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New complaints to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) in October-December 2015 were at the lowest level since July-September 2006, according to TIO statistics released today.

The TIO received 23,572 new complaints in the quarter, down 9.4 per cent compared to the previous period, and 20.3 per cent fewer than the same time in 2014.

New landline and mobile complaints dropped compared to the previous quarter and the same time last year. A large reduction in new mobile complaints (36% year on year) was driven by further falls in complaints about coverage and excess data charges, with mobile coverage no longer featuring as one of the 10 most common causes of consumer complaints to the TIO.

Internet service complaints increased 11.6 per cent year-on-year.

“I welcome the continuing drop in mobile and landline complaints, but internet service providers need to be on alert about internet fault complaints,” said Acting Ombudsman Diane Carmody.

Slow data speed continues to be the primary driver of internet fault complaints to the TIO, with 1,662 issues reported during October to December 2015. This represents a 56.8 per cent increase compared to the October-December 2014 period.

Other fault-related problems such as drop outs also contributed to the year on year increase in internet service complaints. Consumers reported 1,039 drop out issues, 15.7 per cent more than at the same time in 2014.

The TIO also recorded 2,176 new NBN-related landline and internet complaints in October-December 2015. This was 3.8 per cent fewer than in the previous quarter, but 40.1 per cent higher than at the same time in 2014. The 40.1 per increase in complaints was much lower than the increase in connected premises over the same period (128.3 per cent).

One emerging issue during the quarter related to growth in complaints about unusable NBN services. In October-December 2015, we received 210 reports of unusable NBN landlines and 184 reports of unusable NBN internet services, an increase of 47.9 and 42.6 per cent respectively compared to the previous quarter. Some consumer complaints related to both unusable landline and unusable internet services.

“The majority of complaints about unusable NBN services happened during the first few weeks of consumers transferring their services from copper to the NBN and 90 per cent were resolved after the TIO referred them back to the telco” Ms Carmody said.