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Vodafone ranks number one in the Ofcom competition no-one wants to win

Ofcom has released data detailing the complaints lodged for each telco in the UK, and Vodafone almost clean sweeps the awards.

Collecting the most complaints for broadband, mobile and landline, only Virgin Media’s TV offering saved Vodafone executives from further embarrassment. At the other end of the scale, Sky, EE and Tesco Mobile collected the prize for best performance.

Service Least complaints Most complaints
Broadband EE/Sky Vodafone
Mobile Tesco Mobile Vodafone
Landline EE Vodafone
TV Sky Virgin Media

“People have never had more choice in the phone and broadband markets,” said Fergal Farragher, Ofcom’s Director of Consumer Policy.

“It’s also never been easier to switch your service. So, companies that don’t prioritise great service could see customers leaving them for ones that do.”

Thanks to new rules being introduced by Ofcom, telcos are being forced into greater transparency when it comes to the conclusion of contracts and what deals are being made available, as well as simplifying the process of leaving a service. Soon enough, a simple text message will be enough to switch providers.

Moving forward, the new rules should filter down to the telcos. One would hope this would not only improve customer services, but also the performance of the networks as pressure ramps.

Interestingly enough, Vodafone at the top of the list might come as a surprise to some. This is a company which has been investing intensely in a new, converged network, as well as introducing a major overhaul of the business processes to recapture the lost fortunes of yesteryear. It is easy to forget that Vodafone was once the market share leader for mobile, though now it sits in third place.

While no-one wants to be awarded these prizes, the trends are heading in the right direction in the UK. Ofcom has previously pointed towards data which suggests telcos are getting better at delivering on the glorious promises make by breakfast-themed brand ambassadors on TV.

For example, in the first quarter of 2011 the number of complaints for broadband, mobile, TV and landline services stood at 40, 13, 5 and 38 per 100,000 customers respectively, though this industry average has fallen to 14, 4, 6 and 10. TV might not be heading the right direction, though the data suggests the reliability of these services is improving.

Another factor to consider is that the telcos might just be more honest with their customers today than they were in 2011, though through no fault of their own.

t seems like a distant irritation, but it wasn’t long ago that the telcos could make use of the ‘up to’ metric. This enabled service providers to mislead customers on the performance of products. The fact that the telcos are being more realistic on the performance of products in advertising might be a prominent contributing factor to the number of complaints; if the customer is getting the service it was promised, there is nothing to complain about.

“Complaints about mobile, broadband and landline to Ofcom have fallen to historic lows over the last decade, so it’s disappointing to see a slight increase this time around,” said Richard Neudegg, Head of Regulation at Uswitch.com.

“We hope this isn’t a sign that telecoms providers have taken their eye off the ball, as there is still room for improvement.”

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