Cancel your smartphone contract with just one text message, Ofcom proposes

Sending a text will be all in takes to switch mobile networks in 18 months time

Sending a text will be all in takes to switch mobile networks in 18 months time

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.

Dubbed "auto-switch", Ofcom's new rules distill most of the arduous process into a single code that does everything for you.

"While it's disappointing Ofcom did not go further, this is still an improvement that will make it easier for more customers to get a better deal", Neudegg stated.

The change is due to come in by July 2019, and Ofcom said it should mean fewer people are "put off by the hassle of switching mobile phone provider".

Around 2.5 million customers (38 per cent) say they experienced at least one major problem when trying to switch, while 70 per cent had some difficulty.

To kickstart the new switch, the customer has the option of sending a text message to a free number, going online or calling their provider to request a code.

But networks will be barred from charging users for a notice period, meaning users should no longer pay for old and new services at the same time. Under the new process, operators must provide customers immediately with a number porting code, port the number within one day and can not charge for any notice period.

For the system to work, all of the UK's mobile operators will need to make changes to their systems and co-ordinate with one another.

Ofcom said that would stop customers paying for old and new services at the same time, saving them around £10m collectively per year. Switching codes will be valid for 30 days after receipt.

"Our own research from earlier this year found that while one in five thought text-to-switch would make them more likely to switch provider, more than double would have been encouraged to change under a gaining-provider led process, the alternative system that Ofcom decided against".

There will be two text numbers available industry wide - one for those wanting a porting authorisation code (PAC), which enables users to keep their existing mobile number, and one for those who don't want a new phone number.

A Vodafone spokesperson responded: "We agree that it should be simple for customers to select the service which best suits them and we are examining Ofcom's announcement".

"Proper provision also needs to be made for customers on "bundled" packages, as well as those wanting to switch to forthcoming fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) broadband services".

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