Ofcom, the telecoms regulator, has said that some companies are coming up short in serving their customers. It has named TalkTalk the worst broadband provider while Vodafone and Virgin Mobile earned the lowest rankings for mobile phone companies.
The results, based on a survey of customers and conducted by the telecoms regulator in January and February 2018, align closely with our findings that some broadband providers are letting consumers down when it comes to speeds, reliability and value for money. While mobile phone customers have fewer complaints when it comes to their service, we’ve seen big differences in satisfaction levels.
Alex Neill, Which? managing director of home products and services, said: ‘Consumers have told us they are fed up with getting a poor broadband connection, shoddy customer service or substandard complaints handling from many of the big name providers.
‘These suppliers need to do more to address these issues, which can be so frustrating for their customers. Anyone not happy with their provider should look to switch as soon as they can.’
Ofcom’s consumer group director, Lindsey Fussell, also encouraged dissatisfied customers to vote with their feet.
Best and worst broadband providers
TalkTalk received the worst rating of the broadband providers covered. Its customers were less likely to recommend their provider to a friend, less satisfied with the reliability of their service, more likely to have a reason to complain than customers of other providers and less satisfied with the handling of their complaints.
Virgin Media was the only provider with an above-average satisfaction score for broadband speeds, and its customers were more likely than average to recommend their provider to a friend. BT, EE, Plusnet, Sky and Virgin Media all had similar overall satisfaction levels.
Ofcom’s results are similar to those of our surveys of broadband customers, where TalkTalk has regularly featured in the bottom of the rankings. We’ve found that smaller providers often manage to outshine their larger counterparts.
Find out which ones have earned our recommendation using our best broadband providers overview.
Broadband customers’ overall satisfaction has decreased since 2016, mainly due to unreliable broadband connections and slow speeds. In our survey conducted in December 2017 and January 2018, we found that slow broadband speeds affected one in five of the broadband customers surveyed.
Slow speeds and dropouts are also the most common reason for broadband customers to make a complaint to Ofcom, and the number of customers with reason to complain has risen overall.
Ofcom said that it’s working to improve broadband service quality by bringing in new rules. These include:
- introducing automatic compensation for slow repairs, missed engineer appointments and delayed installations from March 2019
- improving the Broadband Speeds Codes of Practice in March 2019. This will ensure customers receive accurate information about the broadband speeds they can expect and the right to exit their contract if their speed falls below a minimum guaranteed level.
Mobile phone providers that disappoint
While Ofcom found that the majority of phone providers were satisfied with their service, two providers had higher than average scores. Giffgaff and Tesco Mobile customers had the highest levels of customer satisfaction and were most likely to recommend their provider to a friend.
Vodafone also disappointed in our recent survey, receiving the lowest rating for customer service and the worst overall customer satisfaction score. Meanwhile, Virgin Mobile received a relatively high number of complaints in the last quarter of 2017.
Overall, only 4% of mobile phone customers said they had reason to complain about their provider. This was usually because their service was not performing as it should be or because they had experienced an issue with billing or pricing.
Make sure you don’t commit to a mobile phone provider that won’t give any reception around your home. Check the network coverage where you live using our mobile phone coverage map.