Three virtual telcos and StarHub receive highest rates of customer complaints: IMDA

Virtual telcos do not build their own physical mobile networks but lease them wholesale from an existing telco. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Three virtual mobile telcos registered the highest number of customer complaints in August and September, followed by StarHub, according to an inaugural report released on Monday by the infocomm sector regulator.

The company with the highest number of complaints was Vivifi, which is known for its data-heavy mobile plans aimed at families. Vivifi recorded 19 and 23 complaints per 10,000 subscribers each month respectively.

It was followed by CMLink – known as China Mobile – which reported three and 16 complaints per 10,000 subscribers each month respectively. The virtual telco is known for providing deals with data sharing options across Singapore, China and Hong Kong.

RedONE, known for deals that bill users after usage each month, reported three complaints per 10,000 subscribers in each month.

Virtual telcos do not build their own physical mobile networks but lease them wholesale from an existing telco.

StarHub, which has more than 1.5 million subscribers, recorded 1.92 and 1.96 complaints per 10,000 subscribers for each month respectively.

It was the worst-performing of the four local mobile network operators (MNOs) with physical mobile networks. The other MNOs – Singtel, M1 and Simba (formerly TPG Mobile) – reported 1.06 complaints or fewer for the same time period.

The Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) published these findings after compiling consumer feedback provided by 11 telcos for August and September 2022. These telcos have at least 20,000 subscribers each.

IMDA said in a statement on Monday: “The objective is to provide consumers with information on telecom service providers’ performance in handling complaints, while encouraging (providers) to improve their customer service standards.”

The report was one of the measures announced in Parliament in March to strengthen consumer protection through disclosures of how telcos handle consumer complaints.

The telcos are required to disclose the number of complaints they received per 10,000 subscribers, how long it took to resolve complaints and the average waiting time on hotlines.

IMDA did not provide details on the nature of the complaints, which it defined as any expression of dissatisfaction that requires handling by the service provider.

Customers of Simba waited an average of 15 minutes for an officer to respond, the longest waiting times among all the telcos. This was followed by M1, which recorded waiting times of 4.3 minutes in August and 6.5 minutes in September.

The time taken for complaints to be resolved for Simba customers also varied. More than half of its customers had to wait at least 14 days while 42 per cent of them had their complaints resolved within five days.

Most MNO customers did not wait more than two weeks to have their complaints settled, while 96 per cent of StarHub customers had their matters sorted in five days.

IMDA’s report also compiled consumer feedback statistics for broadband services here by MyRepublic, M1, Singtel, StarHub and ViewQwest.

Among them, StarHub reported the highest number of complaints related to its broadband services, at 8.76 and 5.09 complaints per 10,000 subscribers in August and September respectively.

The other four providers recorded 0.7 complaint or fewer per 10,000 subscribers.

ViewQwest took the most time to resolve complaints, with 100 per cent of customers waiting more than two weeks for their broadband issues to be resolved. The majority of StarHub and Singtel’s customers had their matters settled within five days.

Most MyRepublic and M1 customers had their broadband issues resolved within two weeks.

M1 broadband customers also faced the longest average waiting time of 6.5 minutes in September before they were attended to by an officer.

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