SFR, bottom of customer satisfaction in telecom

Orange and Gratis score the best, but consumers remain highly critical of the quality of certain services, especially the fiber optic connection.

For the first time, the telecoms regulator (Arcep) publishes simultaneously the conclusions drawn from two indicators: the customer satisfaction observatory and the annual report of “I alert Arcep”. The first reflects the feelings of the users, the typology of the problems encountered… and the conclusions are not very flattering for the operators.

Averages are misleading. In general, customers are more satisfied with the service provided by the operators. Orange and Free are far ahead of SFR and Bouygues Telecom, both in fixed and mobile. SFR is also the only one of the four national operators whose overall mobile satisfaction score has not improved in the past year. †Some networks are much more prone to accidents than othersgets carried away Laure de la Raudière, president of Arcep. The authority has launched an investigation into SFR and XPFibre, which are deploying fiber on behalf of the operator.

Billing Difficulties

In detail, the conclusions are unflattering. For fixed internet, one in two people has experienced problems with their operator in the last 12 months, mainly due to poor quality of service or problems related to the fiber connection. †The pressure we put on operators won’t stop until we see improvementLaure de la Raudière insists. It points to network architecture problems, with areas where the installed network is already saturated, insufficient to meet residents’ demand.

With mobile, 30% of customers experienced problems, mainly related to billing. But consumers have little understanding of the operators’ customer services, while the latter are able to solve subscribers’ difficulties.

With these indicators, which are the result of consumer observations and critiques, the regulator hopes to help customers choose the telecom operator that best meets their expectations and offers the best quality of service in their region. The idea is to make available a choice criterion other than price: the quality of fixed and mobile services and customer relations with the feelings of users.

Free, champion of fiber connection alerts

The “I alert Arcep” service received 38,000 requests, an increase of 14% in one year. The first concern relates to the accessibility of the after-sales service – which would explain why customers make little use of it (41%). Next come reports about the development of networks (23%): fiber optics, the closure of ADSL, etc. are all irritating topics for subscribers. Reports related to fixed internet are almost eight times more numerous than for mobile, driven by dissatisfaction with the difficulties of connecting to fiber. All operators are concerned, Free is the operator that gave the most warnings, before SFR. The persistence of the problems over time further aggravates the situation of the subscribers most affected by these difficulties.

Arcep wants to use these indicators to adjust its regulations. Five themes are chosen, starting with the quality of the fiber optic network up to the subscriber. The case of existing customers disconnected so that a new one can access the network is well known. In Île-de-France and in the Rhône, in particular, the question of infrastructure quality arises, with poorly laid, broken fibres… so many very worrying poor workmanship for cables that are supposed to have a lifespan of several decades.

Arcep recalls, however, that not all operators offer their services everywhere and that they are entitled to it. So before choosing an operator, it is necessary to check that he is present at his address, which can be done through the Arcep site.

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