Published: Wed, December 20, 2017
Science | By Dan Gutierrez

Mobile users will be able to switch phone companies with one text

Mobile users will be able to switch phone companies with one text

"For more than a decade Three has been encouraging Ofcom to do more to ensure that consumers can easily switch mobile phone provider and get the best deal", said a Three spokesperson.

This, the regulator said, will put an end to people paying for old and new services at the same time, saving United Kingdom mobile customers around £10 million a year.

Around 70 per cent of people surveyed by the communications regulator said they had experienced some difficulty when attempting to change their network provider, while two in five (38 per cent) said they had experienced at least one major problem when switching.

Customers can request the number porting code by texting a free short number, with all providers to use the same number.

In addition, Ofcom says providers will also be banned from charging for notice periods that run after the switching date.

Consequently, Ofcom's new proposals are set to come into force by July 1 2019 at the latest. It first proposed the new rules in May this year, which appear to have changed little after consultation through the summer. They can also request the code through their online account with the mobile provider or by calling the provider.

This will put an end to people paying for old and new services at the same time, with the regulator claiming to be able to save consumers £10million a year.

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

The user can then simply provide the code to the new provider of their choice, which must arrange the switch with the old provider within one working day.

The new procedure doesn't invalidate obligations such as early termination charges, outstanding handset costs or pay-as-you-go credit balances, which must be included in the response text from the current operator.

Ofcom today announced a major reform with regard to the way people leave one mobile telecoms company and (optionally) begin with another.

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.

Give your code to your provider – You must do this within 30 days.

"Proper provision also needs to be made for customers on "bundled" packages, as well as those wanting to switch to forthcoming fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) broadband services".

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