Issue No 24: 22 September 2021



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Telco Complaints Down Three Years in a Row

Communications Alliance welcomes the news that telecommunications complaints have declined for the third consecutive year, including during the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, as announced in today’s Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman’s (TIO) Annual Report.

Complaints decreased 6.1% in the year ending 30 June 2021, and are down nearly 30% from their peak in 2017/2018. The decrease was seen across all service types: mobile, internet and landline.

It is the lowest number of complaints the TIO has received in 5 years (since the year ending 30 June 2016).

The complaint numbers have decreased during a time when Australians have increased their use and reliance on telecommunications services (for example, total downloads increased 60% from June 2019 to December 2020).1

Real prices for telecommunications services have continued to fall, with consistently increasing value, such as a 16.7% decrease in the annual feature-adjusted price to December 2020.2

Communications Alliance CEO John Stanton said “Telecommunications providers have been working hard to roll out new and improved networks, deliver more data and speed to consumers while keeping prices low, and improve their customer service – all while managing pandemic impacts and an ever-growing regulatory burden. This report shows the results of that work, with the lowest number of complaints to the Ombudsman in 5 years.”

“Although COVID-19 presented many challenges for telcos and customers, there have been recent substantial improvements in the contactability of telcos, and Industry will continue working to make sure its customers can easily get in touch.”

“While we are pleased with the lower number of complaints, we agree there is a need for a continued strong focus on improving the experience for small businesses, especially as connection is more vital than ever. Although complaint rates from small businesses were high at the beginning of the year, quarter four saw the lowest number of complaints from small businesses during the past three years. We see this as an indication of better things to come, with Industry continuing to work to better understand how it can support small businesses.”

Complaints rates have also decreased across the year, showing a positive trend. Communications Alliance’s Complaints in Context report has shown decreasing rates of complaints every quarter this year for participants.

1 Internet Activity Report (December 2020).pdf (accc.gov.au), p1
2 Communications Market Report 2018-19 - December 2019_D07.pdf (accc.gov.au), p2 and ACCC Communications Market Report 2019-20 December 2020, p1

Communications Alliance Supports Guidance on Supporting Customers in Vulnerable Circumstances

Communications Alliance has made a submission to the ACMA’s consultation on its Consumer Vulnerability Draft Statement of Expectations, supporting its intentions but calling for the ACMA to clearly set out the regulatory role of the Statement and offer further guidance on the balance between privacy, equitable access and consumer protection.

Current Consultations

Below is a list of currently open telecommunications-related consultations being conducted by Government and other organisations that provide an opportunity for you to have your say.

Communications Alliance members interested in contributing to an industry submission (if one is being developed in response to a specific consultation) should contact us.

ConsultationOrganisationClosing Date
Statutory review of Criminal Code Amendment (Sharing of Abhorrent Violent Material) Act 2019Parliamentary Joint Committee on Law Enforcement15/10/2021
Basic Online Safety Expectations Draft Determination
Regional Telecommunications ReviewRTIRC30/09/2021
Planning for wireless broadband use of urban areas in the 3400–3475 MHz bandACMA30/09/2021
3.4-3.0 GHz remote allocation

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