Mobile phone service complaints to telecommunication

Mobile phone service providers are failing to provide adequate coverage and are selling consumers products they cannot use, according to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman. 

A report released on Wednesday shows the ombudsman’s office received 63,000 complaints about mobile phones from July 2020 to March 2022.

It details examples of people who became stuck without mobile phone service in an emergency.

“People go in with an idea of what they think they want and they’re being sold products they may not want, need or understand,” Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman Cynthia Gebert said.

Some people living in high-risk emergency areas told the ombudsman they had lost all communication lines during emergencies and struggled to have phone service restored. 

“During our community outreach events, 10 consumers living in rural areas told us there were extensive delays restoring their mobile service following a natural disaster,” the ombudsman’s report states.

“Some consumers said that even after these delays, their service was less reliable than before the disaster.”

The report shows use of phones has changed in the past decade.

People now use smartphones for banking, two-factor authentication, doctor’s appointments, directions and emergency warnings.

Ms Gebert said it meant reliable access to the network was more important than ever.

“It moves from a sense of helplessness which some people feel when they don’t have it on an everyday basis to a question of life and death when we’re in a natural disaster situation,” she said.

Cynthia Gebert wants companies to listen to what customers actually want and need.(Supplied)

Rural blackspots