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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

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What is Cable.co.uk?

Cable.co.uk 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. Having spent 12 years at the coalface of consumer telecoms research, initiating and running projects both nationally and internationally on behalf of the biggest players in the industry. Dan is now Director of Communications and in-house consumer telecoms expert for Cable.co.uk.

An experienced broadcaster, commentator and writer who frequently appears on BBC TV and radio, ITV, Sky and in the national papers and their websites, Dan leads a team of journalists and communications folk who spend their days researching and reporting on problems faced by UK broadband, TV and mobile customers both on an individual and macro level.

Dan campaigns on many issues currently facing consumers of broadband, TV and mobile products in the UK. These include, but are not limited to: Rural broadband provision; mobile coverage; broadband, TV and mobile customer contract issues; broadband and mobile broadband speeds; switching and money-saving; infrastructural challenges; pricing, changes and structures; shifts in technology and the marketplace; telecoms regulation, policy and law; fines, adjudications and policy changes; mergers and closures of UK providers; annual financials and more.

Dan has advised Ofcom on issues surrounding service quality. He also administers and adjudicates the yearly Broadband Service Quality Awards and sits on the panel of judges for the Internet Service Providers Association annual awards.

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