Ofcom commissioned Futuresight to conduct a qualitative interactive diary study among consumers actively intending to switch their mobile network provider. The overall aim of the study was to understand 'in-the-moment' experiences of switching and the types of difficulties that consumers face when trying to switch provider.
The research was conducted in the form of a series of introductory and reconvened focus group discussions and the use of an interactive online diary (or paper-based equivalent). A total of 120 people participated in the study and were drawn from all four nations in the UK, living in urban and rural locations. All participants were either out of contract or towards the end of their contract, and were actively seeking to switch their mobile network provider. The fieldwork was conducted between June and November 2015.
Ofcom commissioned BDRC Continental to conduct a quantitative study to understand the consumer experience of switching mobile network provider. In particular, we wanted to understand and compare the incidence and impact of experiences when using either the formal PAC switching process or a Cease and Re-provide arrangement:
Port Authorisation Code (PAC) process - used when switchers wish to retain their existing mobile number. They are required to obtain a PAC from their existing (losing) provider and cancel their service, and pass this to their new provider.
Cease and Re-provide (C&R) - is used when a consumer does not wish to retain their number. This arrangement requires the consumer to cancel their contract with their existing provider, and sign up with the new provider.
Fieldwork was conducted among an online representative sample of mobile consumers between 20th August and 1st September 2015. Data was collected among robust samples of the key groups of interest: switchers in the last 18 months experiencing each of the two arrangements outlined above; considered and actively started looking but decided not to switch in the last 12 months; and considered but did not start looking and decided not to change provider or have not considered changing mobile network provider in the last 12 months.
These documents are intended to help consumers make better informed decisions, especially those who are thinking about changing provider or purchasing a new service. We also believe that publication of provider-specific complaint volumes incentivises providers to improve their performance.