Brits miss out on £5.8 billion in mobile savings annually


Research finds 69 per cent of mobile users haven’t switched networks in the last three years

UK adults are losing £5.8 billion every year for not switching mobile network providers.

This is according to consumer comparison specialist uSwitch who surveyed 2,011 UK adults between February 10-14 this year.

Consumers could save as much as £176 a year by switching networks. However the research found 25 per cent of mobile users have never switched providers, a figure that rises to 33 percent among the over 55s. As a whole 69 per cent of mobile users have not switched networks in the past three years.

Results also revealed 48 per cent of mobile users don’t know know what a Porting Authorisation Code (PAC) is. The code is required to port your mobile number to a new network provider, 90 per cent of users know porting an old number is possible, but 30 per cent don’t know how to – a figure rising to 39 percent among the over 55s.

Only 502 participants (25 per cent) have switched networks in the past two years. Of this figure 34 per cent did so to save money, 25 per cent cited better network perks and 18 per cent left due to poor network connections.

41 per cent said they’d be more likely to switch if the network gaining their custom handled the switching process. A practice already adopted by broadband providers. However another 41 per cent said simplification of the process would not encourage them to switch. Only 18 per cent said they would switch if the process was more simple.

Major problems

Ofcom announced in March 2016 plans to overhaul mobile switching having conducted in-depth research into the difficulties customers face when changing provider. According to the regulator 38 per cent of the 2.5 million people who switched providers in 2015 experienced at least one major problem during the process.

Carphone Warehouse backs Ofcom’s proposal having consulted the regulator on the matter. The retailer said in a statement: “the complexity of switching networks is still a barrier,” and new providers should be prepared to take ownership of a switch.

Carphone Warehouse commercial marketing director Steve Bell said: “We’ve got a great relationship with all our network partners and we are more than open to working with them to help improve the current process as we strongly believe it could be better for consumers. In December we saved our customers an average of £152 when they switched with us”. telecoms expert Ernest Doku added: “As it stands, the responsibility falls to the customer to contact their current provider to request their PAC – and more than likely having to run the retentions gauntlet.

“The news that Ofcom is looking to finesse this process can’t come soon enough. Of the two options, the numbers clearly suggest that consumers favour changing the switching process so the gaining network drives it. That should make providers work that little bit harder to win and proactively keep your business.”