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Switching mobile networks is easier than ever − so why are so few people doing it?

As of February 15, 2020, mobile operators have to tell you when your contract ends, and flag up their best deals to help you save money. That followed on from the introduction of text-to-switch last July, which made it possible to move from one network to another over a text message. However, perhaps surprisingly, a mass of mobile network-switching activity doesn’t look likely.

When analyst firm CCS Insight carried out a survey of mobile phone users in December, 20% of respondents based in the UK said they’d never switched mobile operators, 10% said the last time they switched was more than a decade ago, and 14% said they’d last switched between five and 10 years ago.

Just 18% of respondents said they’d switched in the last 12 months, despite an impressive 34% of respondents saying they were aware that the switching process can now be triggered with a simple text message.

So why do consumers seem so likely to stay put?

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A picture of a pie graph about CSS insight network switching

Image Credit: CCS Insight

“The main reason not to switch provider is good customer satisfaction. In the UK, nearly 70% of people who have not changed mobile operator for at least three years said they were happy with the service they received,” Kester Mann, CCS Insight’s director of consumer and connectivity, told Trusted Reviews.

“Inertia is another reason for staying put. In the UK, 10% of respondents said they had remained with their provider because they did not have the time to change or could not be bothered.

“Finally, the UK is of course a highly competitive market and some customers may not consider the benefit from switching to be sufficiently worthwhile.”

It’s likely that 5G will become the key battleground for mobile operators in 2020 and beyond. 15% of the people CCS Insight surveyed said that the next-gen technology could encourage them to upgrade their mobile phone sooner.

Aggressive pricing on 5G packages might just tempt more consumers into simultaneously upgrading and switching.

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“Ofcom’s recent announcement is the latest in a series of initiatives aimed at improving transparency and boosting quality of service for consumers. The most significant was the introduction of text-to-switch regulation last summer,” Mann continued.

“CCS Insight believes that these initiatives will lead to a small increase in post-paid churn in the UK, in both 2020 and 2021. Indeed, mobile operators already indicated a small impact on churn in the first two quarters after implementation.”

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