Switch your United Kingdom mobile network with a text message from 2019

Switch your United Kingdom mobile network with a text message from 2019

United Kingdom regulator Ofcom has confirmed a new "easy switch" method for mobile customers to port their number to a new provider.

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.

Ofcom recognised that the reforms will require mobile operators to make a number of changes to their systems, and require co-ordination between mobile companies.

Around 2.5 million people experience a major problem while trying to switch mobile providers, with seven in ten encountering "at least some" difficulty, Ofcom said.

One of the biggest hurdles in changing provider is having to speak to the current provider, and facing unwanted attempts to persuade the customer to stay, Ofcom said.

"So there will be an 18-month implementation period before this comes into effect, meaning providers must comply by no later than 1 July 2019".

Under the new plans they will be forced to instantly provide a so-called PAC code to those who want to keep their phone number or a cancellation code to those who do not.

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

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

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"Our own research from earlier this year found that while one in five thought text-to-switch would make them more likely to switch provider, more than double would have been encouraged to change under a gaining-provider led process, the alternative system that Ofcom decided against", stated uSwitch head of regulation Richard Neudegg. It first proposed the new rules in May this year, which appear to have changed little after consultation through the summer. Companies desperately want to keep you, so if they believe they will lose you, you can often get much better deals. The PAC is valid for 30 days, and must be given to the new network to complete the switch.

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

A Vodafone spokesman said: '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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