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Shell Energy Broadband and Virgin Media named worst providers for customer service

Telecoms regulator Ofcom reveals the most complained about broadband providers in its latest report

Ofcom, the telecoms regulator, has named Shell Energy Broadband and Virgin Mobile the worst providers for customer service in its latest report on complaints in the telecoms sector, covering January to March of this year.

The regulator uses a combination of interviews with customers and information given by providers to produce its league table of results. Overall levels of complaints were similar to those in the previous quarter.

However, there are still large differences between providers - particularly in the broadband market. These findings support our research that shows that some providers simply don't stack up when it comes to customer service, reliability and value for money.

Read our overview of the best mobile phone providers and best broadband providers to see which came top in our own extensive surveys.

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Best and worst broadband providers

According to Ofcom, Shell Energy Broadband was the broadband provider that caused the most complaints, topping the table with 22 complaints per 100,000 customers - it was also the most-complained about provider across all of the sectors Ofcom monitors. Shell Energy Broadband customers' complaints were usually due to issues with faults and provisioning.

Virgin Media fell in second place with 18 complaints per 100,000 customers for its broadband service, followed by TalkTalk, which received 14 complaints per 100,000 customers. 

Of the broadband providers included in Ofcom's analysis, EE broadband received the lowest volume of complaints: three per 100,000 customers. The industry average was 10 complaints per 100,000.

Broadband providerNumber of complaints per 100,000 customers
Shell Energy Broadband22
Virgin Media18
Now Broadband8

When we surveyed over 4,000 broadband customers about their provider, four out of 14 companies received four stars for customer service and only one earned four stars for its technical support. Compare all of the big providers on everything from service to broadband speed and value for money using our broadband provider reviews.

Had enough of substandard customer service from your broadband provider? Use Which? Switch Broadband to compare broadband packages in your area.

Mobile phone providers compared

The industry average number of complaints for mobile phones was much lower for pay-monthly mobile phone providers than for broadband, at just two complaints per 100,000 customers.

Here, Virgin Mobile took the top spot in Ofcom's league table with four complaints per 100,000 customers. Virgin Mobile customers were most likely to complain about their provider's complaints handling. BT Mobile, iD Mobile  and O2 also had above-average levels of complaints, with each receiving three complaints per 100,000 customers.

Of the mobile networks included in Ofcom's analysis, EE mobile, Tesco Mobile and Sky Mobile caused the least complaints. They all received just one complaint per 100,000 customers.

Pay-monthly mobile phone providerNumber of complaints per 100,000 customers
Virgin Mobile4
BT Mobile3
ID Mobile3
O2 Mobile3

In our recent survey of more than 3,000 mobile phone customers, two major mobile networks were awarded poor scores for their customer service. See how all of the providers compare in our mobile phone network reviews.

You can also read our in-depth guide on how to switch mobile provider for advice on switching whether you're in or out of contract. It also lays out how to make sure you get a good signal with your new provider.