Today the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) released their annual report of complaints for the 2017/18 financial year, and the results are looking up- despite an increase of 6.2% compared to last year.

A lot of the reporting in recent times regarding telco complaints has been incredibly negative, and deservedly so. In April we were hearing about the struggles of these companies in managing customer services and subsequently complaints, it wasn’t looking great. But with the release of this report we can happily report that for the MOST part, the situation is improving.

As stated, we’re looking at a 6.2% increase in overall complaints as compared to last year – however the report also states that complaints were down a whopping 17.8% in quarter four when compared to quarter three. In total for the financial year 2017/18 there were 167,831 complaints – 87.6% of which were residential and 12.2% were from small businesses.

So where’s the good news? Yes they’re down from Q4 to Q3 but overall complaints are up, what gives?

Well, in the breakdown you’ll note that;

  • Vodafone complaints decreased 8.7 per cent.
  • iiNet complaints decreased 24.1 per cent.
  • TPG complaints decreased 10.7 per cent.
  • Dodo complaints decreased of 5.7 per cent.
  • MyRepublic complaints decreased 101.6 per cent.
  • M2 Commander complaints decreased 8.2 per cent.
  • Southern Phone complaints decreased 28.2 per cent.

So with all of these services looking up, where’s the problem?

  • Optus Group, including Virgin, complaints increased by 35 per cent.
  • Telstra complaints increased by 7.7 per cent.

35%?! Optus (inclusive of Virgin) received 40,665 complaints and Telstra received 82,528 which is extraordinary… For comparison, Vodafone recorded 9,752 and iiNet received 7,719. Naturally the reason we break this down into percentages in comparison with last years model is because of how skewed the market is in Australia.

Something that has to be considered in all of these figures, and the reason we’re reporting a happy change is that we’re in a very volatile position of Australian internet at the moment. With the NBN still being rolled out across the nation, the rate of growth vs rate of complaints has to be considered.

Since September of last year, the NBN has been rolled out to an additional 1.4 million homes and businesses – this means NBN rollout has increased 46%. So for the most part, it appears that the rollout is being handled really well by the smaller telcos.

In summary while the year certainly didn’t start well, the 2018/19 financial year should show more promising figures in this space and hopefully we’ll see a shift from Optus & Telstra.