Three is the UK's most complained about mobile network

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Virgin Media was the most complained about broadband, landline, and Pay TV provider during the first quarter of 2021 as complaints in all three markets hit a three-year high.

However, Ofcom’s figures show that mobile customers are largely satisfied with their mobile operator given relatively low numbers across the board.

The regulator publishes data every three months to help consumers make informed decisions and to encourage operators to improve their service and how they handle complaints.

Ofcom complaints

The latter ambition appears to have had the desired effect on Vodafone, which has lost its unwanted crown in the broadband and landline markets and also improved its performance in the mobile category. Meanwhile, Sky and EE also performed well across the board.

Virgin Media, however, had a quarter to forget. Between January and March, it received 33 complaints per 100,000 customers in the broadband market, more than the industry average of 19 and well above the 7 received by leaders EE and Sky.

EE and Sky both received just 5 landline complaints, ahead of the industry average of 11, while BT also came in below-average in both markets. In contrast, Virgin Media recorded 19. The average in the Pay-TV market was 6, with Sky continuing to lead that field with just 2 grievances per 100,000. Virgin Media received 17.

However, in the mobile segment, the industry average was just 3. Tesco Mobile continues to lead the way with just 1 complaint per 100,000 – the same as Sky and EE. O2 (2) and BT (3) also fared well, with Vodafone recording 4 complaints, iD Mobile 5 and Virgin Media also 5. Three received the most complaints with 6.

“These complaints figures are from the peak of the pandemic, which was a difficult time for everyone, including businesses,” said Fergal Farragher, Ofcom’s Consumer Protection Director.

“But some providers clearly struggled with customer service more than others, and we understand how frustrating that must have been for their customers at a time when they needed their communications services the most. We have been clear to providers that we expect performance to now return to at least the levels we saw before the pandemic hit – or even better.”


Steve McCaskill is TechRadar Pro's resident mobile industry expert, covering all aspects of the UK and global news, from operators to service providers and everything in between. He is a former editor of Silicon UK and journalist with over a decade's experience in the technology industry, writing about technology, in particular, telecoms, mobile and sports tech, sports, video games and media.