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Switching phone providers gets easier with text-to-switch rule

20 December 2017

Mobile phone customers will be ale to ditch an old provider by sending a free text message in future, under sweeping regulator reforms.

The simple text messaging system looks to alleviate this pain and bypass the need to bounce between various departments of a telecoms provider when swapping networks.

Lindsey Fussell, Ofcom's consumer group director, says: "Too many people are put off by the hassle of switching mobile provider.

This will put an end to people paying for old and new services at the same time - saving United Kingdom mobile customers around £10m in total each year." .

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.

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The short response time for consumers means they should be able to receive the code they need while looking for a new deal, for instance on the phone with a supplier or in a retail outlet.

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.

The communications regulator said that the changes will come into effect in 18 months and will make it quicker and easier for people and businesses to leave their mobile company. The new rules will save consumers around £10m annually, Ofcom suggested.

Here's how it works: You request a code online, by text, or by calling your provider.

It wants to make it quicker and easier for customers unhappy with their current company to switch to a new firm. As a result of the changes, Ofcom says it will be saving United Kingdom consumers around £10 million each year due to the ban on notice periods.

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The provider's reply must also include important information about any early termination charges, outstanding handset costs, or pay-as-you-go credit balances.

Currently, users have to call service providers to cancel their contract outright, or request their PAC code if they want to keep their number.

The new system will require networks to start coordinating with the competition a bit better, and change their existing infrastructure to accommodate it.

Even better, once the code has been processed your old contract will terminate immediately, effectively ending any confusion or additional charges that might arise from the usual 30-day notice periods.

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Switching phone providers gets easier with text-to-switch rule