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Cable.co.uk comments on Ofcom plans to improve mobile switching

  • Ofcom have announced their plans to make it easier for consumers to switch mobile phone providers
  • New proposals suggest consumers will be able to take advantage of competition of mobile phone deals available.

28 July 2015: Ofcom is consulting on options to make switching mobile phone provider easier for consumers, it announced today.

Consumers currently face different processes for switching mobile provider, depending on whether they wish to keep their existing mobile phone number. If they do want to keep it, they're responsible for obtaining a PAC code and passing this on to their new provider.

Ofcom is now proposing a simple process whereby the provider the consumer is moving to would be entirely responsible for the switch.

Commenting on the announcement, telecoms expert and Cable.co.uk editor-in-chief Dan Howdle said:

"Switching mobile provider is a relatively convoluted and sticky process compared to other telecom and utility services. As things stand, customers have to call their existing provider and obtain a PAC (Porting Authorisation Code), which will allow them to take their number with them to their new provider.

"Since switching currently involves contact with the provider they're leaving, customers often face a barrage of questions from providers trying to find an ‘in’ with which to change their mind. Even those most determined to switch sometimes don’t make it through the gauntlet and out of the door as intended.

"Ofcom's institution of a system similar to the one it implemented for switching broadband provider (where the customer only need contact the provider he or she is switching to) would significantly reduce this friction.

"Frictionless switching will even the odds among UK mobile providers, creating a better, fairer marketplace and allowing customers to take advantage of the best deals. That, in turn, will shift the focus of special offers and limited deals from being primarily aimed at new customers to being equally shared among those who remain loyal.

“Such a ruling on switching would turn the entire industry on its head and I, for one, heartily approve."

The consultation document is available here: http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/consultations/mobile-switching/

Notes to editors

  • The closing date for responses is 6 october 2015.
  • Today’s announcement is part of Ofcom’s wider plans to make it easier to switch between communications services.
  • Last month, Ofcom introduced a ‘one touch’ process for broadband customers of providers using the Openreach copper network – including BT, EE, Sky and TalkTalk.
  • If using our research and/or commentary we would deeply appreciate a link either to this page or to https://www.cable.co.uk

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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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