The Telecommunication Industry Ombudsman has released its annual report and while complaints are down overall, there are a lot more unhappy NBN customers.
Over the past financial year, the TIO received a total of 124,000 complaints about mobile, internet and landline services.
The important figure though is that there has been a 10.5% reduction in complaints compared to the year before. That’s actually an ongoing trend too, with complaints dropping four years in a row now.
For mobile users, the big improvements were in coverage and excess data charges. The latter is especially important considering that according to the ABS, Australians almost doubled their mobile data use from this time last year.
In the three months leading up to June 2014, we downloaded 38,734 Terabytes of data. Over the same time period in 2015, we pulled down a massive 71.572 Terabytes!
With 21 million mobile users out there, that works out to 1.1GB of data each, per month.
Just wait till new technologies such as Telstra's 600 Mbps Mobile Hotpsot are widespread - mobile data use is only going to climb.
Fortunately many providers are now automatically charging for an affordable upgrade data block, rather than high per MB charges over a plans limit. Tools for customers to better monitor their own data use have also played a role. Except it seems, for roaming.
It’s worked too, with a 21% decrease in complaints about mobile connections.
The problem areas are actually in landline and internet complaints. Problems with the ageing copper network are perhaps no surprise, but the biggest increase is actually complaints about the NBN.
It may not help that our fixed line broadband downloads have spiked by 40% since last year - no doubt in part due to video streaming.
Complaints about the National Broadband Network are up 70%, with the biggest issues being delays in connections and missed installation appointments.
Though it’s probably no surprise that there are more complaints, as people are finally actually getting connected.
I understand the pain of connection delays - I struggle with terrible 3Mbps ADSL (on a good day) while my NBN Fibre sits unused on the side of my house, waiting to be connected at the other end.
The TIO reports that the number of NBN complaints are pretty small, at (only...) 6,700. But with issues like customers taking a day off work to get the NBN installed, only for the technician not to show up, the NBN complaints have a big impact.
So really, we should probably be pretty happy that the TIO exists to help sort out our telecommunication woes.
In the past I have successfully used a TIO complaint to get an otherwise ignored mobile issues resolved. It’s surprisingly how helpful a provider can be when faced with actual action for bad service.
Were you one of the 124,000 putting in a complaint? What was your issue? Tell us in the comments.