Mobile phones: Send a text to end your contract

20 December, 2017, 01:36 | Author: Carmen Reese
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Mobile users will be able switch phone companies by just sending a free text from 2019.

Ofcom's consumer group director Lindsey Fussell said: 'Too many people are put off by the hassle of switching mobile provider.

Mobile providers will also be banned from charging for the remainder of your contract notice period after you've switched, putting an end to paying for your old and new contract at the same time, which Ofcom says will save United Kingdom mobile customers about £10 million each 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.

Mobile operators will have to set up "short codes" enabling people to text for free switching and provide immediate automated responses.

In addition, Ofcom says providers will also be banned from charging for notice periods that run after the switching date. This could cost network providers a bit in the short-term but Ofcom reckons there'll be long-term efficiency benefits for telecoms companies, which should mean consumer doesn't end up footing the bill in the form of hiked-up contract prices.

Operators will have 18 months to implement the changes, by 01 July 2019. Think of it as a Porting Authorization Code (PAC code), but for your entire account.

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It says that one of the biggest hurdles in the process is phoning your network to request a porting authorisation code (PAC), the code you need to give to your new phone provider so you can keep your number.

At present, anyone who wishes to switch to a different mobile provider must contact their current supplier to tell them they are leaving.

The sweeping changes will no doubt delight buyers, but Ofcom is fully aware that the new rules will put a lot of pressure on the current systems operators have in place.

Even better, once the code has been processed your old contract will terminate immediately, effectively ending any confusion or additional charges that might arise from the usual 30-day notice periods.

Ofcom believes that this will save British customers £10 million per year.

A Vodafone spokesperson responded: "We agree that it should be simple for customers to select the service which best suits them and we are examining Ofcom's announcement".

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