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Telco complaints ‘turning the corner’: TIO

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While complaints to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) were up marginally for the year, they began dropping in the final quarter including across the National Broadband Network (NBN), the 2018 annual report has revealed.

Complaints increased by 6.2 percent year on year, but dropped by 17.8 percent quarter on quarter in Q4.

“I am pleased to report that the number of complaints about telecommunications services in Australia appear to be turning the corner, with complaints trending down in the latter part of the year,” Ombudsman Judi Jones said on Wednesday.

The decrease in complaints follows government action after NBN complaints previously tripled, Jones added, pointing to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC)’s speed monitoring reports and repercussions for retailers not delivering on their speed promises, with Telstra, Optus, TPG, iiNet, Internode, Dodo, iPrimus, and Commander all having been forced to compensate tens of thousands of customers.

The TIO also attributed the complaints drop to Communications Minister Mitch Fifield’s roundtable with NBN and retailers; the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA)’s new migration rules; NBN’s wholesale pricing changes; and the TIO’s own complaints-handling changes.

“I have consistently said the increase in complaints to my office over the last two years has not solely been driven by the rollout of the National Broadband Network,” Jones added.

“Complaints had increased in all service types, and it is pleasing to see complaints have started to decline across the board. Our new Responsive Complaints Service (commencing on 1 July 2018) is more flexible, is designed to get to the heart of each complaint more quickly, and focuses on resolution.”

For the year to June 30, the TIO received 167,831 complaints in total, with 146,958 from consumers and 20,433 from small business.

Mobile phone services made up 51,328 complaints; multiple services accounted for 49,875 complaints; internet services caused 46,703 complaints; landline phone services 18,736 complaints; and property 1,189 complaints.

For complaint types, customer service made up the most complaints, at 40 percent overall, followed by payment for a service at 36 percent; service delivery at 31 percent; establishing a service at 20.5 percent; and property at 1 percent.

Of all complaints about service quality, 47 percent were about services being delivered over the NBN, at 27,008 complaints; and of all connection and changing provider complaints, 58 percent were about NBN services, at 14,589.

However, these both dropped during the second half of the financial year despite more premises being activated, the TIO said.

Connection or changing provider complaints numbered 8,711 in July to December 2017, or 9.2 per thousand premises added to the NBN, and numbered 5,878 or nine per thousand premises added to the NBN for January to June 2018.

Service quality complaints dropped from 14,000 or 4.1 per thousand premises on the network from July to December 2017 down to 13,008 or 3.2 per thousand premises on the network from January to June 2018.

MyRepublic saw the steepest rise in complaints, up 102 percent from last year to 1,816 complaints to the Ombudsman during FY18. It was followed by Optus including Virgin Mobile, which saw complaints jump by 35 percent to 40,665; and Telstra, up by 7.7 percent during the year for a total of 82,528 complaints.

Southern Phone experienced the biggest decrease in complaints, down 28 percent to 1,484, followed by iiNet, which was down 24 percent to 7,719; TPG, down 11 percent to 6,248; Vodafone Australia, down 8.7 percent to 9,752; M2 Commander, down 8.2 percent to 1,565; and Dodo, down 5.7 percent to 3,120 complaints to the Ombudsman during FY18.

Primus remained relatively stagnant, up 0.1 percent to 1,918 complaints for the financial year.

Across the states, New South Wales clocked the most complaints, up 5 percent from last year to 52,989 complaints; Victoria was up 9 percent to 47,620 complaints; Queensland was up 13 percent to 32,820 complaints; Western Australia was up 11 percent to 15,075 complaints; South Australia was up 1 percent to 12,667 complaints; Tasmania was up 0.7 percent to 2,986 complaints; the Australian Capital Territory was down 5.6 percent to 2,466 complaints; and the Northern Territory was down 0.1 percent to 1,042 complaints.

Overall, the TIO commenced 17,236 conciliations during the year, with 88 percent of online complaints processed the same day; 52 possible systemic issues notified to providers; and 30 systemic matters resulting in the retailer agreeing to or making changes to their systems and processes.

While acknowledging the slight improvement in Q4, the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) said it is “frustrated” with the TIO complaints increase.

“Although the last quarter has shown improvement, this is the third year in a row that the complaint numbers have climbed,” ACCAN CEO Teresa Corbin said.

“It is time to draw a line in the sand — consumers deserve better from their telco providers.”

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Galaxy Z Fold 4 Under-Display Camera May Get A Stealthy Makeover

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According to a tweet from the account @SamsungRydah, which was first spied by SamMobile and has since been removed by Twitter based on a copyright claim (seemingly lending credibility to the leak), the Galaxy Z Fold 4 will rectify the poor invisibility of the UDC. The model will reportedly use a different arrangement of pixels to make it denser, providing a 132ppi circle, up from the Galaxy Z Fold 3 model’s measly 94ppi. The result is that the hole will hopefully be less visible, and text should be less distorted in that area. Unfortunately, it’s not completely invisible, at least not based on the leaked slide.

What isn’t clear, however, is whether Samsung is also upgrading the camera sensor itself to something more than just 4MP. Increasing the sensor’s own pixel count could help offset whatever side effects the UDC panel might have in terms of quality. While the Galaxy Z Fold 3 foldable’s internal camera was moderately usable for video calls, it just didn’t sit well with buyers considering how much they’d paid for the premium phone.

An upgraded internal camera would be in line with upgrades to the other cameras expected for the Galaxy Z Fold 4. These include a 50MP main sensor and a 10MP telephoto with 3x optical zoom. These are moderate upgrades, of course, but Samsung seems to be taking a page from Apple’s book here by improving quality through software and other minor tweaks rather than going all out on what would be a bulky sensor that wouldn’t fit the Galaxy Z Fold 4 model’s slim profile.

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Today’s Wordle Answer #416 – August 9, 2022 Solution And Hints

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The answer to today’s Wordle puzzle (#416 – August 9, 2022) is patty. Its meaning varies across cultural contexts — to the British, it’s a small pie or pastry; to North Americans, it’s a small, round, and flat chocolate-covered peppermint sweet. More generally to Americans, it’s a small flat cake of minced or finely chopped food, especially meat (via Merriam-Webster). To Mr. Krabs of SpongeBob, it’s a veggie burger (and a moneymaker). Seeing as the word patty has roots in the French word “pat,e” which means dough, Mr. Krabs obviously knew what he was doing. 

We solved the puzzle in four tries today, just like yesterday and the day before. We began guessing with the word roate, which is an uncommon but excellent first guess (even the WordleBot thought so). After following up with fluid, we hit a lucky strike with catty — only one letter short of the correct answer.

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The Reason Ford Won’t Build A Mustang GT500 Convertible

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Ford won’t be making a convertible Mustang GT500 because… it’s too powerful.

Hau Thai-Tang, Ford’s chief product platform, and operations officer confirmed the S550 platform on which the Mustang was built had reached “the top end of the capabilities” (via Muscle Cars & Trucks).

Dave Pericack, former Director Enterprise Product Line Management — Ford Icons, backs up those comments even more bluntly. “The real reason” Ford isn’t making a convertible model is because, by removing the roof, the car would lose all its structure and stiffness in the chassis and body. The power of the GT500 is simply too much for a convertible car to handle.

The only way it could make a convertible model would be to “spend a lot of money in exotic material” to compensate for the loss of the roof and the structural integrity it provides (via Ford Authority). Ford is not prepared to do that, considering the S550 platform is nearing the end of its road. The S650 platform — the seventh generation of Ford Mustangs — is on its way and will, in all likelihood, be the last Mustang with an internal combustion engine.

Fear not Ford faithful. The Blue Oval is already looking to the future and has already built a 900hp electric Mustang to show the world that an EV can also be a muscle car.

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