Mobile phone users can now switch network with just one text

Consumers are now able to switch their mobile phone provider simply by sending a text message – avoiding the cumbersome process which had been in place previously.

The new rules from the regulator Ofcom apply from Monday and are aimed at making it quicker and easier to leave one provider and start with another.

The move comes after many consumers find switching difficult, as it requires requesting a PAC code from their provider.

According to Ofcom, many people become frustrated when their provider attempts to make them stay. Almost half of those who chose not to switch said the process was too time-consuming, while a slightly lower number were put off by having to contact multiple providers.

Under the new “text-to-switch” process, consumers text PAC to a number, after which the code is sent back. The code is valid for 30 days. The response from the provider will also need to include details of early termination charges or pay-as-you-go credit balances. The consumer can them pass the number on to their new provider. The service is switched within one working day.

“The new process is designed to be quick and easy, so customers could request their code while looking for a new deal – for example, while on the phone to a new provider, or in store,” says Ofcom.

Consumers have also sometimes encountered difficulties in paying both their old and their new provider at the same time when switching.

Ofcom has now banned mobile providers from charging for notice periods running after the switch date. Ofcom estimates this will result in savings to the consumer of £10m a year.

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The move comes as part of a push by the regulator to make life easier for people dealing with their communications. Under the new rules, providers will have to publish clear guidance to help customers follow the new process, as a result making better switching decisions.



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