Optus keeps mantle as most complained about telco

Optus now has twice the complaint ratio of the once-loathed Vodafone, while complaints for the entire industry are down 5.6 percent year-on-year.

Optus has racked up 12 months of being the Australian telco with the highest complaints ratio to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) per 10,000 services, posting a 7.9 complaint ratio for the first quarter of the year, compared to 6.4 from Telstra, and 3.7 by Vodafone.

For the same quarter last year, Vodafone had 8.6 complaints per 10,000 services, Optus came in at 7.3, and Telstra had a 6.9 complaint ratio.

Overall, the TIO handed 31,297 complaints between January and March this year, which represented a 5.6 percent fall from Q1 2015. Quarter-on-quarter, the TIO saw complaints jump by almost a third, a large increase on the 12 percent QoQ bump from last year. The first quarter of the year is typically the busiest quarter for the TIO.

Broken down by service type, complaints about internet services rose by 2,245 to 10,985, landline complaints were slightly down to 9,248, and mobile services received around 4,000 fewer complaints than this time last year, to come in at 11,064 complaints.

The TIO said that Telstra's series of network outages earlier this year did not have "significant impact" on the number of complaints.

For landlines, the TIO said the rollout of the National Broadband Network (NBN) did impact complaint numbers, with 40 percent of all connection delay issues received to do with the NBN. Of the four Australian postcodes with the most complaints, those that had internet connection delay as the top issue were all in fibre-to-the-node rollout areas.

NBN suffered a higher percentage of complaints to do with internet connection issues, sitting at 905, or 43 percent of all internet-related complaints, along with 383 reports of unusable internet on NBN connections.

"These complaints have increased at a time when the network wholesaler, NBN, advises the scale of the deployment has been rapidly increasing," the TIO said.

The Communications Alliance said it was inevitable that complaints about the NBN would rise, while it welcomed the overall reduction in complaints.

"The fact that the ratio of complaints about mobile services has fallen by 48 percent in four years, while the overall number of mobile services has grown by 8.5 percent during the same period highlights the sustained efforts of service providers to improve the customer experience," Communications Alliance CEO John Stanton said.