With just a simple text message, mobile users will be able to switch networks from 1 July, under new Ofcom rules.
At the moment, anyone that wants to switch mobile operator and keep their phone number has to call their current provider to request a ‘porting authorisation code’ (PAC).
However, many people calling can end up becoming frustrated as the mobile company attempts to make them stay.
The new process is designed to be quick and easy, so customers could request their code while looking for a new deal.
When switching customers have to avoid paying their old and new mobile companies at the same time.
Ofcom is also banning mobile providers from charging for notice periods running after the switch date, potentially saving customers £10 million each year.
Research from the regulator shows that nearly a third (31%) of mobile switchers find it difficult to cancel their previous service.
Of the people who consider switching but then choose not to, 45% decide switching would be too time consuming, while 39% are put off by the hassle of needing to contact more than one provider.
Lindsey Fussell, Ofcom’s consumer group director, says: “Breaking up with your mobile provider has never been easier thanks to Ofcom’s new rules. You won’t need to have that awkward chat with your current provider to take advantage of the great deals available.”
How to switch
If you want to switch and keep your existing phone number, just text ‘PAC’ to 65075 to begin the process.
Your existing provider will respond by text within a minute. They will be sent their switching code (PAC), which will be valid for 30 days.
The provider’s reply must also include important information about any early termination charges or pay-as-you-go credit balances.
You then give the code to your new provider, and this company must arrange for the switch to complete within one working day.
While most people want to keep their mobile number when they switch, around one in six do not.
To get a new number text ‘STAC’ to 75075 to request a ‘service termination authorisation code’. The rest of the process is the same as above. This takes away the hassle of having to talk to your current provider if you simply want to leave them.
If you are not sure whether they are still ‘in contract’, and would have to pay any early termination charges, text ‘INFO’ to 85075 to find this out without requesting a switching code.
What to do when the provider, instead of sending a number, says they can't verify my account and directs me to a website which tells me to call them instead?