Home
 » ISP News » 
Sponsored

Ofcom to Make UK Mobile Network Operator Switching Even Easier

Tuesday, July 28th, 2015 (10:45 am) - Score 1,228

Switching to a different Mobile Network Operator (MNO) in the United Kingdom could soon become even easier after the national telecoms regulator, Ofcom, proposed a number of changes that they claim would harmonise and thus simplify the process by taking a cue from home broadband ISP migrations.

At present if consumers wish to swap to a different mobile network, such those primarily run by O2, Three UK, EE and Vodafone, then they have two potential avenues and the one you take depends upon whether or not you intend to keep your phone number and take (“port“) it with the service.

The Current Processes

Option 1: A switch which includes a number port requires the customer to obtain a Porting Authorisation Code (PAC) from their current provider (the Losing Provider ‘LP’) and give this to their new provider (the Gaining Provider ‘GP’), who initiates the transfer. Ofcom calls this a Losing Provider Led (LPL) process or “donor led”.

Option 2: A switch without a port requires the customer to organise the stop and start of the old and new service themselves. Ofcom refer to this as a Cease and Re-provide (C&R) arrangement. Essentially this is just like taking out a new service and contract for the first time.

However Ofcom, which is “concerned that some operators can make [option 1] difficult“, notes that the switching rates for mobile services have fallen (see below). As such they’re looking to improve the current system and to bring it more into line with the new fixed line broadband and phone switching process (details).

ofcom_uk_consumer_switching_rates_2014

The regulator’s new consultation, which will remain open until 6th October 2015, is thus proposing that mobile operators also adopt a Gaining Provider Led (GPL) solution for switching that would put all of the power into the hands of the new provider. In other words, you’d only need to contact the new provider and they’d then automatically handle everything on your behalf.

Alternatively another option might be to simplify the existing process of obtaining a Porting Authorisation Code (PAC), which allows customers to keep their existing phone number when switching providers. But Ofcom seems to devote more column inches to supporting a GPL solution.

Sharon White, Ofcom’s Chief Executive, said:

Consumers should be able to switch their mobile providers with minimum hassle to take advantage of the best deals on the market. Ofcom has recently made switching easier for millions of broadband users, and we are now focusing on improving the process for mobile customers.”

The adoption of a GPL solution could potentially also make it easier for consumers who take multiple services from a single provider to switch. In particular there’s a growing interest in triple-play and quad-play packages that bundle broadband, phone and mobile services (quad deals also include TV). Bringing mobile more in to line with fixed line migration would certainly be a big help for moving bundles.

Do you support Ofcom's above proposal for easier mobile switching?

  • Yes (80%, 59 Votes)
  • No (14%, 10 Votes)
  • Unsure (7%, 5 Votes)

Total Voters: 74

On the flip side the adoption of GPL often increases the risk of SLAMMING (i.e. when a service is switched without the customer’s consent) and there’s some doubt about whether a change is really needed. Ofcom’s own research found that 91% of mobile consumers who switched in the last two years stated that switching was very easy or fairly easy, which is above that for broadband (88%) and digital TV (83%).

Finally there’s also the significant issue of handset ownership and unlocking, with many service contracts being tied to a bundled handset purchase. Consumers who switch without first ending their contract might thus be liable for a big bill to cover the remaining cost of that hardware, which the existing operator may then be sluggish to unlock.

Share with Twitter
Share with Linkedin
Share with Facebook
Share with Reddit
Share with Pinterest
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
Leave a Comment
5 Responses
  1. Johno says:

    I had issues switching, got a new card and mobile number from a different supplier.
    The main issue that should be looked at is handset unlocking. I got charged to remove the operater lock.
    They make supplier switching not that bad, they could warn customers that there handset is locked when switching.

  2. Matt says:

    Maybe if we had the system in place that most countries have for changing mobile phone networks it might be better but it’s not a major issue either. Just annoying sometimes getting some networks give up PAC Codes.

  3. Matt says:

    Maybe if we had the system in place that most countries have for changing mobile phone networks it might be better but it’s not a major issue either. Just annoying sometimes getting some networks give up PAC Codes.

  4. adslmax Real says:

    It’s won’t work because what about mobile phone is LOCKED to one network! I just hated when headset phone is locked! These should be BANNED.

    1. dragoneast says:

      You don’t have to get a subsidised phone from the operator. Unlocked phones can be bought. If you don’t pay for the phone, then everyone else has to. I’d like someone else to pay for my groceries (and everything else) too.

Comments are closed.

Comments RSS Feed

Javascript must be enabled to post (most browsers do this automatically)

Privacy Notice: Please note that news comments are anonymous, which means that we do NOT require you to enter any real personal details to post a message. By clicking to submit a post you agree to storing your comment content, display name, IP, email and / or website details in our database, for as long as the post remains live.

Only the submitted name and comment will be displayed in public, while the rest will be kept private (we will never share this outside of ISPreview, regardless of whether the data is real or fake). This comment system uses submitted IP, email and website address data to spot abuse and spammers. All data is transferred via an encrypted (https secure) session.

NOTE 1: Sometimes your comment might not appear immediately due to site cache (this is cleared every few hours) or it may be caught by automated moderation / anti-spam.

NOTE 2: Comments that break our rules, spam, troll or post via known fake IP/proxy servers may be blocked or removed.
Cheapest Superfast ISPs
  • Hyperoptic £15.00 (*25.00)
    Speed 50Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • Vodafone £19.50 (*22.50)
    Speed 35Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • NOW £20.00 (*32.00)
    Speed 36Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • Shell Energy £21.99 (*30.99)
    Speed 35Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • Plusnet £22.99 (*38.20)
    Speed 36Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: £70 Reward Card
Large Availability | View All
Cheapest Ultrafast ISPs
  • Hyperoptic £20.00 (*35.00)
    Speed: 150Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • Vodafone £24.00 (*27.00)
    Speed: 100Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • Community Fibre £25.00 (*29.50)
    Speed: 300Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • Gigaclear £27.00 (*59.00)
    Speed: 500Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
  • Virgin Media £27.00 (*51.00)
    Speed: 108Mbps, Unlimited
    Gift: None
Large Availability | View All
The Top 20 Category Tags
  1. FTTP (3509)
  2. BT (3011)
  3. Politics (1927)
  4. Building Digital UK (1919)
  5. FTTC (1884)
  6. Openreach (1824)
  7. Business (1680)
  8. Mobile Broadband (1469)
  9. Statistics (1406)
  10. FTTH (1365)
  11. 4G (1271)
  12. Fibre Optic (1167)
  13. Virgin Media (1159)
  14. Wireless Internet (1154)
  15. Ofcom Regulation (1140)
  16. Vodafone (836)
  17. EE (830)
  18. TalkTalk (763)
  19. 5G (760)
  20. Sky Broadband (744)
Promotion
Helpful ISP Guides and Tips
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
»
Sponsored

Copyright © 1999 to Present - ISPreview.co.uk - All Rights Reserved - Terms , Privacy and Cookie Policy , Links , Website Rules , Contact