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Complaint statistics October-December 2015

17 February 2016

New complaints to the TIO in October-December 2015 were at their lowest level since July-September 2006. New complaints in the October-December 2015 quarter were 9.4 per cent lower than in July-September 2015, and 20.3 per cent lower than in October-December 2014.

Compared to the 2014 October-December quarter complaints about landline and mobile services were down, with notable reductions in complaints about mobile coverage and mobile excess data charges. Complaints about internet services increased by 11.6 per cent compared to the October-December quarter 2014.

23,572 new complaints  -9.4% from July-September 2015. -20.3% from October-December 2014 New complaints by service type: mobile 9,434; internet 7,639; land line 6,499 An issue with billing and payments was reported in 42.% per cent of all new complaints. Slow data speeds, unusable services and connection dropouts were the main internet faults. Mobile coverage issues were 52.3% less than at the same time last year.

TIO new complaints continue to decrease

We received 23,572 new complaints between October and December 2015, with 40 per cent about mobile services, 32.4 per cent about internet services and 27.6 per cent about landline services. Declines in complaints about landline and mobile services contributed to the decrease. Mobile new complaints dropped from 14,743 in October-December 2014 to 9,434 in October-December 2015, a reduction of 36 per cent.  

Landline new complaints decreased from 7,971 in October-December 2014 to 6,499, a reduction of 18.5 per cent year on year.

Internet new complaints reduced 9.6 per cent quarter on quarter, although the 7,639 internet new complaints reflected an increase of 11.6 per cent compared to October-December 2014.

Complaint issues across all service types

Billing and payments issues continued to be the most common problems reported by consumers, reported in 42.5 per cent of all new complaints we received in October-December 2015. Billing and payments complaints can include disputes about:

  • the total bill amount, for example, where the consumer is unable to understand or verify the charges on the bill
  • recurring service charges such as monthly plan fees, where the consumer has not received a fully usable service, and
  • termination fees when the consumer cancelled the service.  

Faults issues accounted for a larger proportion of complaints during October-December 2015. Faults issues were recorded in 7,829 new complaints or 33.2 per cent of all new complaints during the quarter.  

Internet service faults

Internet fault issues were the primary cause of the year on year increase in internet service new complaints. Internet fault issues include complaints about slow data speed, connection dropouts and unusable services. There were 1,662 slow data speed issues recorded during October-December 2015, 56.8 per cent higher than at the same time last year. Complaints to the TIO indicate that the causes of slow data speed can vary, including:

  • the distance from the consumer's house to the exchange
  • congestion during peak hours when more people try to connect to the internet, or
  • the nature of the consumer’s broadband plan.

Internet service drop outs were also higher than the same time last year.  Consumers reported 1,039 internet service drop outs during October-December 2015, 15.7 per cent more than October-December 2014 when 898 service drop out issues were reported.

Mobile coverage and excess data charges issues reduce further

A large reduction in mobile new complaints during October-December 2015 (8.8 per cent quarter on quarter) was driven by further falls in complaints about coverage and excess data charges.

The TIO received 738 mobile coverage complaints during October-December 2015, 52.3 per cent fewer than at the same time last year (1,547). Mobile coverage no longer features as one of the 10 most common causes of consumer complaints to the TIO.  

New complaints about mobile excess data charges decreased significantly reducing from 1,994 to 948 in October-December 2015. This represents a 52.5 per cent drop from the same period in 2014.     

NBN-related complaints

We record complaints as "NBN-related" when the consumer tells us that the service they are complaining about is, or will be, delivered over the national broadband network (NBN). We recorded 2,176 new NBN-related complaints in October-December 2015. This was a 40.1 per cent increase compared to the same period in 2014 but a reduction of 3.8 per cent from the previous quarter. The increase of 40.1 per cent in NBN-related new complaints to the TIO to the end of December 2015 was notably lower than the growth in the number of premises connected to the NBN over the same period (128.3 per cent), as seen in the most recent rollout report.

New complaints about delays in connecting NBN internet services increased by 23.5 per cent compared to the October-December quarter in 2014, also much lower than the growth in NBN connected premises during the same period (128.3 per cent).

Unusable NBN services

During the October-December 2015 quarter, NBN-related complaints about unusable services accounted for:

  • 15.2 per cent of unusable internet complaints, and
  • 24.3 per cent of unusable landline complaints.

Complaints to the TIO about unusable NBN services increased by 42.6 per cent for NBN internet services and 47.9 per cent for NBN landline services during October-December 2015 compared to the previous quarter. During the quarter, nbn advised that the number of activated premises grew by 123,619.

NBN-related issue

Jul-Sep 15

Oct-Dec 15


Unusable landline




Unusable internet




The majority of NBN-related complaints about unusable services related to service difficulties occurring either during migration to the NBN, or during the first few weeks of services being activated on the NBN. Some consumer complaints related to both unusable landline and unusable internet issues.

Some consumers who reported having lost access to their landline services complained that they were incurring higher charges for having to use their mobile phones. Consumers who were seeking financial compensation because of a temporarily unusable NBN service described a number of different scenarios, including:

  • their landline and/or internet services stopped working during the transition from the copper network to the NBN
  • their NBN service stopped working after several weeks and was resolved after their retail service provider sent them a new modem, or
  • their NBN service stopped working when a battery back-up pack was installed.

The TIO refers complaints about non-functioning NBN services back to the retail service provider (RSP) for resolution. Positively, around 90 per cent of complaints about unusable NBN services during October-December 2015 were resolved through referral to the RSP.

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