Switching networks could soon get easier

From what I can pick up amongst friends and relatives, there seems to be a growing freedom to switch networks. Some, though, still renew year after year with the same provider and grab a newly upgraded phone. Some still perceive the cancellation process – that phone call the try and leave the network you’ve been with for years – as a faff.

Let’s face it, there’s no fun about it. You’ll usually get through to the “retentions” team and they’ll offer you a better deal, a better phone and mention just how good their network is, just to get you to stay.

Sometimes it feels like a tricky process. A maze that you have to navigate in order to get what you want. A bit like playing Gonzo’s Quest online when you think about it. Now, however, Ofcom are drawing up plans to let you switch operators by simply sending a text message to your current provider.

Once you’ve done that, the switch from your old provider to the new one will kick in.

It sounds good, but it’s a step back from what the regulator wanted. Originally the idea was for the new provider to do all the switching, which would’ve meant that a customer could simply visit one store, choose a phone, and everything would be done for you from there. Here there’s still an extra bit of work that has to be done by the customer, but it’s certainly going to be easier than the current system, which involves battling with people who are hell-bent on not letting you leave your current network.

A final decision on this will be made later in the year, but if it goes through then we’ll see the system producing a unique code after the text is sent. This can then be given to the new provider and your service will begin. The new rules will also ban mobile providers from charging for notice periods after that switch date. No more paying for both your old contract and you new contract. No overlap.

Let’s hope it all gets pushed through, because at the moment there’s still a big selection of people who are put off or get re-sold another contract with their current provider, even if their original plan was to leave.