Belfast Telegraph

Virgin, BT and Tesco top Ofcom telecom service charts

Virgin Media, BT and Tesco Mobile have emerged as the winners from a new Ofcom comparison tool measuring customer service.

Virgin Media customers reported the highest levels of overall satisfaction with their broadband, at 91%, while BT customers were the happiest with their landline service (92%), and Tesco Mobile topped the table for mobile with 96%.

Ofcom also compared the performance of 19 popular broadband packages from seven providers.

It found the average UK broadband download speed reached 36.2Mbit/s in November, an increase of 7.3Mbit/s on the year before.

The average UK upload speed was 4.3Mbit/s in November, an increase of 0.6Mbit/s.

Virgin Media's "up to 200 Mbit/s" cable package achieved the fastest download speeds, averaging 173.1Mbit/s over a 24-hour period and 149.5Mbit/s during the 8pm-10pm peak period.

However Ofcom found the speeds offered by providers were not consistent throughout the day, and could fall significantly during busy periods.

It found that average download speeds were 34.6Mbit/s during the 8pm-10pm period, compared with average maximum speeds of 39.1Mbit/s, and although speeds for cable customers compared favourably with other superfast fibre packages overall, a significant minority of Virgin Media's customers suffered severe slowdowns at peak times.

Ofcom's new tool allows phone and broadband customers to compare how different providers rate for answering customer calls, handling complaints and service reliability.

The data is a combination of consumer research and complaint figures, as well as statistics obtained directly from providers that have never been published before.

Ofcom chief executive Sharon White said: "We're determined to help bring about a service revolution in the telecoms sector, where consistency and excellence become the norm, and customers always come first.

"Today we want to shine a light on how different providers perform, and are challenging the industry to up its game on customer service. We'll be monitoring closely to ensure industry service standards are raised."

The report found that overall 92% of mobile customers, 89% of landline customers and 87% of broadband customers were satisfied with their service.

However 13% of broadband customers had a reason to complain to their provider last year - significantly higher than the 5% of landline customers and 4% of mobile customers.