It is important for consumers to be able to switch providers easily in order to exercise their choice and take advantage of competition in the communications sector.
This document sets out our view on the harm which consumers currently experience when they switch or consider switching mobile provider. It sets out detailed reform options to address this harm, taking account of responses to our July 2015 mobile switching consultation, and additional evidence we have gathered since then.
Ofcom invites written views and comments on the issues raised in this document, to be made by 5pm on 1 June 2016.
A concise, plain-English summary of this document is also available below and a video guide on our proposals can be viewed here.
Update note - 29 June 2016
Ofcom's March 2016 mobile switching consultation noted that currently consumers who switch their mobile service can experience a period of contract overlap and paying for two services simultaneously if their old provider requires them to pay out a notice period, after they have switched to a new provider. We stated that we would discuss with operators options for addressing the consumer harm that arises from the interaction of notice periods with mobile switching and said that if process reforms or operator initiatives were insufficient to address this harm, we would further consult on ways to remedy this.
Having made a preliminary assessment of the consultation responses and having held discussions on this issue we have now informed the largest UK mobile providers that if they fail to commit to introducing voluntary initiatives to address this issue, we will publicly consult on it by the end of July 2016.
Update note - 13 July 2016
Following on from our engagement with the largest UK mobile providers about introducing voluntary initiatives to address our concerns around the harm caused by the interaction of notice periods with the mobile switching process, we have decided to publish a consultation on this issue. We will aim to do this by the end of July 2016.
Update note - 31 January 2017
We are providing stakeholders with an opportunity to comment on developments to cost estimates of our proposals to reform the process for switching mobile provider, as well as developments concerning the proposed processes themselves.