Household consumers and small businesses are still not satisfied with the level of price competition for fixed and mobile phone services, according to a survey conducted by the Australian Communications Authority (ACA).
The ACA annual consumer satisfaction survey, which drew on a sample of more than 4,000 people, measured satisfaction across a range of areas, including customer service, fault restoration and connection, perception of costs of services and attitudes towards competitive aspects of key telecommunications services.
The survey showed that household consumers are more satisfied this year with mobile phone customer service, directory assistance services, and overall fault repair and service connection for fixed phone services.
However, their satisfaction decreased when it came to customer service and information provision for bundled services.
Among household consumers, the survey produced mixed results, with satisfaction increasing in some areas and falling in others.
Both household consumers and small businesses were increasingly dissatisfied with the level of price competition for fixed and mobile phone services and the information provided by telecommunications companies.
"A large number of consumers still find information about their fixed line and mobile services difficult to find and understand," acting ACA chairman Bob Horton said.
The results also revealed that small businesses were less satisfied with telecommunications services this year, particularly mobile and Internet services.
The majority of small businesses were not happy with the cost of fixed phone line rental and mobiles services and despite an increase in the number of small businesses using Internet services, satisfaction with all these services dropped in 2004.
"The Australian economy is largely driven by the small business sector," Horton said. "The telecommunications industry should therefore be concerned that the small business community feels its particular needs are not being adequately met."
"After all, small business is a significant purchaser of telecommunications products and services."
Horton said the ACA would be meeting with major industry players to brief them on the outcomes of the survey. However, Horton added, several of the areas in which low satisfaction was recorded in the survey are currently the subject of further work by industry regulators and forums.
The ACA released information tool kits to raise awareness of telecommunications services and help consumers make informed choices about the products they purchased.