Issue No 28: 31 October 2017



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Improvements Recorded in Telecommunications Customer Satisfaction

The latest Telecommunications Customer Satisfaction Survey has produced positive results across a range of customer satisfaction indicators, while still highlighting areas for industry improvement.

The quarterly national survey, carried out for Communications Alliance by Roy Morgan Research, shows that overall satisfaction with customer service has increased, with 83% of customers reporting they are satisfied/neutral, and those who were very dissatisfied decreased from 9% to 5%.

This reverses the decreasing trend of the last two quarters, and Communications Alliance CEO John Stanton said “the work Industry – including service providers and nbn - have been doing to improve customer experience in the light of current difficulties is reflected in this quarter’s results, and in the release of the recent Complaints in Context report earlier this month.

“Industry acknowledges there is still much work to do to turn these encouraging signs into a sustained positive trend, and is redoubling its effort to achieve that outcome.” 

Satisfaction with complaint handling has risen significantly in the last quarter. Stanton said “the previous 2 quarters saw a disappointing decrease in customers satisfaction with complaint handling. However, this quarter we have seen a jump from 60% to 71% of customers being satisfied or neutral with their providers’ complaint handling.” The survey also showed that the percentage of customers very dissatisfied with complaint handling decreased from 22% to 14%. The percentage of customers surveyed who made a complaint in the last 6 months also decreased from 45% to 42%.

Additionally, the proportion of customers satisfied with the ease of understanding their bill has remained fairly steady across previous surveys, with 86% reporting they are satisfied/neutral in the most recent survey. However, we also see a drop in the percentage of customers who were very dissatisfied, from 5% last quarter to 3% in this survey.

The survey, conducted in September 2017, comes amid a challenging time for industry and consumers, as customer migration to nbn-based services gathers pace and the sharply rising demand for streamed and downloaded video content puts additional pressure on some types of services.

This is the sixteenth wave in an ongoing quarterly survey series designed to measure the overall experience of Australian telco customers – particularly in relation to key customer ‘touch points’ covered by the Telecommunications Consumer Protections (TCP) Code 2015, which is currently being revised.

Industry is engaging in ongoing discussions on strategies to improve customer service and satisfaction across products.

The full survey results are available at the following link.

Communications Sector Market Study Report Welcomed

Communications Alliance has welcomed the pro-competitive stance of the ACCC’s draft Communications Sector Market Study report, released today by the regulator.

The report and its 29 ‘Proposed Actions’ and ‘Proposed Recommendations’ traverse a broad landscape across the current and near future state of telecommunications service provision in Australia.

“We welcome the comprehensive nature of the report and its willingness to explore pro-competitive options in many areas of market structure, service delivery and performance,” Communications Alliance CEO, John Stanton said today.

“Industry will digest the contents of the draft report and provide further feedback to the ACCC, in line with stated process.”

Mr Stanton noted that the proposed recommendation that the Federal Government consider whether NBN Co should continue to be obliged to recover its full cost of investment through its prices was reflective of an active current debate within industry and the broader community.

“Without commenting on the respective merits of potential actions to achieve this, the objective of providing NBN Co with ‘greater flexibility regarding its cost recovery’ is certainly an issue worth exploring,” Mr Stanton said.

He noted the ACCC’s belief that the Communications Alliance Telecommunications Consumer Protections (TCP) Code could be augmented to address “a wide range of consumer issues in light of the increasing prevalence of NBN telecommunications offers.”

“The TCP Code is under revision at present and is the subject of wide-ranging consultation with stakeholders, including the ACCC.”

“The Code already specifies how service providers must act and behave when they offer services to consumers – including services offered on NBN-based networks. Nonetheless, the Working Committee undertaking the revision remains open to additional ideas and is already considering provisions that may warrant inclusion in a revised Code, as well as provisions that might no longer be relevant,” Mr Stanton concluded.

Casting a Wider Spectrum Net

As demand for radiocommunications spectrum grows for communications services, the world is looking to coordinate spectrum usage at higher and higher frequencies; frequencies commonly referred to as millimetre wave (or mmWave). With the spectrum below 10 GHz becoming increasingly congested, bands from 26 GHz up to 86 GHz, the mmWave spectrum, are now before the ITU’s 2019 World Radio Conference (WRC-19).

The ACMA has commenced its consultation on the first of these bands, at 26 GHz, and the Communications Alliance Satellite Service Working Group (SSWG) has provided its input on this timely and important review. Our members believe that a comprehensive picture of how the market demand for broadband services is to be met into the future requires a holistic approach encompassing all complementary networks providing telecommunications services, including satellite, point-to-multipoint, fixed wireless and mobile cellular.

In its submission, the SSWG has not identified any issues where the ACMA cannot complete its normal spectrum planning process in time to meet equipment development cycles or to meet consumer demand once the outcomes of WRC-19 become clear. The SSWG recommends that what is needed is a comprehensive wireless broadband roadmap, providing clear policy and regulatory guidance, the prioritisation of bands being considered, technology advancements and the studies being undertaken by the ITU to address both national and international interests.

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Wednesday, 8 November 2017, 9:00am – 5:00pm


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TelSoc Forum 2017 – Exploring the Urgency for Innovation, Regulatory Changes and Consumer Expectations

TelSocTelSoc will hold its national forum on 22-23 November 2017 in Melbourne. The anticipated Telecommunications Sector Security Reforms will have a significant impact on the industry. TelSoc Forum 2017 (#TelSoc17) will bring together telecommunications and security experts to better understand what the reforms will mean, as well as exploring emerging technologies such as the Internet of Things, software-defined networking and 5G networks.

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