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Helping customers get fair treatment and fair prices

09/01/2020

Helping customers get fair treatment and fair prices Add to Your Pages

09 January 2020

New scorecards help customers compare phone and broadband firms

Research reveals UK mobile customers pay less than those in the US and major European countries

Ofcom's Fairness for Customers programme to continue to tackle unfair practices

Phone and broadband customers can easily compare which providers offer the best service and value for money, thanks to new performance scorecards published today.

As part of a new initiative from the UK Regulators Network (UKRN), regulators in telecoms, water, energy and banking have partnered to compare how customers rate the biggest companies who provide services people rely on every day.

Broadband, landline and mobile customers can use this customer service checker to easily see which providers perform best for customer satisfaction, complaints and value for money.

Overall, most people are happy with the service they get, with satisfaction in the mobile, broadband and landline markets at 93%, 86% and 83% respectively.

Lindsey Fussell, Ofcom's Consumer Group Director, said: When you're shopping around for a phone or broadband provider, there are lots of different things to think about from price to the quality of service you're likely to get. These scorecards help you easily compare how different providers perform, so you can choose the right service for you.

New pricing researchThe scorecards are published alongside Ofcom's annual Pricing Trends report providing analysis of what UK customers paid for broadband, phone and pay-TV services in 2019. The main findings include:

The price of mobile services continues to fall. Mobile customers in the UK pay less than those in France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the US, with the cost of average mobile call, text and data use now 13 per month - 2 lower than in 2018. Cheaper deals are becoming more popular, with 38% of all mobile customers now on SIM-only, up from 34% the previous year. The cost of mobile tariffs with higher data allowances has also fallen, while mobile data use has risen sharply showing our mobile phones are becoming cheaper to use for the things that matter to us the most.

Switching to save. Some customers are still paying more than they need to. For example, around three quarters (73%) of mobile customers who have passed their initial deal could pay less by switching to a SIM-only deal - saving an average of 11 per month. While out-of-contract broadband customers can save 8-10 per month by taking up a new deal. In the last year, we have seen more people move to faster broadband deals, with take-up of superfast broadband increasing by a fifth. Switching among pay-monthly mobile customers has increased by a third.

People buying bundles pay lower prices. 80% of UK households buy more than one communications service from the same provider, in line with last year. Those that bundle two or more services pay less than those who buy their broadband, phone and TV services separately. In general, the more services that are bundled together, the more people save.

Putting fairness firstOfcom's Fairness for Customers programme includes a range of initiatives to help ensure customers are treated fairly and can find the best deals for them. Today we have published an update on action from the programme over the last year:

Fairer prices for broadband and mobile customers. Following our reviews of both broadband and mobile pricing, we secured commitments from providers to reduce the prices out-of-contract customers pay.

New end of contract alerts. From next month, broadband, phone and TV customers must be told when their initial contract is coming to an end, and shown the best deals available.

Protecting vulnerable customers. We've proposed new guidelines to help make sure companies improve how they identify and support vulnerable customers.

Simpler switching. People can now change their mobile provider by sending a simple text. We've also proposed new rules to make it easier to switch broadband networks; and unveiled plans to make switching easier by banning mobile handsets locked' to a network.

Challenging firms to put fairness first. We welcome the UK's biggest broadband, phone and pay-TV companies committing to put fairness at the heart of their business, by signing up to Ofcom's Fairness for Customers commitments.

Clear, honest information for broadband shoppers. Broadband shoppers can now get better information before they commit to a contract, including speed guarantees.

END

NOTES TO EDITORS

The UKRN scorecards also include data from the Consumer Council for Water, FCA, Ofgem and Ofwat.

The scorecards allow people to compare providers by overall satisfaction, complaints to Ofcom per 100,000 subscribers and a Net Promoter Score. Mobile operators are also given a satisfaction score for value of money.

The Net Promoter Score measures the willingness of customers to recommend a company's products or services to others, on scale of -100 to 100.

The overall average performance score relates only to the providers included in the analysis (those with at least 4% market share). Data for companies which did not meet the inclusion criterion is not included.

Average price comparison with other European countries relates to dual-play and triple-play services.

Out-of-contract pay-monthly mobile customers includes those with bundled contracts, split contracts and SIM-only contracts with a minimum term of 12 months or more.

Connected Nations 2019 data shows take-up of superfast broadband increased from 45% in 2018, to 54% in 2019. Mobile switching among pay monthly customers increased from 10% to 12% in the year up to September 2019.

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