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News.

Updated: 18 May 2022

Worst broadband and mobile providers for customer service and call wait times

Telecoms customers can face long call waiting times and inadequate handling of complaints, according to a report from the regulator
Frustrated-person-on-phone

Broadband, landline and mobile phone providers need to do more to tackle customer service problems, according to Ofcom, the telecoms regulator.

In a report discussing service from providers in 2021, it described customer service as 'hit and miss' and called on providers to prioritise improvements. It found that providers aren’t doing a good enough job of resolving complaints, with a large proportion of complainants having to contact their provider multiple times in order to get a resolution.


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


Telecoms complaints handling and resolution

While one in 20 landline customers had reason to complain to their provider in 2021, this was much higher for mobile customers, at one in 10, and even worse when it came to broadband where one in five customers had reason to complain to their provider. 

Customers of Three, Virgin Media and both Vodafone’s mobile and broadband services were more likely to have reason to complain than the average customer.

Providers also aren’t doing a good enough job of resolving issues when they arise - only half of mobile, broadband and landline customers who complained to their provider in 2021 were satisfied with the solution, plus most had to contact their provider multiple times to get their issue resolved.

Satisfaction with complaints handling was lowest among TalkTalk and Virgin Media broadband customers and Plusnet’s landline customers.

Mobile provider call wait times have got worse

Ofcom noted that the average call waiting times for mobile customers rose yet again in 2021, having already nearly doubled between 2019 and 2020 due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Five out of nine providers – BT Mobile, EE, iD Mobile, O2 and Vodafone – had longer average call waiting times in 2021 than they had in 2020. 

O2 also had the longest average call waiting time overall, at just under four minutes. The overall average waiting time was two minutes and 15 seconds.

Mobile phone providerAverage call waiting time (minutes)
BT Mobile0:55
EE2:25
iD Mobile1:39
O2 Mobile3:59
Sky Mobile1:50
Tesco Mobile2:15
Three0:16

If you're sick of long call waiting times, use Which? Switch Mobile to quickly compare the best contract and Sim only deals currently available.

Broadband providers call wait times improve

All of the major broadband and landline providers except KCOM saw their average call waiting time decrease in 2021 when compared to 2020.

The average call waiting time was similar to that for mobile providers – two minutes and 16 seconds – but there were large differences between providers. Now Broadband had the shortest average waiting time – an impressive 31 seconds – while KCOM’s was nearly nine minutes.

Broadband and landline providerAverage call waiting time (minutes)
BT1:46
EE Broadband0:53
KCOM8:53
Now Broadband0:31
Plusnet2:07
Sky2:17
TalkTalk1:02

If you've had enough of mediocre customer service from your broadband provider, use Which? Switch broadband to browse the best broadband deals available in your area.

Sick of subpar service? Switch

If you’re unhappy with the customer service you’re receiving from your provider, consider switching away – it might save you money, too.

Switching can feel like it'll be a hassle, but in most cases it's straightforward. When we surveyed over 7,000 members of the public about their experiences with broadband providers, the majority of those who has switched said they found it easy. And switching mobile phone provider is even simpler. Get started using our guides on how to switch broadband provider and how to switch mobile provider.

If you're switching between the many providers that use the Openreach network - such as BT, EE Broadband, Plusnet, Shell Energy Broadband, Sky, TalkTalk, Vodafone and Zen Internet - you only have to contact one provider. Long periods of downtime between connections is uncommon and you can usually switch without requiring a visit from an engineer.

For more advice about reducing the cost of your broadband or mobile phone service, read our guides: