Issue No 15: 3 June 2020
Telecommunications Providers Support Small Businesses
Complaints from small businesses to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) fell by 6.2 per cent during 2018-19.
Commenting on the TIO report into small business complaints, released today, Communications Alliance CEO, John Stanton, said the study provided useful insights into the ways in which small businesses and telco providers need to work collaboratively to continue to reduce service issues and complaint volumes.
“The report highlights what all parties can do to ensure small businesses get the best telco service possible, including a focus on ordering suitable communications services, providing accurate address details, managing faults and ensuring businesses have back-up plans in place.”
“The TIO has focused on the proportion of total complaints coming from small business, which is a reflection of the fact that complaints from residential customers fell even more rapidly last financial year (i.e. by 23.2 per cent) than did complaints from small businesses.
“Telecommunications services are vital to small businesses, and falling complaint numbers show that the hard work industry has been doing to improve the customer experience has been having an impact.”
As part of principles jointly agreed with the Federal Government, industry has also provided a range of benefits and initiatives to small businesses affected by COVID-19, in order to keep them connected, assist with financial hardship and provide options to help businesses successfully ‘hibernate’ until conditions allow them to re-open.
Affordability of Telco Services Continues to Improve
The Government’s Bureau of Communications and Arts Research has found that low income households have a range of options to meet their telecommunications needs.
The report “Affordability of communications services for low income households” found that there are a number of prepaid and post-paid plans available for consumers who require low amounts of data, and that pre and post-paid plans have similar prices. Additionally, it established that telcos have been increasingly offering plans that include free access to content and services such as educational and government sites.
This aligns with the broader findings of the ACCC’s Communications Market Report, published in December, that real prices for telco services have decreased over the past 5 years, ensuring that Australians are getting better value for money.
Communications Alliance CEO, John Stanton, said “we welcome this research showing that the telecommunications market is constantly adapting to offer improved services with varied value propositions, including those that support low income households.
While this research was conducted prior to COVID-19, the onset of the pandemic saw an even greater increase in low-cost telco offerings to support Australians through this difficult time, including packages specifically to support low-income households with school-aged children and continued access to financial hardship assistance for any Australian that needs it.”