Ofcom wants to make it easier for phone customers to switch mobile networks.
Currently users who wish to switch and keep their number must obtain a PAC (Porting Authorisation Code) from their existing provider, then give it to their new network. Ofcom says this makes it “unnecessarily hard” to switch to a better deal. The regulator says that just six per cent of customers switched mobile operator in 2014, down from nine per cent in 2013. Under Ofcom’s proposed update the customer would need to make just one phone call, to tell the new network they want to switch.
This company would then take over the burden of switching by contacting the existing network and moving the customer’s account. At no point would the customer need to speak to their existing network. The regulator has begun a consultation with networks and the public to see how changes can be implemented. You can give your opinion on Ofcom’s website. It will follow this up with a consumer survey in 2016 that will aim to find out what difficulties people have experienced when switching.
Ofcom claims that making it easier to switch will promote competition between networks, driving down prices. It said: “If switching is easy, providers face strong incentives to provide good-value, high-quality services. They may also compete to offer innovative services with the aim of winning customers from competitors”. The plans were announced a month after Ofcom made it easier for customers to switch broadband provider.