pay-monthly mobile and pay-TV services. You can use the slider to filter by years.

Taking a year-on-year comparison, the relative volume of complaints for fixed broadband and pay-TV have increased slightly although the volumes remain low compared to previous years. The landline had a very slight increase (below one complaint per 100,000) while mobile pay-monthly has remained the same.

Overall complaints by sector

The chart below shows complaints for all providers in each of the four sectors.

Comparing different providers

To compare two or more providers' performance, select the service and then the providers you want to compare from the lists on the right.

Complaints by provider

Compare complaints for a provider across multiple sectors by using the options on the right.

More information

The underlying data is available in CSV format (CSV, 11.0 KB). We also include overall trend data for pay-as-you-go mobile complaints.

You can also read the report's background and methodology (PDF, 174.7 KB).

Older reports

Older reports are available on the National Archives.