Ofcom wants customers to get a fair deal for their services. Competition and innovation have delivered lower prices, better services, wider coverage and improved reliability.
But choice can sometimes be confusing, and providers don’t always make it easy for customers to get the best deal for them. So we are standing up for customers and making sure companies treat them fairly.
Ensuring fairness for customers is a priority for us – particularly for those in vulnerable circumstances, whether through their income, age, disability or other circumstances. In September 2018, Citizens Advice submitted a super-complaint to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) on higher prices for disengaged consumers in the mobile, broadband, home insurance, mortgages and savings markets. We have taken account of the CMA’s response and recommendations in our targeted action to tackle harmful practices that we identify.
The UK’s telecoms markets are among the most competitive in the world. This has delivered significant choice and value for money for most customers. Our research shows that UK mobile prices are lower than in France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the US. At the same time, broadband customers are generally getting more for less. Average monthly data use has increased sharply in recent years, while household spend on broadband remains largely the same. We will continue to promote competition to help ensure customers can access faster, better services.
However, not everyone is benefiting from this competition. We have been concerned about some people – particularly those in vulnerable circumstances – paying more than they need to, because they find it difficult to navigate the market.
We will continue our work to make sure customers are treated fairly, pay fair prices and can easily take advantage of the deals available. Among other things, we will be: making it simpler to switch; monitoring and reporting on the prices paid by customers; making sure providers identify and support vulnerable customers; using data to understand vulnerable customers’ needs and help them get better deals; and shining a light on companies’ performance.