Mobile Phones

Ofcom announces major reforms for mobile phone users in the UK

If you own a mobile phone with a contract you may have found it an ordeal if you decided you wanted to switch networks, some networks will do anything to retain you.

Ofcom released details of how many people have said they struggle to leave with over 2.5 million saying the experienced at least one major problem before switching.

We though recommend you to ring retention if you want a better deal, that is presuming you are ok with the network you are on, often we see people just upgrading without any thoughts about getting the phone you want with an unbeatable deal.

It really is worth haggling for, although with iPhones all the networks do not have much say in how much they charge, what they can do though is offer you more data or minutes to your plan.

Under Ofcom’s new rules, mobile providers will also be banned from charging for notice periods running after the switch date. This will put an end to people paying for old and new services at the same time – saving UK mobile customers around £10m in total each year.

Bringing in these reforms means mobile operators will need to make a number of changes to their systems, and require coordination between mobile companies. For example, industry will need to set up the new short codes for people to text, and the technology to send instant automated responses to switching requests, as well as new billing arrangements to end notice-period double payments.

There will be an 18-month implementation period before this comes into effect, meaning providers must comply by no later than  July 2019

Lindsey Fussell, Ofcom’s Consumer Group Director, said: “Too many people are put off by the hassle of switching mobile provider. Our changes will make it quicker and easier for mobile phone users to get a better deal.

“Customers will control how much contact they have with their current mobile provider, preventing companies from delaying and frustrating the switching process.”

Soon, you can request a unique switching code, either by text or online, to pass on to your new provider – who must then arrange for the switch to complete within one working day.

You will text one of two memorable short codes, depending on whether or not you wish to keep your existing mobile telephone number and all mobile providers will have to use the same short codes.

Your existing provider must immediately respond by text – with either a ‘porting authorisation code’ (PAC) if you wish to keep their phone number, or a cancellation code if you want a new number. For businesses, they will get this code within two working days.

Because this will be quick and easy, customers could request their code while looking for a new deal – for example, while on the phone to a new provider, or in store.

The provider’s reply must also include important information about any early termination charges, outstanding handset costs, or pay-as-you-go credit balances.

The unique switching code will be valid for 30 days. You will be able to pass the code on to your new provider when you place an order for the new service, without the need for any further conversation.

Providers will also have to publish and promote clear guidance to help customers follow the new process and make informed switching decisions.

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Categories: Mobile Phones

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