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Ofcom confirms new rules to ease mobile number porting

20 December 2017

Mobile users will be able to divorce their providers by text within a single working day, thanks to new Ofcom rules announced today.

Ofcom's consumer group director Lindsey Fussell said: 'Too many people are put off by the hassle of switching mobile provider. The idea is to make it easier and quicker to switchover, and make sure the customers know all the facts - including any money they pay owe the outgoing mobile network.

Mobile providers will also be banned from charging for the remainder of your contract notice period after you've switched, putting an end to paying for your old and new contract at the same time, which Ofcom says will save United Kingdom mobile customers about £10 million each year.

In its background research Ofcom found that 38 per cent of mobile switchers (2.5 million people) experienced at least one major difficulty in changing mobile service provider. This could cost network providers a bit in the short-term but Ofcom reckons there'll be long-term efficiency benefits for telecoms companies, which should mean consumer doesn't end up footing the bill in the form of hiked-up contract prices.

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Ofcom says its changes, which take effect in 18 months' time, will hand back control to customers. After 1st July 2019, however, they'll all be expected to fully comply with the new rules.

From July 2019, mobile users will be able to switch providers by requesting a unique switching code from their current provider by text or online. As a result of the changes, Ofcom says it will be saving United Kingdom consumers around £10 million each year due to the ban on notice periods. Passing on the code to their new provider will switch their service within one working day, with no notice period charges. The network is required to immediately reply with either a PAC or cancellation code, along with any details of outstanding or early termination charges.

The current process sees those who want to transfer their number to a new network having to call their current provider to request a "porting authorisation code", and give this to the company they plan to join.

Mobile providers will also have to publish and promote "clear guidance" to help customers follow the new process and make informed switching decisions. The PAC is valid for 30 days, and must be given to the new network to complete the switch.

Ofcom confirms new rules to ease mobile number porting