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Ofcom’s Q2 2021 Complaints Study Shames UK ISP TalkTalk

Tuesday, Nov 16th, 2021 (10:24 am) - Score 2,728
complaints ofcom report isp broadband tv phone mobile

Ofcom has published their latest Q2 2021 (calendar) consumer complaints study, which saw TalkTalk come top of the naughty table for gripes about their fixed line home broadband and phone services. Meanwhile, Virgin Media took the most flak for Mobile and Pay TV, although overall complaints were down.

As usual, this report only covers complaints that the regulator itself has received and not those sent directly to either an ISP, ISPA or one of the two ADR complaints handlers (i.e. Ombudsman Services or CISAS). Ofcom does not deal with individual complaints, but they do monitor them and can take action if enough people raise a concern.

NOTE: Ofcom received c.96,051 calls and items of correspondence directly from consumers in 2020/21.

Overall, the total volume of complaints for fixed broadband, landline, mobile and pay TV services fell during the quarter. The overall level of consumer satisfaction with communications services is listed as 77% for landline phone, 80% for broadband and 90% for mobile (based on data from 2020).

Otherwise, the results below reflect a proportion of residential subscribers (i.e. the total number of quarterly complaints per 100,000 customers per provider), which makes it easier to compare providers in a market where ISPs can vary significantly in size. But sadly, the study only covers feedback from the largest ISPs (i.e. those with a market share of at least 1.5%) due to limited data.

We should add that Ofcom also tracked just 13 complaints about BT’s provision of the 10Mbps+ broadband Universal Service Obligation (USO) during the quarter (down from 19 in Q1 2021), although the separate nature of this service and its early deployment phase means that they haven’t included this figure into their totals below.

Fixed Line Home Broadband Complaints

Budget ISP TalkTalk managed to attract the most complaints for fixed broadband services in Q2 2021 and they replaced Virgin Media in the position from the previous quarter. TalkTalk’s main complaint drivers were related to faults, service, and provisioning issues (30%); complaints handling (22%); and billing, pricing, and charges (20%).

Meanwhile, Sky Broadband and EE both continued to attract the fewest consumer gripes of all the included ISPs.


Fixed Line Phone Complaints

Much like broadband, above, TalkTalk also attracted the most complaints for landline phone services, with the main drivers for those gripes being related to complaints handling (24%); faults, service, and provisioning (24%); and billing, pricing, and charges (20%). By comparison, Sky Broadband and EE both continued to attract the fewest consumer complaints.


Mobile Complaints

Virgin Mobile were the most complained about of the Pay Monthly Mobile providers this quarter, which was driven by gripes related to complaints handling (27%); billing, pricing, and charges (24%); and faults, service, and provisioning (22%). By comparison, Tesco Mobile and BT Mobile both attracted the fewest complaints, although there isn’t a huge gap between mobile operators in this category.


Pay TV Complaints

Finally, Virgin Media continued to attract the most complaints for Pay TV services, with most of those being related to issues around complaints handling (35%); billing, pricing, and charges (28%); and faults, service, and provisioning (19%). By comparison, Sky TV was the only operator with a level of complaints that fell below the industry average (i.e. the fewest gripes of any operator).


Ofcom’s Consumer Complaints Report Q2 2021

UPDATE 11:22am

We’ve had some comments back from ISPs.

An EE Spokesperson said:

“Our customers already know we provide the best customer service across the industry, and these results reflect the hard work of our teams in UK and Ireland contact centres and retail stores providing the best personal and local service. EE customers also enjoy being part of the UK’s biggest and fastest network. With more 5G coverage than any other provider, EE has been named the UK’s best network for the past 8 years by RootMetrics.”

A BT Spokesperson said:

“BT is seeing fewer complaints than ever before and we’re dedicated to keeping our customers connected and providing great service with 100% of calls being answered in the UK and Ireland. We’re committed to helping our customers wherever they need us with our nationwide team of Home Tech Experts providing in-home support.”

A Virgin Media Spokesperson said:

“We’re pleased to see improving trends in complaint levels across the board but recognise that we still have more work to do.

We are continuing to invest in new customer service roles and digital tools and are reviewing our processes and policies to deliver the service and experience that our customers rightly expect from us.”

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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7 Responses
  1. Avatar photo ISteve W says:

    Seriously, nothing in the World would shame TalkTalk

  2. Avatar photo GRAHAM JONES says:

    Agree, have been waiting over s month for talktalk to sort out my internet,had three engineers,still not sorted,spend all day yesterday trying to talk to a human,not a chance,try to cancel,got nowhere, e-mailed them,got someone, net kept crashing,”give up”

  3. Avatar photo Mark says:

    Isn’t most Internet faults going to be Openreach and its network? Probably a lot of problems are caused by copper and FTTC.Talk Talk is only as good as the network is uses, obviously pricing etc is completely under their control.

    1. Avatar photo jason says:

      given that other providers have a larger base of customers and have faired better id say its down to talktalks budget infrastructure and customer service teams

    2. Avatar photo Zac says:

      Virgin do not use the Openreach network, so their poor results are due to their own poor network and service.

  4. Avatar photo DraintheCP says:

    I’d agree with Jason. Talk talk are still suffering from the Dido Harding days , whilst she’s gone on to cause carnage else where, they are left with her legacy.

  5. Avatar photo Maurice says:

    From January 2022, ITV will be updating their content protection technology which means new shows will no longer be available to watch on first generation YouView devices.

    You will still be able to watch older shows, but these will gradually start to disappear as they expire. Eventually ITV Hub will be removed from these devices.

    Affected devices:
    o Humax T1000 from BT or retail
    o Humax T1010 from retail
    o Huawei DN370T from Talk Talk

    ITV Hub will continue to work and be available on other YouView boxes and through YouView on Sony TVs.

    “Netgem TV” has:

    50,000 hours of On Demand TV from catchup services including
    BBC iPlayer,
    => ITV Hub,
    My5 and


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