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.
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.
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 provider||Average call waiting time (minutes)|
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 provider||Average call waiting time (minutes)|
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 and .
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