News & Insight

82% of SMEs happy with communications services

Max White

But, new report says getting through to customer services remains a big issue

In a brand new survey of 1,500 small and medium enterprises (SMEs), the stats suggest that, on the whole, they’re happy with the service they receive from the 'communications market'.

Industry watchdog Ofcom found that 82% of SMEs felt their business needs were well catered for, despite 67% of businesses running on copper-based ADSL lines, instead of fibre broadband.

Predictably, the commissioned report identified speed and reliability as the two key issues that smaller traders faced.

Here’s a summary of the report’s key findings:

Average spend

SMEs claim to spend, on average, £1,400 per year on communications services.

Those made up of one to four employees spend an average of £1,105 per year and larger ones of 50 to 249 employees spend £11,323 per year.

Services used

The most commonly used services were fixed landline (96%) and fixed internet (88%).

Business mobile phones were used by 64% of respondents.

Over half (53%) of those surveyed bought some or all their communications services in some sort of bundle, with BT supplying 52% of all bundles.

Levels of dissatisfaction

For internet and phone line services, ease of contacting customer service featured highly when asked what caused dissatisfaction with a service.

PSTN landline dissatisfaction responses: ease of contacting customer services (19%), clear and understandable contract terms (15%) and quality of customer service staff (14%).

Internet (including ADSL, fibre and mobile) dissatisfaction responses: connection speed (29%), ability to access the speed paid for (28%) and ease of contacting customer services (25%).


Looking at all the communications services together, 29% had switched at least one of their services to a new provider in the last two years.

The top ranking reasons for switching were: slow connection speed (45%), poor service reliability (41%), poor customer service (31%), current provider too expensive (29%) and cheaper deals elsewhere (25%).

Barriers to switching included difficulty in comparing network quality (68%), customer service (62%) and price (52%).