Ofcom slams ‘unacceptable’ network switching process

Ofcom chief executive Sharon White

The regulator has put forward new proposals to make network switching easier

Ofcom has slammed the UK mobile networks for making the process of switching providers difficult for customers.

The regulator released its Consumer Switching report today (March 23). It proposed plans to make swapping providers easier.

Ofcom chief executive Sharon White (pictured) said the number of difficulties customers face when making the change is ‘unacceptable.’ She said: “It is unacceptable for people to be missing out on better mobile deals because they fear the hassle of switching, or are put off having had a poor experience in the past.

“We want mobile customers to benefit from speedier, simpler switching, making it easier for them to vote with their feet and take advantage of choice in the market.”

Ofcom outlined two alternative options to ease the process. The first would place responsibility for the switch, including mobile number transfers, in the hands of the new provider. Customers would only have to speak with their new network.

PAC codes can also be requested via text message or online, rather than speaking to the existing provider on the phone. Other proposals include ensuring a customer’s old provider does not deactivate a SIM until their new provider has provided a replacement.

Around 2.5 million people who changed their network in the last 18 months experienced at least one major problem, claimed Ofcom. It added that 5.9 million customers have never considered switching to a new provider because they are concerned about how difficult the process would be.