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Cable.co.uk comments on Ofcom proposals to make switching mobile providers easier

  • Ofcom publishes new proposals for mobile provider switching process
  • Ofcom backs 'gaining provider-led' option currently used by broadband providers
  • 2.5 million people who changed provider in last 18 months said they experienced at least one major problem during the process

23 March 2016: This morning Ofcom released proposals to make it quicker and easier for consumers to change their mobile phone provider.

The regulator has outlined two alternative switching options but stated preference for the 'gaining provider-led' process. This would place responsibility for the switch, including the transfer of a customer’s mobile phone number, entirely in the hands of their new provider. The customer need only deal with the company they are switching to.

Last June, the broadband industry introduced a 'gaining provider-led' switching process for customers moving between providers who use the Openreach network.

The alternative switching process Ofcom is proposing would mean customers would no longer have to speak to their existing provider to request their 'PAC' - the code necessary to transfer their mobile telephone number. Instead, customers could ask to receive their PAC by text message, or online.

Ofcom will consult industry on these proposals between now and 1 June 2016 and will publish its final decision in Autumn 2016.

The full Ofcom report is available here

Commenting on Ofcom's findings, Dan Howdle, consumer telecoms expert at broadband comparison site Cable.co.uk, said:

"“Ofcom’s recommendation of the ‘gaining provider-led' system is the right way to go. It will mean customers only need contact the provider they intend to switch to, automating the process and putting an end to long-winded phone calls existing providers – to persons trained to prevent us from switching."

The gaining provider-led system was put in place for broadband customers last year, and we have noticed a significant drop in reported switching problems since that time.

’m elated that Ofcom is finally looking to expose the convoluted switching process for what it is – not merely a series of laborious administrative hoops, but a set of sticking points designed to actively dissuade us from switching provider.

Customers can save a lot of money by switching to the best new customer mobile deals. If Ofcom takes this action this coming autumn, UK consumers can look forward to shaving a significant amount from their annual outgoings, and with far less fuss.

According to Ofcom's latest research, 2.5 million people who changed provider in last 18 months said they experienced at least one major problem during the process. This included difficulties contacting their current provider (11%), cancelling their service (10%), or keeping their phone number (10%), while one in five mobile switchers (20%) temporarily lost service.

Notes to editors

If using our research and/or commentary we would deeply appreciate a link either to this page or to https://www.cable.co.uk


What is Cable?

Cable is a broadband, TV and phone comparator, unique news source and consumer champion.

Dan Howdle has been plugged into the attitudes of UK broadband, TV and mobile customers for over two decades, running research fieldwork both nationally and internationally on behalf of the biggest players in the industry. Dan is now consumer telecoms analyst at Cable, as well as more formally operating in the role of its Director of Communications and Content.

An experienced broadcaster, commentator and writer, Dan has appeared on BBC TV and radio, ITV, Sky and in the national papers. Dan has advised Ofcom on issues surrounding service quality, administered Cable’s Broadband Service Quality Awards and sat on the panel of judges for the Internet Service Providers Association annual awards.

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