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Ofcom will allow mobile network switching through a free text message in 2019

From 2019 people will be able to switch mobile networks through a simple and free text, avoiding the need to pay for two networks at once while the switch-over happens.

Telecoms regulator Ofcom will bring the reform to how we switch mobile networks in the next 18 months after it found that some 2.5 million people, 38 percent of mobile users, encountered difficulties when swapping network service providers.

One of the major problems was the need to speak directly to a current network provider in order to make the change.

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.

“Too many people are put off by the hassle of switching mobile provider. Our changes will make it quicker and easier for mobile phone users to get a better deal,” said Lindsey Fussell, Ofcom’s consumer group director.

“Customers will control how much contact they have with their current mobile provider, preventing companies from delaying and frustrating the switching process.”

This is all good news for the mobile users, but it will require network operators to change their systems and processes for ending their services with departing customers and force different network providers to work together.

New billing arrangements will be needed to prevent people from paying for two contracts at once and new short codes will need to be setup for people to text telecoms companies in order to instigate an automatic network switch over.

As such, the 18 month period before Ofcom’s new rules come into affect gives mobile network operators some time to get their systems and processes in order.
This could cost network providers a bit in the short-term but Ofcom reckons there’ll be long-term efficiency benefits for telecoms companies, which should mean consumer doesn’t end up footing the bill in the form of hiked-up contract prices.

Related: Best phone deals

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