Our members

TIO members looking at iPad 

By law, companies that provide telecommunications services to residential and small business consumers in Australia must be TIO members.

At 30 June 2015, 1,539 service providers were TIO members. During the year, 188 providers joined and 33 left the scheme. We referred 19 entities to the Australian Communications and Media Authority for not joining the TIO.   

Engaging industry 

Our Industry Engagement team gives service providers an access point to find out about our services and processes, and raise issues or concerns. We have regular contact with providers via phone, email and face-to-face meetings. 

Member Online Education 

We launched our Member Online Education program in February 2015 by rolling out our first module, Introduction to the TIO. The module contains general information about the TIO that will be helpful for new providers and staff at existing providers. 

Comments from providers who did the first module included: 

  • “Fantastic and a great overview of the TIO.”
  • “I would highly recommend this package to anyone that has a customer facing role within the business.” 
  • “This package is highly valuable to new telcos and existing members who may have understanding gaps.”
We are developing two more modules:
  • TIO Complaint Handling Procedures: how to understand and handle a TIO complaint from referral through investigation.
  • Best Practice Complaint Handling: practices and strategies to help providers deal with complaints.

Complaints in context 

The TIO and telecommunications industry peak body, Communications Alliance, jointly published three quarterly Complaints in Context reports. 

The new publication reported on TIO complaints as a proportion of services in operation for five of Australia’s largest telcos: amaysim, iiNet, Optus, Telstra and Vodafone.  

Providing a context for TIO complaints makes the performance of service providers and the telecommunications industry more transparent. It also addresses one of the key recommendations of a 2012 government review of the TIO.  

Provider forums 

The Ombudsman convened two discussion forums with small and mid-sized telcos in Melbourne in August and Sydney in November 2014. Representatives from 24 providers participated in discussions and offered feedback about the TIO’s services.

Telcos who attended provided feedback about a number of issues, including: 

  • the cost of TIO complaint handling fees in the context of declining industry complaints 
  • the benefits of the TIO’s conciliation process in promoting a better working relationship with the TIO, which helped reduce complaint numbers, and
  • wholesaler/reseller arrangements and complaint resolution. 

New reclassifications procedure 

A provider can ask the TIO to reclassify a complaint when it believes there has been a procedural or administrative error. In 2015, we changed the way we receive and process these requests. 

With this new approach, we centralised reclassification requests within one team to simplify the process for providers. We created a web form that allows providers to upload documents to support their request and improved the information on reclassifications on our website.