Tech & Home Comms: Shell Tops Ofcom Telecoms Complaints League (2023)

27 April: BT, Virgin Media, O2 Also Feature In Regulator Analysis

Shell Energy, BT Mobile, Virgin Media and O2 have topped the charts for complaints made by telecoms customers, writes Mark Hooson.

The latest data from Ofcom, the industry regulator, found Shell Energy customers made more complaints about its broadband and landline services than customers of any other provider.

Shell’s broadband complaints focussed on faults and service (44%), complaints handling (27%) and pricing/billing (16%). For landlines, the proportion of complaints for each of the three areas was similar at 39%, 27% and 17%.

The watchdog says it remains concerned about Shell Energy’s high volume of complaints but expects improvements in the coming months after working with the provider to resolve issues.

The figures, covering October to December 2022, also showed Virgin Media, O2 and BT Mobile received the most complaints for pay-monthly mobile service. Complaints handling was the most common complaint for BT Mobile and Virgin Media, while O2 customers complained most about faults and service.

Sky recorded the fewest customer complaints across mobile, landline, broadband and pay TV.

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24 April: Regulator Says 95% Of Eligible Households Missing Out

Virtually every household that is eligible for a discounted broadband tariff isn’t taking advantage, according to research from regulator Ofcom, writes Mark Hooson.

These ‘social’ broadband tariffs are designed to help lower-income households access the internet with prices up to £200 cheaper per year when compared to the average standard tariff.

But Ofcom today said that 95% of 4.3 million eligible UK households are not signed up for a social tariff.

Social tariffs are available from a number of broadband providers. They offer average download speeds of up to 100 Megabits per second (Mbps) and start from as low as £12 per month.

Ofcom says awareness of social tariffs is a problem. It found more than half (53%) of people it surveyed were unaware the discounts were available to households claiming Universal Credit.

The watchdog says provider websites should do more to highlight social tariffs on their websites, and it is continuing to pressure TalkTalk and O2 to introduce social tariffs.

Here’s a list of the social tariffs currently on offer:

Tariff£/monthAverage speedFor customers in
4th Utility Social Tariff£13.9930 MbpsEngland
BT Home Essentials£1536 MbpsUK
BT Home Essentials 2£2067 MbpsUK
Community Fibre Essential£12.5020 MbpsLondon
Country Connect Social Tariff£1550 MbpsNewport
EE Basics£12Up to 25 MbpsUK
G.Network Essential Fibre Broadband£1550 MbpsLondon
Grayshott Gigabit Connect£19100 MbpsEngland
Hyperoptic Fair Fibre 50£1550 MbpsEngland, Scotland, Wales
Hyperoptic Fair Fibre 150£20150 MbpsEngland, Scotland, Wales
KCOM Full Fibre Flex£14.9930 MbpsHull
Lightning Fibre Social Tariff£1550 MbpsEast Sussex and Kent
Lothian Broadband Social Tariff£19.99100 MbpsLothian
NOW Broadband Basics£2036 MbpsUK
Sky Broadband Basics£2036 MbpsUK
Virgin Media Essential Broadband£12.5015 MbpsUK
Virgin Media Essential Broadband Plus£2054 MbpsUK
Vodafone Essentials Broadband£1238 MbpsUK
Wildanet Helping Hand Social Tariff£20Up to 100 MbpsCornwall and Devon
WightFibre Essential Broadband£16.50100 MbpsIsle of Wight

Ofcom’s Lindsey Fussell said: “We’re urging anyone who thinks they could be eligible for a discount deal to contact their provider today and potentially save hundreds of pounds. Providers should also do much more to help these customers find and access these deals, at a time when these savings could make a massive difference.”

As of January 2023, the regulator’s Communications Affordability Tracker showed three in 10 households – roughly eight million – reported struggling to pay for their phone, broadband, pay-TV or streaming bills.

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8 March: Only Fibre-To-Premises Should Use Descriptor

Telecoms regulator Ofcom is launching a consultation on how broadband providers can standardise the meaning of ‘fibre broadband’, writes Mark Hooson.

The watchdog wants providers only to use the terms ‘fibre broadband’ or ‘full fibre broadband’ when describing fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) connections, and not for fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) connections.

FTTP and FTTC are different types of fibre broadband, with the former being faster. If the change is adopted, it will prevent slower FTTC connections being promoted in the same way as the faster alternative.

  • FTTP connections transfer data via fibre optic cables direct from the nearest telephone exchange to a home or business, and vice versa. FTTP is capable of transferring data at 1,000 Megabits per second (Mbps), or 1 Gigabits per second (Gbps) and beyond. For context, the average UK download speed is around 52Mbps.
  • FTTC connections transfer data over fibre optic cables from the nearest exchange to the nearest roadside telephone cabinet. The final leg of the journey then uses copper telephone wiring from the cabinet to a home or business. FTTC speeds top out at around 80Mbps.

Electrical resistance in the copper telephone wiring makes data transmission slower than on an FTTP connection.

Tech & Home Comms: Shell Tops Ofcom Telecoms Complaints League (1)

Source: Ofcom

Cable broadband is a third type of connection that eschews fibre optics in favour of coaxial cable – a kind of shielded electrical line that blocks interference to accelerate data transmission. Cable is capable of download speeds up to 1Gbps and beyond.

Virgin Media is the only telecoms provider using cable for its broadband, and has its own proprietary network covering around 55% of the UK.

Asynchronous Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL) is an older, pre-fibre broadband technology that effectively uses copper telephone wires at every stage, limiting its data transmission speeds. ADSL is still available and covers the vast majority of the country, but offers speeds of only around 8Mbps.

Ofcom is seeking responses to its consultation by 3 May.

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7 March: Inflation Stokes Prices By Up To 14.4%

More than a third of broadband subscribers don’t know if their providers are allowed to put prices up during their contracts, says new research.

The majority of broadband and mobile network providers subject their customers to annual price increases, typically linked to inflation.

With inflation currently above 10%, pay-monthly mobile customers with a number of networks are finding their monthly bills going up by as much as 14.4%.

For example, Virgin Media O2 increases its prices each year by the rate of the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which was at 10.5% when it calculated its 2023/24 prices, plus 3.9%. Virgin Media, meanwhile, is raising its cable customers’ average bills by 13.8%.

But research from Zen Internet, a provider that does not increase prices during contracts, says 34% of broadband subscribers don’t know if the contract they signed allows their provider to impose a mid-contract increase each year.

Paul Stobart, Zen CEO, said: “The truth is that many providers will be introducing price increases to contracted customers that are ahead of CPI. With CPI running at 9.2% {in December 2022] that amounts to a substantial additional burden in household budgets.

“Our industry unfortunately has a poor reputation for managing customer expectations and being transparent with communications, and introducing price rises mid-contract at a time when everyone is struggling with household bills will not improve matters.”

The telecoms regulator Ofcom opened an investigation into mid-contract price increases last month, expressing concern that customers aren’t well equipped to know what will happen with inflation in the future, and how that could affect their bills.

Zen’s research corroborates similar Ofcom research from February, which also found a third of mobile and broadband customers didn’t know if their providers could increase prices mid-contract.

Among those that were aware, around half didn’t understand how price increases were calculated, while half did not know what CPI and the Retail Price Index (RPI) measured.

Ofcom expects to publish the findings of its investigation later this year.

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10 February: Rules Expected To Land In UK In March

Netflix is rolling out measures to prevent its Canadian users from sharing their passwords with people outside their households, writes Mark Hooson.

Subscribers in Canada have received emails and in-app notifications from Netflix asking them to set their ‘primary location’ before the end of the month, in a bid to stop them sharing access to the streaming platform with non-subscribers.

Netflix set out its intention to stop subscription sharing at the start of the year, and has also notified users in New Zealand, Spain and Portugal.

UK users are expected to receive the same communications by the end of March.

After that point, subscribers will be asked to verify a device logged in to a user’s account with a four-digit code sent to their email address that must be entered on the device within 15 minutes.

In some territories, Netflix plans to allow subscribers to add sub-accounts for a fee. It’s unclear whether this feature will be available in the UK.

Research from Digital i estimates four million Netflix subscribers in the UK are sharing their passwords.

On its website, Netflix recently clarified that accounts meant to be shared in one household (people who live in the same location with the account owner).

On 10 March 2017, the streamer famously posted on Twitter: “Love is sharing a password.”

Netflix viewers currently using a borrowed password will have to subscribe to continue watching, with packages starting at £4.99 with ads. An ad-free subscription costs £6.99 per month, although streaming is capped at a less-than-full-HD 720p resolution.

Netflix’s standard subscription with Full HD streaming and no ads costs £10.99, while 4K and HDR streaming costs £15.99 per month.

9 February: Customers Facing Near 15% Mid-Contract Increases

Ofcom, the telecoms watchdog, is opening an investigation into inflation-linked price increases for mobile phone customers, writes Mark Hooson.

With inflation above 10%, pay monthly mobile customers with a number of networks are finding their monthly bills going up by as much as 14.4% because of the way annual price hikes are calculated.

For example, Virgin Media O2 increases its prices each year by the rate of the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which is at 10.5%, plus 3.9%. Virgin Media is raising its cable customers’ average bills by 13.8%.

Ofcom’s review will examine whether inflation-linked, mid-contract price rises give consumers “sufficient certainty and clarity about what they can expect to pay”.

The regulator is concerned that, because consumers can’t be expected to know how inflation might increase months after they’ve signed up for a contract, they won’t know what the increase could equal in pounds and pence.

In preliminary research, Ofcom found a third of mobile and broadband customers didn’t know if their providers could increase prices mid-contract. Among those that were aware, around half didn’t understand how price increases were calculated, while half did not know what CPI and the Retail Price Index (RPI) measured.

Cristina Luna-Esteban, Ofcom’s director of telecoms consumer protection, said: “Inflation-linked price rises can be unclear and unpredictable. So we’re concerned that providers are making it difficult for customers to know what to expect.”

Ofcom expects to publish its findings later this year.

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2 February: New Offerings Boast Enhanced Camera Arrays

Samsung is showcasing the latest iteration of its Galaxy S series smartphone for pre-orders ahead of its physical launch on 17 February, writes Candiece Cyrus.

The Galaxy S23 series consists of the S23, S23+ and S23 Ultra. Samsung says it will double a device’s storage to 512GB for the price of 256GB for those who pre-order, with mobile networks such as Sky and O2 offering the same deal.

As the premium handset, the S23 Ultra presents the biggest departure from the S22, with a 200 megapixel (MP) rear wide-lens camera. This is up from the 108MP wide lens on the S22 Ultra, and the highest resolution the S series has seen.

The S23 and S23+ have 50MP wide-lens offerings. A 12MP ultra-wide lens, 10MP telephoto lens at the rear and a 12MP selfie camera complete the camera array on all three S23 devices.

The range includes enhanced camera technology to allow for sharper image and vivid colour when shooting at night, as well as optical image stabilisation.

The S23 Ultra has a 6.8” HDR display. The S23 and S23+ have 6.1” and 6.6” HDR displays, respectively.

All three are powered by the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor, which is designed to keep graphics fast and smooth for lag-free gaming, while the 5,000 mAh battery in the Ultra can keep the device fully powered-up for up to 26 hours.

With its 4,700 mAh battery, the S23+ offers up to 27 hours of video playback while the S23 3,900 mAh battery offers up to 22.

The S23 Ultra also features the S Pen, introduced with the S22 series, which can be used to take handwritten notes and draw.

All handsets are generally available in green, phantom black, lavender and cream. Graphite, sky blue, lime and red versions of the S23, and graphite and lime versions of the S23 and S23+, are available on the Samsung website.

When bought directly from Samsung, the S23 Ultra comes with 8GB of RAM with 256GB of internal storage for an upfront cost of £1,249 or £34.70 per month. Alternatively, there’s the option of 12GB of RAM with 512GB of internal storage, which, for pre-orders, has been reduced from £1,399 to £1,249, or from £38.87 to £34.70 if paying monthly.

The handset with 1TB of internal storage, for pre-orders, has been reduced from £1,599 to £1,499, or from £44.42 to £41.64 if paying monthly.

The S23+ comes with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of internal storage for £1,049 or £29.14 per month. There’s also the option of 8GB of RAM with 512GB of internal storage for £1,049.00 reduced from £1,149, or monthly payments of £29.14 reduced from £31.92, if pre-ordering.

The S23 comes with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage for £849 or £23.59 per month. Alternatively, there’s the option of 8GB of RAM with 256GB of internal storage, reduced from £899 to £849 or from £24.98 per month to £23.59 per month, if pre-ordering.

Deals are also available from a number of mobile network providers. For example, with no upfront cost, prices start from £31 per month for the S23, £39 for the S23+, and £47 per month for the Galaxy S23 Ultra, with Sky Mobile.

For pre-orders between 1 and 16 February, Sky is offering double data at no extra cost, starting at 6GB for just £7.

The handsets are also available for pre-order for those on O2 Custom and Plus Plans. The S23 is available from £22.75 per month for the first three months, then £49.74 thereafter when the device is purchased before 22 March 2023.

The S23+ is available from O2 at £46.31 per month and the S23 Ultra from £51.87 per month, both with an upfront cost of £30.

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31 January: Virgin Announces 13.8% Price Increase

Virgin Media subscribers will see their bills rise by an average of 13.8% this year, writes Mark Hooson.

The hike, which is not linked to inflation, will affect all Virgin Media’s cable customers except those on its Essential broadband packages and its Talk Protected landline tariff.

Prices will increase from either 1 April or 1 May, depending on each subscriber’s package. Virgin Media is writing to all customers to let them know when they’ll be affected.

It has also announced it will link annual price increases to inflation from 2024, when bills will rise by the Retail Price Index (RPI) plus 3.9%.

Though RPI is currently 13.4%, which would result in price hikes of 17.3%, Virgin cites Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) predictions that it will fall to 1.5% by the time the changes take effect next year.

Anyone affected by price increases this year will be allowed to exit their contracts without penalty if they do so within 30 days of receiving a letter from Virgin outlining the increases to their bill.

A Virgin Media spokesperson said: “We know price rises are never welcome, particularly right now, but like many other businesses we are experiencing significantly increased costs while investing to keep pace with growing demand.

“The introduction of inflation-linked price changes, which comes into effect in 2024 when RPI is projected to be at around 1.5%, will give customers clarity and certainty about what to expect from their bills while fuelling the investment required both now and in future.

“We will be clearly communicating these changes directly to our customers over the coming weeks.”

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27 January: Plymouth, Basingstoke First To Lose Connectivity

Vodafone customers with older handsets could lose connectivity in Plymouth and Basingstoke from February as the UK begins its 3G network switch-off.

The third generation of mobile data connectivity – now two generations behind the latest mobile technology, 5G – is being retired across the country over the next few years. Vodafone will be the first mobile network to start switching off its service.

Vodadfone plans to shutter its 3G service nationwide by December, but will begin with the Basingstoke and Plymouth areas next month after investing in network upgrades to keep customers connected.

It means mobile users in the area will need handsets capable of 4G connectivity to make calls and send texts. Emergency calls will not be affected.

The network says it’s spent more than £3 million over the last 18 months to get the areas ready for the switch-off.

Currently, 70% of Vodafone customers in Plymouth and Basingstoke use 4G or 5G connections. Upgrades to 40 network sites across the region mean the region has 99% indoor 4G coverage.

Other networks aren’t switching off their 3G service until next year. EE plans to start in early 2024, while Three is aiming for the end of 2024. O2 is yet to disclose its 3G retirement plans.

The change won’t just affect mobile phones – anything with a SIM card using 3G technology will also lose connectivity. This includes security alarms, card payment terminals and personal care alarms.

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26 January: Ofcom Data Shows Customers Unhappy With Broadband

Shell has topped the lists of the most-complained-about broadband and landline providers, according to data from the industry watchdog Ofcom, writes Mark Hooson.

The regulator’s figures covering July to September 2022 show overall complaints about broadband, TV and phone services were broadly flat compared to previous quarters, but that Shell had recorded much higher than average numbers of customer complaints.

For broadband, Shell recorded 27 complaints per 100,000 customers. The average across all providers was 11 complaints per 100,000 customers. Sky had the fewest complaints at just four per 100,000 customers.

For landline complaints, Shell had 20 per 100,000 customers compared to an industry average of 7 per 100,000. Again, Sky performed best with 3 complaints per 100,000.

Pay monthly mobile complaints were much lower. BT Mobile and Virgin Mobile were the most complained about, with four complaints per 100,000 customers. EE, Tesco Mobile and Sky Mobile each scored one complaint per 100,000 customers.

In Pay TV, Virgin Media saw the most complaints with nine per 100,000 customers – above the industry average of four. Sky fared best, with one complaint per 100,000 customers.

Ironically, customers in all areas – except broadband – were most likely to complain about their provider’s complaints-handling processes. In broadband, most complaints were about faults and service.

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19 January: 14.4% Rise Pushes Monthly Bills Towards £50

BT broadband customers’ bills will rise by 14.4% over the coming months, thanks to its inflation-linked approach to annual price hikes, writes Mark Hooson.

The telecoms giant confirmed the expected increase in prices in a statement today. Like many other telecoms companies, it increases prices each year by the equivalent of inflation plus 3 or 4%.

Since BT adds 3.9% to the rate of the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which is currently 10.5% (see report), millions of its customers will pay 14.4% by 31 March.

In its statement, the company said price increases were “never easy”, and that the “cost of living squeeze is something none of us can ignore right now”. However, it said the hike was necessary to cover “all the increasing costs” it faces.

BT stressed that three million of its customers would be unaffected by the new prices, since they don’t apply to landline-only customers. It also said BT Home Essentials, EE Mobile Basics, Pay-As-You-Go, BT Basic and Home Phone Saver customers will see their prices frozen through 2023.

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Regulator Ofcom data puts the average monthly broadband-only bill at £43.71 per month. With other broadband providers likely to follow suit with their own price increases over the coming weeks, the average broadband-only bill is likely to be close to £50 per month from April.

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6 January: Coverage To Be Provided In Remote Locations

The next generation of premium Android smartphones will allow users to send messages where mobile coverage isn’t available, thanks to a new Snapdragon satellite, writes Candiece Cyrus.

Due to launch in mid 2023, the satellite is the result of a collaboration between chip firm Qualcomm and satellite communications company, Iridium.

The technology will initially be used to provide coverage for emergency messaging, starting with smartphones that are based on Qualcomm’s flagship Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 Mobile Platform.

Qualcomm will later use Snapdragon to provide global coverage for day-to-day messaging, allowing users to send texts and use messaging applications across the world, including in rural, remote and offshore locations.

It plans to extend the technology to other devices, including tablets, laptops, and vehicles.

Apple currently provides a satellite messaging service in its iPhone 14 range, which is limited to two-way emergency text messaging.

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6 January: Rule Changes Improve Broadband Provision For New-Builds And Tower Blocks

New-build properties must be gigabit broadband-ready, and tower block residents will have less trouble getting faster broadband after changes in the law, writes Mark Hooson.

Gigabit broadband, which is an internet connection capable of 1,000 Megabits (1 Gigabit) per second, is currently available to around 72% of the UK.

An amendment to 2010 Building Regulations legislation, effective from 26 December 2022, means that all new properties in England must have the infrastructure necessary for gigabit broadband when construction is complete.

The government estimates that in a typical year, 12% of new-build properties are without a full-fibre connection upon construction.

The rules mean developers’ construction costs associated with including the connection will be capped at £2,000 – a figure that more than 98% of premises fall within. Where a developer cannot make a property gigabit-capable within that cap, it will need to install the next-fastest connection available.

Meanwhile, the introduction of a separate new law will make it easier for nine million renters in tower blocks to get faster broadband where landlords have repeatedly ignored requests for access from broadband providers.

The Telecommunications Infrastructure (Leasehold Property) Act (TILPA), now effective in England and Wales, makes it easier for providers to install broadband equipment when a resident requests a faster connection.

Until now, tower block residents had to wait for a landlord’s permission to have a broadband operator install a faster connection.Broadband providers say around 40% of requests for access receive no response

TILPA creates a new route through the courts for providers to gain access where a landlord is unresponsive. The legislation will come into effect in Scotland in the summer.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) estimates an additional 2,100 buildings per year will take advantage.

Julia Lopez, digital infrastructure minister, said:: “Nothing should stop people from seizing the benefits of better broadband, whether it is an unresponsive landlord or a property developer’s failure to act.

“Millions of renters will no longer be prevented from getting a broadband upgrade due to the silence of their landlord, and those moving into newly built homes can be confident they’ll have access to the fastest speeds available from the day they move in.”

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18 October: Sky Ditches Dishes With New Streaming Box

Satellite TV provider Sky is launching a new way to receive its broadcasts without a satellite dish.

Sky Stream will allow households to subscribe to 120 channels, Freeview and Netflix, from £26 per month via a wireless streaming device plugged into their televisions.

The dishless technology was introduced in Sky’s Glass televisions last year but has been emancipated from flatscreens and put into a palm-sized, wifi-enabled box that connects to your existing television via HDMI cable.

The device comes with a voice-activated remote control and enables cloud-based programme recording.

Sky Stream will also be available on a rolling, one-month subscription that can be cancelled at any point, though Sky is hoping to tempt customers into 18-month contracts with a better-value deal.

Both the £29 one-month subscription and the £26 18-month subscription come with Sky Ultimate TV and Netflix Basic. Sports and film fans will be able to add extra channels to their subscriptions for an additional fee.

Sky Stream’s ‘Entertainment OS’ operating system will also integrate third party apps such as Apple TV+, Amazon Prime, Disney+, BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, All4, YouTube and others.

Sky Stream is available now via Sky.

18 October: Ofcom Warns Worst Providers Of Need To ‘Step Up’

Shell Energy was the worst broadband and landline provider for complaints-handling from April to June this year, while BT had the highest number of dissatisfied pay-monthly mobile customers, according to telecoms regulator, Ofcom.

The regulator’s second-quarter research into customer complaints also found that Virgin Media performed the worst when handling pay-TV complaints, and received the second-highest number of complaints for mobile services after BT, writes Candiece Cyrus.

Shell Energy stacked up 31 complaints per 100,000 broadband customers and 23 complaints per 100,000 landline customers. BT received four complaints per 100,000 mobile customers.

Virgin Media received three complaints per 100,000 mobile customers and 10 complaints per 100,000 Pay-TV customers. All firms were the worst performing in the same sectors in the first quarter of this year.

Sky received the fewest complaints for broadband (three per 100,000), landline (two per 100,000), and pay-TV (one per 100,000), and the joint-fewest complaints in the mobile sector, tying with Tesco Mobile, EE and iD Mobile (one per 100,000).

EE fell from first to second for the fewest complaints in the broadband sector, compared to the first quarter. BT, NOW broadband, Plusnet, Vodafone and TalkTalk all received more complaints from broadband customers in the second quarter, while Virgin Media received fewer.

Virgin Media was the only firm to experience fewer complaints from landline customers in the second quarter two compared to the first. In the mobile sector, BT was the only firm to experience a rise in complaints, while ID Mobile, O2 and Virgin Media experienced fewer.

Vodafone and Three, which confirmed merger talks earlier this year, as well as Sky, EE and Tesco Mobile, each received the same number of complaints per 100,000 customers.

Overall, the data found that broadband customer complaints increased slightly while the volume of landline, pay-monthly mobile, and pay-TV complaints have remained the same.

Commenting on the figures, Lindsey Fussell, Ofcom’s group director for networks and communications, said: “Overall complaint numbers are stable, but these figures show some providers need to step up. And with household budgets being squeezed during the cost-of-living crisis, people will be taking a closer look at their provider to make sure they’re still the right one for them.”

Regardless of performance, next year will see telecom providers hike prices in line with inflation plus a typical 3.9%. Customers agree to the scale of the annual increase, when signing their contract.

This means customers are facing price increases well into double figures. BT and Plusnet are among the companies that use the consumer prices index (CPI) measure of annual inflation, which currently stands at 9.9%. Virgin Media the retail prices index (RPI), which stands at 12.3%.

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14 October: Budget Offering Aims To Bolster Subscriber Numbers

Streaming giant Netflix has announced a £4.99 per month subscription tier that will feature up to five minutes of advertisements per hour.

The famously ad-free streamer’s latest offering, launching next month, is £2 per month cheaper than its previously cheapest subscription tier.

Video streaming on the Basic With Adverts plan will be capped at a less-than-full-HD 720p resolution. Certain titles within Netflix’s library will also be unavailable to £4.99 per month subscribers, due to licensing restrictions.

Advertisements of between 15 and 30 seconds will be shown before and during films and episodes of serialised programmes. Netflix says ads will be tailored to subscribers’ interests.

In the summer, official figures showed Netflix had shed almost a million subscribers between April and July, marking the second consecutive quarter of falling customer numbers.

As of June, Netflix reported having around 220 million paid-up members.

13 October: New Models Upgrade Kit Without Price Hike

Google today launches two new handsets in its Pixel range, the 7 and 7 Pro, starting at £599 and £849 respectively – the same price points as the Pixel 6.

We’re also seeing the debut of the Pixel Watch, Google’s first foray into the smartwatch market. As with the Apple Watch, the aluminium device can be paired with a variety of wristbands for customisation.

Unlike Apple’s device, Pixel Watch has integrated health tracking care of FitBit, following the search giant’s acquisition of the firm last year.

The new base Pixel 7 smartphone improves on its predecessor’s processor and cameras without a cost increase. The Pixel 7 Pro also maintains price parity with its predecessor, the Pixel 6 Pro, and offers incremental upgrades to its chipset and cameras.

Cameras on both devices come with improved zoom capabilities when compared to the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, bringing them more in line with Apple’s latest.

The new handsets also debut upgrades to Google’s, self-developed Tensor processor. The Tensor G2 is said to better optimise battery life, improve the clarity of photography and enable a new video portrait mode akin to Cinematic Mode found on Apple’s iPhones.

The actual devices themselves have been given a makeover, with a new metal camera bar to house the rear-facing cameras and new colour options: lemongrass (light green), hazel (dark green), snow (white) and obsidian (black).

6 October: USB-C Ruling Provides Potential Headache For Apple

All new phones, tablets and laptops sold in the EU will have to use the same charging cable from 2024.

EU lawmakers this week overwhelmingly backed a move forcing manufacturers to adopt USB-C type charging cables for all their devices – including Apple’s iPhones and iPads, which do not all use the technology.

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USC-B, the latest USB standard, can be plugged into devices regardless of the cable’s orientation, unlike previous generations of USB. USB-C can also transfer both data and power, with faster data transfers than older USB types.

The EU laws, expected to be rubber-stamped later this month, are designed to reduce electronic waste and standardise how devices are charged. Smartphones and tablets would be subject to the new law from 2024, while laptop manufacturers will be given until 2026 to get on board.

As the UK is not part of the EU, there’s no obligation for manufacturers to change the products they sell into Britain, but existing Brexit agreements could make things more complicated for Northern Ireland, where an as-yet unresolved treaty dispute potentially keeps NI in the EU Single Market.

Most newer devices using Google’s Android operating system and manufactured by the likes of Samsung, Google, Oppo, Xiaomi and OnePlus are already using USB-C, but Apple is likely to be hit harder by the law.

While some of Apple’s devices already use USB-C, many use the firm’s own ‘Lightning’ connection. The tech giant has previously argued against such laws, saying they stifle innovation. Assuming the law is finalised, however, Apple will also have to ensure all its new phones and tablets comply with the EU edict.

Whether Apple is forced to adopt USB-C wholesale for products it sells in the EU remains to be seen. It may be that the manufacturer instead includes a Lightning to USB-C adapter with its devices, if the law allows.

4 October: Vodafone confirms merger talks with Three

Mobile operators Three and Vodafone are in talks to merge.

The merger would create a business with 27 million mobile and broadband customers, which would be more than EE’s 26 million or O2’s 23 million (excluding customers in their sister organisations BT and Virgin Media).

The deal is expected to be agreed by the end of the year if approved by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).

Similar mergers of BT and EE and Virgin Media and O2 were permitted in 2015 and 2020, respectively.

In February the CMA said future mergers “would be informed by the specific circumstances of that particular merger, rather than just the number of competitors”.

It’s unknown how such a merger, if approved, might affect prices for customers, but prior to February the CMA had expressed concern about mergers which reduce the amount of choice available to customers and the effect mergers might have on prices.

Briefing shareholders, Vodafone said: “By combining our businesses, Vodafone UK and Three UK will gain the necessary scale to be able to accelerate the rollout of full 5G in the UK and expand broadband connectivity to rural communities and small businesses.”

iPhone 14: Apple Unveils Four Next-Generation Handsets

Apple showed off its newest iPhones last night, introducing higher resolution camera lenses and emergency calls functionality using satellite technology.

The iPhone 13 range will be succeeded by the iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Plus, iPhone Pro and iPhone Pro Max on 16 September, with preorders opening tomorrow, 9 September.

The base iPhone 14, oversized iPhone 14 Plus, premium iPhone 14 Pro and oversized premium iPhone 14 Pro Max will begin at £849, £949, £1,099 and £1,199, respectively.

The iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus will be available in blue, red, purple, black and white.

What’s new?

The entry-level, 6.1” iPhone 14 isn’t a massive departure from its predecessor, offering the same A15 Bionic chipset and a 12 megapixel (MP) main camera that’s slightly improved from the iPhone 13 thanks to a brighter flash and wider angle lens.

The iPhone 14 is essentially the same device with a larger, 6.7” Super Retina XDR display. Both phones have longer battery life than the previous generation’s handsets did, at up to 26 hours of video playback on the Plus and up to 20 hours video playback on the iPhone 14.

But Apple said it’d saved its biggest technological leaps for the two new Pro-level handsets.

The main headline is that the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max each have a 48MP main camera lens, bringing Apple into line with much of the rest of the smartphone market.

The Pro and Pro Max have 6.1” and 6.7” displays and both feature what Apple calls its Dynamic Island technology, which essentially means the black bar at the top of the display that houses the front-facing camera changes shape depending on context. For example, the notch will expand to show information about a song that’s playing, or an incoming call.

Both displays are now also always-on, which means even when not in use, the display will show notifications and phone information.

Powering all of its new features is Apple’s new, six-core A16 Bionic chip – comprising 16 billion transistors and a five-core graphics processor offering 50% more memory bandwidth.

Apple’s pledging 29 hours’ worth of video playback on the iPhone Pro and 23 hours’ worth of video playback on the Pro Max.

The two Pro handsets will be available in purple, black, white and gold.

29 July: BT To Hike Average Bills By £53 A Year

Telecoms giant BT is forecasting price hikes of 13% next April, adding £53 every year to the average customer’s broadband bill.

Like many broadband providers, BT raises its prices every April. The increases, which customers agree to when signing a BT contract, are equal to inflation plus 3.9%.

The £53 hike will also apply to broadband customers of EE, which is part of the BT Group.

BT says it needs to increase customer bills to cope with inflationary pressures and the cost of investment programmes.

A spokesperson said: “Like every business, we face huge inflationary pressures. At the same time, we are making massive investments in the digital networks that UK families and businesses need; our pricing makes that possible.”

In April this year, BT increased its prices by 9.3%.

The news is the latest in the round of relentless price hikes consumers are facing in their general household bills.

On top of a new energy price cap in October, which analysts are predicted could reach £3,500 a year for a typical household, consumers are having to absorb a 12% increase to cost of an Amazon Prime subscription, a 4.4% rise in food prices compared to last year (per British Retail Consortium data) and inflation reaching a 40-year-high of 9.4%.

13 July: Nothing’s Phone (1) Attempts To Shake Up Smartphone Market

With the launch of its Phone (1) device, Nothing’s goal is to take the concept of the smartphone back to basics, writes Candiece Cyrus.

The two-year-old London tech firm’s first phone, priced from £399 for those who want to buy the phone from the manufacturer without a contract, represents pressing “a giant reset button” with regards to design.

It can also be purchased in black or white from O2, which offers three 36-month plans with unlimited texts and calls, and a choice of 3GB, 10GB or 30GB of data.

You will be required to pay £10 upfront, and then £24.20, £27.20 or £32.19 monthly, depending on the amount of data you choose.

Perks, such as a set number of months on a Disney+ or Amazon Prime Video subscription, and double your data if your household uses Virgin Media broadband, are also included. Delivery takes up to two weeks.

The Phone (1) has a see-through casing to show off the phone’s inner workings, which could be seen as symbolic of the company’s mission “to remove barriers between people and technology, and create a seamless digital future.”

It has a 6.55” OLED display. This compares to the likes of competing flagships from Samsung, iPhone, Google and Huawei for example, that boast 6.8” or 6.7” screens.

Less disputable is the clarity, range in colour and depth in contrast, that comes from High Dynamic Range 10+ (HDR10+) technology, one of the latest forms of video technology used to make what you see as true-to-life as possible. This is teamed with a display refresh rate of 120Hz.

The 50MP wide and ultrawide dual camera on the rear of the device surpasses the latest iPhone’s 12MP cameras, and can shoot 4K video. However, it does not match the Samsung S22 Ultra’s four-lense setup which includes a 108MP camera. For selfies, there is a 16MP lens.

Powering the device is the Snapdragon processor. What it lacks in speed it makes up for in a large 4,500mAh battery, that can last longer than a day on a single charge..

The handset comes with a decent 8GB or 12GB of RAM and 128GB or 256GB of storage.

These features allow Phone (1) to sit comfortably among the competition. However, added details such as the built-in studio lighting on the rear of the phone that doubles as a notification alert light, add to its appeal.

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20 June: Streaming Service Throws Down Gauntlet To Netflix, Amazon

Film studio Paramount is bringing its Paramount+ streaming service to the UK on 22 June 2022, joining the likes of Netflix and Amazon Prime in an increasingly competitive streaming market.

The service will include a catalogue of blockbusters including several Star Trek films, Pulp Fiction, the original Grease, Castaway and Mission Impossible: Fallout, as well as popular television series such as The First Lady and Mayor of Kingstown.

It will also stream original content including the highly anticipated Halo series, based on the popular video game of the same name, Star Trek: Discovery, Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, and a reboot of the bellowed sitcom, Frasier.

Another Paramount+ exclusive series expected to make a splash is The Offer — a fictionalised account of how producer Albert S Ruddy adapted The Godfather into the iconic film.

Access to the platform’s 8,000 hours of content will cost viewers £6.99 a month, or £69.90 a year — matching the price for a basic Netflix subscription. New users will also be offered a seven-day free trial period.

How to access Paramount+

As of 22 June, you can sign up to Paramount+ through your internet browser or by downloading the Paramount+ app. Subscribers can stream to three screens at a time on smartphone, tablet, smart TV, or browser.

Paramount+ has also made a distribution deal with Sky, meaning that Sky Cinema customers can access the service at no extra cost through their Sky Q, Sky Glass, or set-top box.

The streaming service has been available in the US since 2021 and will launch in Italy, France, Switzerland, Germany and Austria later in 2022.

8 June 2022: Universal USB-C Charger Rule In Place From 2024

Electronics manufacturers will be forced to ensure devices they sell in the EU can be charged using a USB-C charger from 2024.

The move, designed in-part to reduce the amount of electronic waste created by the electronics industry, will also affect Apple’s iPhone – which has used proprietary ‘Lightning’ charging cables for 10 years.

It’s understood that, following the UK’s departure from the European Union in 2020 and under the current trading arrangements, the USB-C mandate will apply to devices sold in Northern Ireland, but not in the other UK nations.

The rule change will have the biggest impact on the mobile phone industry, but will also affect manufacturers of tablets, mobile gaming systems and portable speakers.

It’s unclear whether manufacturers will redesign their products to incorporate USB-C charging ports, or simply use adapters to retro-fit them with USB-charging capability.

Newer models of Apple’s iPad Pro, Air and mini tablets already have USB-C charging ports, so it’s not unrealistic to think the smartphone giant will add USB-C charging to future models of its iPhone, regardless of the EU ruling.

USB-C was first announced in 2012 and began to be implemented in the mainstream in 2014/15.

The pill-shaped connector is reversible, meaning it will work regardless of the orientation with which it’s plugged in. USB-C is capable of transferring data and power simultaneously.

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7 June: Apple To Enter United States BNPL Market This Autumn

Apple is to allow users to buy goods and services on credit under a new ‘buy now, pay later’ (BNPL) service called Apple Pay Later.

Launching in the US this autumn, Apple Pay Later will let iPhone users split the cost of purchases into four installments over six weeks with any merchant that currently accepts contactless Apple Pay transactions.

There’s no interest on Apple Pay Later purchases and no fees charged for late payments. Apple Pay will run on the Mastercard payments network.

Users will be able to manage payments in the Wallet app and track deliveries as a result of Apple’s new partnership with ecommerce platform Shopify.

The move to take on other BNPL lenders such as Klarna and Affirm sees Apple move further into the financial services space after launching its own US-only credit card, the Apple Card, in 2019.

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It is not yet known whether Apple Pay Later or Apple Card will launch in the UK.

Last summer, Bloomberg reported that Apple was likely working with investment bank Goldman Sachs to cover the cost of purchases under an upcoming BNPL service.

The BNPL market, which is unregulated in the UK, has faced criticism in recent years, with claims its no-fee, no-interest model makes it too easy for consumers to get themselves into debt over purchases they can’t afford.

According to Statista data, Klarna – which is the most downloaded BNPL app in the UK – has almost 1,000,000 active monthly users in the UK.

Data from UK Finance, the body that represents the banking and finance industry, last summer showed that more than 17,000,000 adults had registered for mobile payments such as Apple Pay and Google Pay as of 2020, with 84% of those registered having used their mobiles to pay for a transaction.

Overspending risk

Commenting on Apple’s move, Sarah Coles, at financial advisor Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “Apple’s move into BNPL could fuel another boom in the market, putting more shoppers at risk of overspending.

“Since the start of the year, the phenomenal pace of growth of BNPL has slowed significantly, as people cut back on non-essential spending. However, if Apple chooses to expand its BNPL service into the UK, the arrival of a massive global lifestyle brand in the market could reignite our enthusiasm for borrowing.

“Already we know that people don’t tend to think of BNPL as borrowing – they consider it to be a budgeting solution. The arrival of a brand that’s far less associated with financial services risks reinforcing the misapprehension that BNPL isn’t a debt product, which could mean even more people are tempted to use it without really thinking it through.

“The fact it will be available through the same network as Apple Pay in the US means that, if it adopted the same approach in the UK, it would be available in an enormous number of retailers, both online and offline. BNPL companies have been gradually pushing into stores, and this would mean a step change in the process overnight. It means we may be tempted to use it for even more of our shopping.

“At a time of rising prices, there’s the risk that the arrival of Apple would mean more people using BNPL to make ends meet.Our research shows that already 11% of people have used it to buy essential clothes such as a winter coat, while more than one in 20 people have used it to buy groceries, and one in 10 have used it for other essentials.

“Borrowing to pay for essentials feels like a solution in the short term, but by spreading the cost, it means pushing up your expenses for months, making it even harder to keep on top of your finances. In the short term it feels like a solution, but in the end it just adds to the problem.”

Tech & Home Comms: Shell Tops Ofcom Telecoms Complaints League (2)

Apple Pay Later was one of a slew of iOS16 features unveiled at Apple’s developer conference WWDC2022 yesterday (Monday).

Other new features of Apple’s latest mobile operating system include the ability to edit text messages after they’re sent, and customisable, context-aware lock screens that can, for example, be set not to show work-related notifications at the weekend.

Apple Safety Check will help to protect people in abusive relationships by allowing users to review who has access to apps that reveal their location, and to revoke that access.

Read more: How To Buy Apple Stock

31 May: Free Mobile Data For Vulnerable Households

A hardship fund is to offer free mobile data to 255,000 households struggling with the cost of living crisis.

Mobile network operator Virgin Media O2 is working with bakery chain Greggs and its charity, the Greggs Foundation, to provide eligible households with free SIM cards and vouchers for 15GB worth of data.

The SIM cards will be distributed via schools in Scotland, the North East, South East and Midlands on a trial basis. The 15GB allowance is more than three times what an average mobile user consumes each month, according to regulator Ofcom.

The trial forms part of the National Databank scheme, which already has support from Vodafone and Three, and aims to tackle ‘data poverty’ in the UK.

Tracy Lynch of the Greggs Foundation said: “We understand many people struggle to make ends meet and when unexpected costs arise, many can suddenly find themselves in very difficult circumstances.

“With the Hardship Fund, we are able to offer a helping hand to people who need it most. By joining the National Databank we are now able to provide further essential support to those facing hardship.”

The news follows last week’s announcement from supermarket chain Iceland that it would offer special 10% discounts for customers over the age of 60 every Tuesday.

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23 May: Three Reinstates Overseas Roaming Charges

Mobile network Three has reintroduced roaming charges for certain customers using their mobile phones outside of the UK.

Three previously said its roaming charges would not return after Brexit, but announced a U-turn in September 2021. Three customers who upgraded or took out a new contract after October 2021 will be impacted, with older contracts unaffected.

From 23 May, making phone calls, sending an SMS, or using mobile data will incur a flat rate of £2 a day within the European Union (EU), rising to £5 per day for some non-European countries including the US, Australia, and New Zealand.

Roaming charges do not apply to the Republic of Ireland or the Isle of Man.

For almost five years, UK customers were able to use a Three SIM in EU countries without paying roaming charges, since EU regulations banned temporary roaming fees in 2017. However following Brexit, UK mobile networks are no longer beholden to the rule.

Three was the third UK network to reintroduce roaming charges. EE and Vodafone both re-introducing a £2 per day roaming charge for selected customers travelling to the EU, based on when they joined their network.

Currently, O2 is the only major UK network that will not be introducing traditional daily roaming charges when customers use their phone in EU countries.

Instead, the network says it is introducing a ‘fair usage’ policy, which charges customers £3.50 per GB of mobile data they use in Europe above the monthly limit of 25GB. Other than that, O2 mobile customers can use their phone in EU countries at no extra cost.

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18 May: O2 Mobile Scores Worst For Customer Service

Mobile and broadband customers waited longer on hold and were less satisfied with how providers handled their complaints in 2021, according to data from the UK telecoms regulator.

Ofcom’s latest research found that, despite relatively high customer satisfaction on the whole, subscribers were being kept waiting for longer to be dealt with. In fact, customers spent longer on hold than they did in 2019, before the pandemic.

O2 mobile phone customers were worst affected, with ‘call waiting’ times up by one minute and 42 seconds on 2020 levels to three minutes and 59 seconds. BT Mobile, EE, Vodafone and iD Mobile’s average waiting times were also longer.

At the other end of the scale, Three performed best. Its customers waited just 16 seconds on average to speak to an operative.

Tesco Mobile and Virgin Mobile managed to reduce their wait times from 2020 levels but only Sky and Three were able to beat their pre-pandemic performances.

In the broadband sector, KCom also kept customers waiting more than twice as long in 2021 than they did in 2020, at an average of eight minutes and 53 seconds, up from three minutes 19 seconds. NOW broadband performed best, keeping customers on hold for an average of just 31 seconds.

The Ofcom data shows that only half the broadband and mobile customers who complained were happy with the outcome, and most had to speak to their provider more than once to get a resolution.

Complaints handling

Virgin Media customers recorded below-average satisfaction across the mobile, broadband and landline sectors. Subscribers were also less likely to recommend any of its services than the average telecoms customer.

Tesco Mobile was the opposite, with higher than average customer satisfaction levels, the lowest number of complaints and the highest proportion of customers who were willing to recommend it.

Ofcom’s Ian Macrae said: “When things go wrong with your phone or broadband service, it’s incredibly frustrating if you have to wait on hold for ages to get it sorted, or if your complaint is handled badly.

“As we emerge from the pandemic, some companies need to up their game when it comes to resolving problems, especially at a time when prices are going up. It’s never been simpler to switch, so if you’re not happy with the service you’re getting, vote with your feet and look elsewhere.”

12 May: Google Unveils New Pixel Smartphones, Smartwatch And Android 13

Tech & Home Comms: Shell Tops Ofcom Telecoms Complaints League (3)

Google has announced a new iteration of its Pixel 6 smartphone, its first smartwatch, its next operating system and its next flagship smartphone, the Pixel 7.

The flurry of new product reveals at its IO developer conference yesterday marks a change in direction for the company’s Android division.

While Google currently produces its own Pixel devices, its Android operating system is used by devices produced by many other third-party manufacturers like Samsung.

With its newly-announced devices, however, the search giant has signalled a move towards creating its own ecosystem of products, in the same way as Apple.

Here’s a look at what’s new:

Pixel 6a

The Pixel 6a is a new mid-range smartphone priced at £399 and available from 28 July.

It’s smaller than Google’s flagship 6.4” Pixel 6 device, measuring 6.1”, but includes the same Tensor processor and Titan security chip as its larger sibling.

The handset comes with 128GB of storage and a choice of three colours: Sage, Chalk and Charcoal. Google has pledged to keep the 6a updated with its latest software for five years, which is longer than it typically does.

Android 13

Google also showed off the next generation of its Android operating system (OS), Android 13.

Due this summer, the free update for Android users will introduce new features, customisation options and privacy settings.

Elsewhere, the new OS will support different concurrent languages, allowing multilingual users to apply different languages to different apps.

Pixel Watch

The Pixel Watch (release date yet to be announced) pairs Google’s Wear OS for wearable devices with Fitbit health tracking, thanks to Google’s acquisition of Fitbit last year. The rival to the Apple Watch will work with many Android devices beyond the Pixel range.

Google didn’t share any specifics about the device beyond its name and images that show a circular watch face with crown-based controls and interchangeable straps – just like Apple’s smartwatch.

There was no release date given for the timepiece, but speculation says it’ll land around October this year, alongside the next flagship Google smartphone – the Pixel 7.

Pixel 7

The IO conference also teased the next generation Pixel devices – the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro. Details were scant, but we can expect aluminium and glass-wrapped handsets that use a new iteration of Google’s much-vaunted Tensor technology.

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Which mobile network is most complained-about by Ofcom? ›

BT Mobile, Virgin Mobile and O2 were the most complained-about mobile operators, with customers primarily complaining about how their complaints had been handled (BT Mobile, Virgin Mobile), their experience with faults, service and getting services connected (O2), as well as issues changing provider (BT Mobile).

What happens when you complain to Ofcom? ›

We assess each complaint carefully to see if our rules may have been broken. If we decide the complaint doesn't raise issues warranting further investigation, we'll close the complaint and publish a record of this in our Broadcast and On Demand Bulletin, which is published every fortnight.

Which broadband is Ofcom least complained-about? ›

Which provider has the fewest Ofcom broadband complaints? Provider EE had the fewest complaints about fixed broadband services, followed closely by Sky broadband complaints and then BT. In fact, EE had just three complaints per 100,000 customers, Sky had four and BT had seven.

Does Ofcom deal with BT complaints? ›

If your problem is with BT Basic or Kingston Communications' social access package, complain to your provider. If this does not resolve the problem, contact Ofcom's Consumer Contact Team on 0300 123 3333 or 020 7981 3040.

What's the worst phone carrier? ›

The 2023 U.S. Wireless Network Quality Performance Study — based on responses from 35,120 wireless customers nationwide — found that T-Mobile offered the worst (or tied for the worst) wireless network quality in all but one region.

What cell phone company has the most complaints? ›

In the quarter, the FCC received 1,494 complaints about AT&T Wireless; 529 about Verizon Wireless; 749 complaints about Cingular; 767 about Sprint PCS; 247 about Nextel; and 429 about T-Mobile. Other surveys bolster the FCC complaint data.

Where should I complain about my Internet service provider in USA? ›

Consumer Inquiries and Complaint Center

If you choose to file an informal complaint with the FCC about an Internet-related issue, we may share the information you provide, including your name and contact information, with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

What is the most reliable Internet service provider customer satisfaction? ›

2023's best ISPs for customer satisfaction are Google Fiber, Verizon Fios, and AT&T. All three ISPs have excellent fiber internet plans, no annual price increases, and stellar customer service. Among cable ISPs, Xfinity, Astound Broadband, Cox, and Spectrum led the pack for customer satisfaction.

What is the most reliable type of Internet service? ›

Fiber is truly the fastest, most reliable, and most high-tech internet around. Unlike internet connections like cable and DSL, it doesn't rely on older or potentially outdated communications infrastructure. Instead, it carries data over light signals through its own spiffy network of fiber-optic cabling.

What Programme has the most Ofcom complaints? ›

Let's start with the episode of Love Island, which occupies the top spot as the most complained-about programme of the year.

What show has the most Ofcom complaints? ›

Brass Eye mocking paedophilia – 3,000 complaints

The show was based around mocking and ridiculing celebs, and in this episode Gary Lineker and Richard Blackwood were among the celebrities who were duped into fronting a fake charity named Nonce Sense. Ofcom had around 3,000 complaints.

What does Ofcom actually do? ›

Ofcom is the regulator and competition authority for the UK communications industries. It regulates the TV and radio sectors, fixed line telecoms, mobiles, postal services, plus the airwaves over which wireless devices operate. Ofcom works with the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology.

Is Ofcom legal? ›

Some of the main areas Ofcom regulates are TV and radio standards, broadband and phones, video-sharing platforms online, the wireless spectrum and postal services.
Ofcom offices at Riverside House, Bankside, next to Southwark Bridge in London
Legal statusCreated by Office of Communications Act 2002
14 more rows

What is the maximum fine by Ofcom? ›

In the case of licences for the provision of electronic communications networks and services, the maximum penalty is £50,000 for contravention of Ofcom's information requirements, and up to 10 per cent of turnover of the licensee's relevant business for the relevant period for contravention of the conditions of the ...

What has Ofcom banned? ›

Ofcom has today suspended Khalsa Television Limited's licence (PDF, 279.9 KB) to broadcast after an investigation found the KTV channel in breach of broadcasting rules (PDF, 695.9 KB). The KTV television channel broadcasts to the Sikh community in the United Kingdom.

What is the poor network carrier in the US? ›

U.S. Cellular

U.S. Cellular had the lowest score of all the major wireless carriers on the ACSI list. Complaints from the company's customers include everything from poor customer service to hidden fees and penalties.

Which is worse ATT or Verizon? ›

Broadly speaking, Verizon offers better 4G LTE coverage, while AT&T currently has the edge when it comes to 5G (for the moment anyway). AT&T's prices are lower, and the company includes more high-speed cellular data with its unlimited plans. However, Verizon arguably offers better perks.

What is the #1 selling cell phone carrier in the US? ›

With an extensive national network, Verizon is the leading wireless provider. It receives top scores for network coverage, speed, and reliability. Verizon's plan and device flexibility, combined with excellent business features, makes it the clear winner in our best overall cell phone provider category.

Why is Verizon losing so many customers? ›

The largest U.S. wireless carrier said on Friday it lost 189,000 monthly bill-paying phone subscribers in its consumer business after it included additional charges in June, over and above its pricey plans.

What is the most trouble free cell phone? ›

3. Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra - 9.00 / 10
RankPhoneWater resistance rating (IP)
1Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra68
2Samsung Galaxy S20+68
3Samsung Galaxy Note20 Ultra68
4Google Pixel 568
6 more rows
Feb 20, 2023

What is the lowest rated cell phone customer service? ›

Sprint | What Company Has the Worst Customer Service

It was one of the largest wireless service providers in the US, competing with AT&T, Verizon Wireless, and T-Mobile US across the country. "Awful customer service," stated an unsatisfied user of Sprint named Joel Maass on

Do FCC complaints do anything? ›

By filing a consumer complaint with the FCC, you contribute to federal enforcement and consumer protection efforts on a national scale and help us identify trends and track the issues that matter most. The FCC does not resolve all individual complaints.

What are three of the six types of complaints you can make to the FCC? ›

If you want to file a consumer complaint about the issue you are experiencing, go to and choose from the six category buttons under File a Complaint (TV, phone, Internet, radio, emergency communications, access for people with disabilities).

How do you deal with bad Internet service? ›

Below, we explore common reasons why your internet might be slow and offer suggestions for fixing them.
  1. Assess your bandwidth. ...
  2. Check your speed. ...
  3. Reboot your router. ...
  4. Check your router's location. ...
  5. Consider a mesh network for multiple devices. ...
  6. Check your wiring. ...
  7. Find and unload internet hijackers. ...
  8. Switch to a less crowded channel.
Mar 11, 2023

What are the top companies with the worst customer service? ›

Comcast, the television provdider, was voted as the worst rated company for customer service in the United States in 2020, receiving the largest share of negative responses (44 percent). Second in the list came Well Fargo and DIRECTV, with 41 percent of respondents to the survey complaining about poor customer service.

What is the best ethical Internet provider? ›

Our advice: the most ethical broadband provider options

For the most ethical broadband provider options, Zen and Gigaclear currently perform the best in our research. Zen, the highest rated company, has a commitment to becoming Net Zero and places a strong emphasis on reducing its environmental impact.

Which router has the best customer service? ›

Asus (859) ranks highest in customer satisfaction with wireless routers. TP-Link (855) ranks second and ARRIS (853) ranks third.

Is fiber-optic better than WIFI? ›

Considering the difference in speed between both networks, fiber optic cables provide faster data transmission than wireless networks. While wireless networks can become slower during busy times, fiber optic connections remain strong, even during peak hours.

Who is Ofcom run by? ›

Ofcom has a Board with a Chair and both executive and non-executive members. The Executive runs the organisation and answers to the Board, while the work of both Board and Executive is informed by the contribution of a number of advisory bodies. The Ofcom Board provides strategic direction for Ofcom.

Does Ofcom still exist? ›

We provide advice and information to thousands of people each year, through our website and call centre.

What did Ofcom replace? ›

Ofcom was formally established on 29 December 2003. It replaced five organisations: Oftel, the ITC, the Radio Authority, the Radiocommunications Agency and the Broadcasting Standards Commission.

What is the highest number of complaints to the BBC? ›

The BBC received a record 110,000 complaints over its coverage of Prince Philip's death, according to the broadcaster's official figures. It is the highest number of complaints ever published in the UK about television programming.

What are the complaints about Love Island? ›

Love Island receives over 300 Ofcom complaints after viewers accuse villa of 'bullying' Ron Hall. O fcom has received over 300 complaints from viewers of Love Island who claimed contestant Ron Hall was being 'bullied' by others in the villa.

How do I complain to the BBC by phone? ›

BBC Customer Service Contacts
  1. BBC Email Support.
  2. BBC Live Chat Support. N/A.
  3. BBC Call Center Support. + 03700 100 222.
  4. BBC Knowledge Base.
  5. BBC Forum.

Are Ofcom complaints anonymous? ›

Confidential information and requests for anonymity

2.13 Unless a complainant asks Ofcom not to do so, we will usually disclose the complainant's identity to the business whose conduct is the subject of the complaint as well as sharing a non-confidential version of the complaint submission with it for comment.

What happens if you break Ofcom rules? ›

Ofcom may impose a sanction if we consider that a broadcaster has seriously, deliberately, repeatedly or recklessly breached one of our requirements. The Broadcast and On Demand Bulletin reports on investigations into potential breaches of Ofcom's codes and rules for TV, radio and video-on-demand programmes.

How much power does Ofcom have? ›

As well as setting codes of practice and giving guidance on compliance, Ofcom will have powers to demand information from tech companies on how they deal with harms and to take enforcement action if they fail to comply with their duties.

Who are the biggest UK mobile network customers? ›

EE. Part of the BT Group, EE was formed after combining previous mobile networks Orange and T-Mobile. It's the largest mobile network in the UK and provides coverage for over 99% of the country.

Does T-Mobile have a lot of complaints? ›

T-Mobile has a rating of 1.72 stars from 1,355 reviews, indicating that most customers are generally dissatisfied with their purchases. Reviewers complaining about T-Mobile most frequently mention customer service, new phone, and sim card problems. T-Mobile ranks 197th among Mobile Phones sites.

Which mobile network is most ethical? ›

Honest Mobile is a new entry which markets itself as the most sustainable network and claims to be carbon negative.

What is the most ethical phone service provider? ›

If you really need to buy an ethical phone brand new, Fairphone is your best option, as they are the only company to appear in the green section of our Ethical Mobile Phones Ratings Table. Additionally, Fairphone was the only brand to receive a top rating under Human Rights.

Who is the number 1 network provider in the UK? ›

EE: The best mobile network for performance

While Three offers faster 5G performance in some locations, EE remains the UK's fastest mobile network overall.

What is the biggest mobile network in the world? ›

RankCompanyTotal subscriptions (in millions)
1China: China Mobile Communications Corporation974.04 (September 2022)
2India: Bharti Airtel Limited496.91 (June 2022)
3India Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited426 (January 2023)
4China: China Telecom Corp., Ltd390.48 (OCtober 2022)
18 more rows

Has anyone sued T-Mobile? ›

T-Mobile's negligence was responsible for millions of customers' personal information being exposed in 2021, according to a class action suit. Dan is a writer on CNET's How-To team. His byline has appeared in The New York Times, Newsweek, NBC News, Architectural Digest and elsewhere.

What are T-Mobile's weaknesses? ›

Weaknesses. One of the major weaknesses that T-Mobile has is its limited spectrum. T-Mobile has grown fast in urban areas and has primarily focused on spectrum available there where as lower frequency bands that are crucial in rural areas due to its long range had less focus upon them (Tutela, 2018).

Is Verizon or T-Mobile better? ›

T-Mobile offers 5G coverage to 53% of the country, but their 4G LTE coverage is only 59% compared to Verizon's 70% coverage. Both providers have a 50GB data cap, with the exception of Verizon's unlimited plans.

Is LTE safer than private WiFi? ›

Why Is Cellular Data More Secure? Connecting to a cellular network is absolutely more safe than using WiFi. Most WiFi hotspots aren't secure because the data sent over the internet isn't encrypted. When you use a secured WiFi, you can encrypt your data, but it's still less reliable and automatic than cellular signal.

Who is the most reliable network provider? ›

The best phone carriers overall
  1. Verizon. The best phone carrier overall. ...
  2. T-Mobile. A good alternative to Verizon. ...
  3. Visible. A cheaper way to get unlimited data. ...
  4. Mint Mobile. Low rates if you pay upfront. ...
  5. AT&T. Some good plans if you know where to look. ...
  6. Metro by T-Mobile. A good discount phone carrier. ...
  7. Google Fi. ...
  8. Consumer Cellular.
Apr 3, 2023

What is the most dependable network? ›

Verizon has also received the highest number of awards in network quality for the 30th time as compared to all other brands in the J.D. Power 2003-2022 Volume 1 and 2 and 2023 Volume 1 U.S. Wireless Network Quality Performance Studies.

What is the safest cellular service? ›

The Purism Librem 5 is widely considered the gold standard of mobile phone security. It is built on the PureOS, which is an open-source, secure OS not based on either Android or iOS. One of the coolest features of the Librem 5 are the physical kill switches built into the phone.

What are the three biggest phone providers? ›

In the US there are three major networks: AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon. All three offer services directly and have robust nationwide networks that offer 4G LTE (fast) and 5G (really fast) data.

What companies have the best phone customer service? ›

Top 10 Companies Known For Great Customer Service
  • Apple.
  • Publix.
  • Zappos.
  • Ritz Carlton.
  • Amazon.
  • Disney.
  • Lexus.
  • Starbucks.
Mar 4, 2022


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