Revealed: Ofcom's best and worst mobile, broadband and landline providers

Oliver Gill
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Success is not always guaranteed if you want to get through to your telecoms provider, the Ofcom statistics reveal (Source: Getty)

It's happened to us all. Whether it's our mobile network, broadband or landline, almost every one of us has a tale of woe after dealing with our telecoms providers - and now regulator Ofcom has highlighted the worst of them.

Of course, the main players have all hit the headlines in recent months.

BT has been on the naughty step quite a bit in 2017. A few weeks ago telecoms regulator Ofcom handed down its largest ever fine to the firm, £42m, for failures in how it dealt with other internet firms.

Plusnet (owned by BT) was fined £880,000 by Ofcom for customer failings in March and EE (also BT-owned) was stung with a £2.7m fine in January. Vodafone (not owned by BT) was slapped with a £4.6m penalty for serious and sustained breaches last October.

But how are they doing against customer expectations? Ofcom has compiled its data into a nifty report that gives some insight as to how they're getting on.

Read more: Watchdog Ofcom slaps BT with largest fine in UK telecoms history


People are, strangely enough, pretty satisfied with what they get. Whether it's broadband, mobile or landlines, more than 80 per cent of customers reckon their providers are doing an okay job.


Virgin Media tops the rankings with 91 per cent of customers happy with what they're getting. Average satisfaction is 87 per cent. TalkTalk, which has cleaned up its act considerably, languishes in fourth place with 83 per cent satisfaction levels.


An average of 92 per cent of us are happy with the service we get. But it isn't one of the big players that tops the poll - instead, it's Tesco Mobile, pleasing 96 per cent of its customers. O2 is in last place with an 86 per cent approval rating.

Read more: Vodafone fined £4.6m for taking customers' money and service failings


BT leads the charge, with 92 per cent of its customers happy with the firm's landline service. Unlike the heady heights achieved with its broadband, Virgin Media falls back to third place with 85 per cent of its customers happy. TalkTalk is still in bottom place of the providers covered by Ofcom, with an 83 per cent approval rating compared with the sector average of 89 per cent

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Shut your eyes TalkTalk - yep, it's top of the pile (but it isn't good news) with 16 per cent of customers complaining about the firm's service. But the group isn't alone on the top step: it's joined by Virgin Media, strangely so, given its broadband customers are also the most satisfied.

Read more: BT says it's "drastically reduced" nuisance calls


Vodafone went on a charm offensive yesterday by ditching roaming fees across 40 countries. Nevertheless, seven per cent of its customers had a reason to complain. The others were tightly packed around the average of four per cent.

Tesco Mobile backed up its performance on the satisfaction rankings with only two per cent of customers feeling the need to moan.

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Read more: Vodafone to create 2,100 new UK jobs

How long do I have to wait?

Broadband and landline

Sitting on hold while irritating music whirls away in the background can drive us all bonkers. And the data indicates Plusnet customers have to wait on the phone for the longest, an average of 7mins 27secs.

That's a lot more than second place, Hull's Kcom (Londoners, don't worry about this firm, it can't help you). Its customers wait an average of 4mins 53secs.

People might well be doing a fair bit of complaining about TalkTalk, but the good news is you can get through to it the quickest – customers have to wait just 47secs on average to speak to someone.

The data also shows which firms' customers have the longest staying power.

Some 21 per cent of Plusnet's customers hang up before getting through, compared with four per cent at the likes of TalkTalk and EE.


It's pretty obvious from the charts that you don't have to wait nearly as long to get through to your mobile network as you do with fixed line.

O2 is the longest, with customers waiting an average of 2mins 3secs, eight per cent of whom will likely hang up before they can get through to someone.

Read more: Tesco Mobile is offering you cash back in exchange for looking at ads

Meanwhile, Tesco Mobile comes out top again: customers have to wait just 30 secs to get through.

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In conclusion

So Ofcom's gold stars go to...

Mobile - Tesco Mobile: top banana in nearly every way

Broadband - Virgin Media: very satisfied customers... but they're likely to complain

Landline - BT: they dominate the market and top the approval ratings

And those needing to pull their socks up...

Mobile - Vodafone: Less satisfied customers and most complaints. Simples.

Broadband - Plusnet: Seven and a half minutes to get through? This is almost double the next worst national provider (BT)

Landline - TalkTalk: Consumer champs will tell you they've come on leaps and bounds. But the stats say they're still bottom of the pile

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