WELCOME DECREASE IN TELECOMMUNICATIONS COMPLAINTS DESPITE CHALLENGES

Sydney, 30 September 2020 - Communications Alliance welcomes the continuing fall in complaints volumes, reported in the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman’s Annual Report released today.

“The sustained decrease in complaints over the past three years – and during the very challenging circumstances of 2020 – is the result of significant work by telcos to improve the customer experience while continuing to deliver lower costs and increased value,” said Communications Alliance CEO John Stanton.

“This decrease has coincided with increasing numbers of connections, meaning that the rate of complaints-per-service has fallen even more rapidly.

“The recent natural disasters and COVID pandemic have affected all Australians this year and have inevitably disrupted some telecommunications services.

“We are grateful for the Ombudsman’s active work to assist consumers and industry during these challenges.

“The events have underlined the importance of telecommunications to Australians in their everyday lives, so it is encouraging that networks have coped well and that services are being delivered effectively[1] and affordably.[2]

“While the TIO reports that the sudden and severe impacts of the pandemic on offshore and onshore contact centres produced a temporary spike in complaints about contactability of service providers, we understand that these have now returned to pre-COVID levels.”

Communications Alliance noted that the reported temporary 1500% increase came from a very low base level of 127 complaints in the prior year.

Mr Stanton said: “the TIO’s Annual Report provides valuable data on the performance of telcos. However, it is important to consider the data in context. For example, the 17.8% increase in escalated complaints was driven by a backlog of delayed complaints from the previous financial year, so those numbers don’t reflect more recent experience.[3]

“Industry looks forward to continuing to work with the TIO on improving customer experience,” Mr Stanton concluded.

 

1 ACCC: NBN speeds holding up well in COVID environment, https://www.accc.gov.au/media-release/nbn-speeds-holding-up-well-in-covid-environment
and ITWire: Australia tops GSMA mobile connectivity ranks for sixth straight year, https://www.itwire.com/mobility/australia-tops-gsma-mobile-connectivity-ranks-for-sixth-straight-year.html

2 ACCC Communications Market Report found that over 5 years, the annual price decrease for fixed broadband was 2.3%, for mobile phone services was 7.5%, and for mobile broadband was 9.6%, https://www.accc.gov.au/system/file /Communications%20Market%20Report%202018-19%20-%20December%202019_D07.pdf
and
Bureau of Communications and Arts Research: Communications affordability continues to improve, https://www.communications.gov.au/departmental-news/communications-affordability-continues-improve

ABOUT COMMUNICATIONS ALLIANCE
Communications Alliance is the primary telecommunications industry body in Australia. Its membership is drawn from a wide cross-section of the  communications industry, including carriers, carriage and internet  service providers, content providers, search engines, equipment vendors, IT companies, consultants and business groups.

Its vision is to  provide a unified voice for the telecommunications industry and to lead  it into the next generation of converging networks, technologies and  services. The prime mission of Communications Alliance is to promote the growth of the Australian communications industry and the protection of  consumer interests by fostering the highest standards of business ethics and behaviour through industry self-governance. For more details about Communications Alliance, see www.commsalliance.com.au.
 

Media information contact:
Sefiani
Kurt Graham kgraham@sefiani.com.au
0431 478 558