Mobile users set to switch with just a text

20 December, 2017, 01:35 | Author: Harriet Bell
  • Switch Mobile Providers

Mobile phone customers will soon be able to switch provider by sending a free text, under new rules announced today by the communications watchdog. "Our changes will make it quicker and easier for mobile phone users to get a better deal", said Lindsey Fussell, Ofcom's consumer group director.

"This will put an end to people paying for old and new services at the same time - saving United Kingdom mobile customers around £10m in total each year." .

The communications regulator said mobile networks have made it too hard for customers to switch contracts by forcing them to call up and attempting to persuade them to stay.

In turn, they will be sent switching codes to pass on to their new provider.

Under Ofcom's new rules, mobile providers will also be banned from charging for notice periods running after the switch date. This could cost network providers a bit in the short-term but Ofcom reckons there'll be long-term efficiency benefits for telecoms companies, which should mean consumer doesn't end up footing the bill in the form of hiked-up contract prices.

To give service providers a chance to update their systems to deal with these rules, Ofcom's deadline for compliance is 1 July 2019.

The sweeping reforms introduced by Ofcom will enable customers to text their mobile providers to receive a code to change.

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There will be two text numbers available industry wide - one for those wanting a porting authorisation code (PAC), which enables users to keep their existing mobile number, and one for those who don't want a new phone number.

If you have already scanned through the diagram above you will notice another welcome change; the end of paying for old and new services at the same time - AKA the notice period. The porting code will be valid for 30 days.

For the system to work, all of the UK's mobile operators will need to make changes to their systems and co-ordinate with one another.

At present, anyone who wishes to switch to a different mobile provider must contact their current supplier to tell them they are leaving.

A Vodafone spokesman said: 'We agree that it should be simple for customers to select the service which best suits them and we are examining Ofcom's announcement.

The existing provider will respond immediately with one of two codes depending on if the customer wants to keep your number of not.

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