The regulator Ofcom is planning sweeping changes to the way customers switch mobile contracts, bringing in “text-to-switch” so people can easily change providers by text.
Under the plans, people could simply send a free text message to their provider, getting back a unique code to pass onto their new network, who will arrange the switch within one working day.
Headaches and delays
Ofcom research found that one major cause of frustration for switchers is having to call their current provider and getting passed on to pushy ‘retention departments’ who try to sell them a new deal before letting them go.
2.5 million people in the UK who tried to switch plans last year faced at least one major headache, say Ofcom. These include difficulties keeping their phone number, cancelling their service or long delays in getting through to their current provider.
We want people and businesses to benefit from simpler, speedier mobile switching, making it easier for them to vote with their feet and take advantage of choice in the market.
Our ‘text-to-switch’ plans would give greater control to mobile customers about when and how they switch, and prevent losing providers from delaying and frustrating the switching process.- Lindsey Fussell: Consumer Group Director, Ofcom
Now: How to keep your number when you switch to SIM Only
This are only proposals at the moment and Ofcom are expected to make a decision on the idea by the end of July 2017.
Until then, yo keep your number with a new SIM you will need to call your current provider and ask for a PAC or Porting Authorisation Code.
The PAC is a 9-digit number and you should receive it within two working days. Use the PAC when buying a new SIM Only contract, or afterwards by calling your new provider.
Your PAC will normally expire within 30 days, so don’t wait to long to pass it on to your new provider. You can’t use the number of a disconnected phone, so make sure to change numbers before you cancel your old contract.
Save £10m by binning charges
Ofcom also want to ban mobile networks from charging customers for old contracts once the switch has been made.
The move could save consumers £10m in charges every year.