Telstra, Optus blame NBN as TIO and Comms Alliance data shows highest complaints in years

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Telstra, Optus blame NBN as TIO and Comms Alliance data shows highest complaints in years

Telstra and Optus both received their highest level of complaints amid an ongoing dispute about the rollout of Australia's National Broadband Network.

The country's two largest telcos again topped the Complaints in Context report, which is published by the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman and industry group the Communications Alliance. The list ranks Australia's most complained-about carriers.

The report measures the number of complaints per 10,000 service in operation to create a fair compairson between large and small telcos. It includes mobile, internet and landline services.

Telstra received 10 complaints per 10,000 services in the  April to June quarter, while Optus received 10.1, both up from 9.3 complaints each last quarter. 

By contrast, Australia's third-largest telco, Vodafone, received 4.5 complaints, followed by Amaysim with 1.

In contrast, Queensland telco Pivotel received 0.3 complaints.

The average number of complaints across all telcos this quarter was 9, up from 8.4 complaints last quarter. This quarter marked the highest average number of complaints since the TIO began publishing its quarterly report in September 2014. This time last year, the number of complaints was just 6.4. 

A Telstra spokesperson told CRN that there was a significant number of complaints across the industry stemming from customers moving to NBN services.

“We are currently moving more than 21,000 customers to the NBN every week and this number will increase again as the NBN migration ramps up over the next two years, so it is clearly an area we need to do more on,” the spokesperson said.

“We are absolutely focussed on improving and simplifying our customer service and we’re working on a range of initiatives to deliver a better customer experience and reduce complaints overall. This includes working with NBN Co to improve the migration experience for our customers.”

An Optus person also told CRN that NBN-related issues were one of the main contributing factors, along with content services and data usage.

“Optus is working on a number of initiatives to improve these areas including improvements in escalation process for customer issues; changes to our IT system for NBN on boarding and providing additional resource to our customer service team,” the spokesperson said.

“We’re confident that these initiatives will help to reduce the level of complaints, both overall and specifically to the TIO.”

Last week, NBN Co chief executive Bill Morrow whipped up a frenzy among ISPs by blaming them for the number of complaints it receives.

Morrow said that providers had incited a "price war" by racing to the lowest price possible without taking service quality into consideration.

The government called for a review into NBN customer experience, to be led by ACMA, Department of Communications and the ACCC, who will investigate the most common issues customers have and the best way to avoid or remedy them.

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