Ofcom wants UK telecoms to simplify switching options

Ofcom wants UK telecoms to speed up and simplify switching options to consumers.

The telecom regulator said mobile consumers currently face different processes for switching mobile service provider, depending on whether they wish to keep their existing mobile phone number.

Switching rates for mobile services have decreased from 9 percent to 6 percent between 2013 and 2014, according to Ofcom research. This can be due to a complex range of factors. These processes may cause confusion and increase the perception that switching is hard, meaning consumers may miss out on the best deals.

Last month, Ofcom made broadband switching simpler and smoother by introducing a ‘one touch’ process for millions of broadband customers of providers using the Openreach copper network – including BT, EE, Sky and TalkTalk.
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Ofcom floated a consultation paper to this effect. The closing date for responses to the consultation is 6 October 2015.

The telecom regulator is seeking views on mobile switching options including gaining provider led switching which places the responsibility for the switch in the hands of the company to which the customer is moving. With this, there is no need for the user to contact their current service provider to switch.

Ofcom is also considering simplifying the process for obtaining a code which allows a customer to keep their existing number.
Ofcom is also examining consumers’ experiences of switching triple play – landline, broadband and pay TV – services between providers using the Openreach, Virgin Media cable or Sky satellite networks.

Sharon White, Ofcom Chief Executive, said: “Consumers should be able to switch their mobile providers with minimum hassle to take advantage of the best deals on the market.”

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