The days of struggling to switch mobile providers could now be over. Ofcom has announced major changes to the process, meaning that customers will be able to switch between operators simply by sending a text message.
The regulator has addressed a problem faced by many phone users (nearly 40% of them) who say they have experienced a major difficulty and seven out of 10 have had at least one issue in switching providers.
The sweeping reforms introduced by Ofcom will enable customers to text their mobile providers to receive a code to change. They will no longer have to talk to the company as that, in the past, has led to pressure on the customer to stay with the provider.
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. Indeed, the customer’s provider will then have to give details about the current balance and what it will cost to close the account. These changes will benefit the customer considerably; Ofcom estimates that this will save about £10m per year.
This won’t all happen overnight: mobile providers will have to update their systems and there needs to be a degree of coordination between companies in order to make the text messaging facility work properly. There will also need to be alterations to the billing process.
Consequently, Ofcom’s new proposals are set to come into force by July 1 2019 at the latest.