‘Text to Switch’ rule will slash £325m from Brits’ phone bills

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Ofcom’s new switching rule will come into force on Monday (July 1)

An Ofcom enforced ruling which enables mobile customers to switch operators more easily could save up to £325m a year, according to uSwitch.com.

‘Text to switch’ will come into effect on Monday (July 1). By simply sending a text customers will not have to call up their provider and will be immediately sent their PAC codes, which is valid for 30 days.

Customers who want to keep their phone numbers simply text ‘PAC’ to 65072 which will prompt their operator to respond within minutes with the code and information on early termination charges or pay-as-you-go credit balances.

Those not looking to keep their numbers can text ‘STAC’ to 75075 to request a ‘service termination authorisation code’.

According to uSwitch research conducted on 2,002 adults between December 21 – 27, 2017, around 15 per cent of mobile users who are out of contract are paying £27.4 million more than they should every month – resulting in a total overspend of more than £325 million a year.

Ofcom gave operators 18 months to implement this reform, which becomes mandatory on July 1. The service can save up to £10m for UK customers by banning notice periods, which stops people paying for two contracts simultaneously.

uSwitch.com head of regulation Richard Neudegg said: “Text to Switch should make things far more simple. People who are out of contract, for example, overpay by an average of £8.17 a month due to their monthly payment still including a handset element, even though the handset has already been paid off. They are essentially paying again for something they already own.

“With end-of-contract notifications also set to arrive in early 2020, mobile users will now find it easier to change to the best deal for them, with Text to Switch making that process even simpler.”

The new ruling form Ofcom has been welcomed by prominent heads of telecoms. Three UK CEO Dave Dyson said: “We have campaigned for over a decade for a simpler and easier way for people to switch their mobile provider. I’m delighted that text-to-switch makes it easier and faster for everyone to get the best deal, helping people change to a new mobile provider with a few taps on their phone.”

GiffGaff CEO Ash Schofield welcomes the new rule: “We’re delighted that auto switch gives people more control.”

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