Three finishes bottom of Ofcom customer service report

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Research cites reception concerns by customers but operator said improving network coverage will be difficult without access to liberalised 2G spectrum  

Three has finished bottom of new research by Ofcom measuring the highest and lowest rated communications providers for customer service.

Thousands of customers were interviewed in September and asked to rate their customer service experience if they had contacted their provider in the previous three months. It follows on from research carried out in February 2011 and October 2009.

Sixty per cent of customers said they were satisfied with the service they received from Three, with 19 per cent dissatisfied.

Three said it would be a challenge to increase its nationwide network coverage until the next spectrum auction and the release of lower frequency spectrum.

A spokesman said: “We have invested heavily and greatly improved our network coverage, and will continue to make further improvements, but without access to liberalised 2G spectrum to support indoor and rural coverage, increasing our current 97 per cent  population footprint is challenging until the next spectrum auction and the release of lower frequency spectrum.

“We appreciate Ofcom’s focus on addressing spectrum allocation at the forthcoming spectrum auction, which is scheduled for the second half of 2012. In the meantime improving customer service remains a focus for us at Three, and we are pleased to see Ofcom notes the improvements we have already made in responding to billing and general enquiries.”

O2, Orange and T-Mobile all finished with customer satisfaction scores of 72 per cent, while 10 per cent of customers for O2 and Orange said they were dissatisfied with the service they had received. T-Mobile scored a dissatisfaction rating of 12 per cent.

An Orange spokesperson said: “The two of us (Orange and T-Mobile) have been sharing networks since last year, allowing our customers to talk and text in more places than ever before, and we are now rolling out 3G signal sharing to our joint base of nearly 28 million customers.

“We are committed to offering the best customer service experience we can and we feel the findings of this report reflect the steps taken to achieve this. Rest assured we will only continue to strive for even higher satisfaction levels in the near future.”

Sixty-six per cent of the Vodafone customers surveyed said they had been satisfied, while 14 per cent said they weren’t. Vodafone was followed by Virgin Media, which scored 62 per cent for satisfaction and 16 per cent for dissatisfaction.

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