United Kingdom regulator Ofcom has confirmed a new "easy switch" method for mobile customers to port their number to a new provider.
Switching your network carrier can be an absolute nightmare what with all the different deals, new customer bonuses, and contractual small print to consider - and that's before all of the "please stay with us" phone calls you have to grit your teeth through when calling your current carrier.
"Too many people are put off by the hassle of switching mobile provider. While it's disappointing Ofcom did not go further, this is still an improvement that will make it easier for more customers to get a better deal".
Communications regulator Ofcom has introduced new rules to help speed-up the process of switching from one mobile provider to another.
In its background research Ofcom found that 38 per cent of mobile switchers (2.5 million people) experienced at least one major difficulty in changing mobile service provider.
The industry will need to set up the new short codes for people to text and be able to send instant automated responses to switching requests, as well as new billing arrangements to end notice-period double payments.
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Under the changes, operators will no longer be able to charge for notice periods running after the switch date, so customers will no longer have to pay bills from two companies.
Ofcom said the changes would come into effect in 18 months and make it quicker and easier for individuals and businesses to leave their mobile company. The provider must supply the code immediately, as well as info on any outstanding charges, prepaid balance or termination charges.
The customer can then pass this on to their new provider, who must arrange for the switch to be completed within one working day. Think of it as a Porting Authorization Code (PAC code), but for your entire account.
From 1 July 2019 you'll be able to request a code via text to give to a new provider, and be switched within one working day regardless of whether you have a contract or pay-as-you-go phone.
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. Each switchover code will be valid for 30 days, and networks will need to publish clear instructions on how everything works.