Mobile complaints drop as new tools and rules take effect

The number of official complaints about mobile phones fell by 21 per cent in the past financial year with significant improvements in key problem areas including coverage and excess data charges, the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman’s (TIO) Annual Report 2014-15 says.

The decrease in complaints follows telco investment in infrastructure and monitoring tools for consumers required by the industry’s Telecommunications Consumer Protections Code.

“Improved coverage through telco investment in mobile towers, and usage and spending alerts that help consumers control data and phone usage have contributed to this improvement,” Acting Ombudsman Diane Carmody said.

While the number of mobile phone complaints fell, there had been slight increases in landline and internet complaints, the report found.

“The landline issues that we’re most closely watching are connection delays and faults, which have been rising for three years,” Ms Carmody said.

The number of NBN-related complaints increased by almost 70 per cent, highlighting a communication breakdown between retailers, the wholesaler, NBN and consumers.

Consumers made more than 124,000 complaints about mobile, internet and landline services last financial year. While this dropped 10.5 per cent on the previous year, Ms Carmody said there was still room for improvement in the telecommunications industry.

“More than 124,000 is a huge number of complaints and shows the telecommunications industry has a long way to go,” she said.

Although the numbers are high, 2014-15 was the fourth consecutive year of decreasing complaints to the Ombudsman, the TIO reported.

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