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The Australian Communications Media Authority (ACMA) has revealed a decline in the number of complaints lodged towards telecommunication carriers, a whole year after introducing strict new complaint handling requirements, however, with a significant Australian telco omitted from the results, how much better has it really gotten?

Complaints about smartphones are always high because they are the most purchased piece of technology kit; however, confusion has emerged into the accuracy of data supplied by carriers to ACMA following its decision to omit Optus from its Telecommunications complaints handling 2018 to 2019 report.

In their latest report, the company claims they are now excluding data from carriers indicating they must improve the accuracy of the data they provide.

According to ACMA, failure to provide accurate data can reduce the validity of the information, impacting its ability to make informed, evidence-based decisions.

As a result of multiple amendments of Optus’ data submissions, and ‘ongoing data anomalies’ ACMA has used its powers to require Optus to obtain an external audit of its compliance.

Optus will only be included in future reports, once ACMA is confident of its accuracy.

For this reason, the following information may not be an entirely accurate interpretation of the Australian telecommunication industry.

ACMA released data showing 1.4 million complaints were received by telcos over the full 2018-19 financial year, revealing complaint levels over the year dropped from a high of 123 complaints per 10,000 services in Q2 to 97 complaints in Q4, with median resolution times dropping from six days to five.

Despite the good news, ACMA Chair Nerida O’Loughlin said: “that complaint levels are still too high.”

Complaints about broadband services delivered over the NBN averaged 193 per 10,000 services, compared to older fixed broadband networks which average 369 complaints.

Voice only services delivered over the NBN had the highest level of complaints with an average of 494 complaints per 10,000 services, resulting in ACMA requesting information for the root cause of the issue.

NBN satellite services recorded the least amount of complaints, averaging 54 complaints per 10,000 services.

Fibre to the curb service complaints dropped from 744 in the first quarter to 282 in the final quarter.

Ms O’Loughlin sees the maturity of the technology in question as an indicator of the complaint numbers.

Finally, referrals to the ombudsman fell to 5.4% from a peak of 10.9%, with total TIO complaints averaging 24,956 for the year.

Communications Alliance CEO, John Stanton said it was encouraging that the service provider resolved more than 94% of the complaints.

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