Three has called for the Government to make it easier to consumers to switch operator without losing their number.
The network said the current process should be changed, where consumers have to ask their operator's permission to keep their mobile number when they join another network.
In a poll carried out by YouGov, 78% of consumers said they would prefer a system where the new provider manages the switching process, which is similar to when customers change their gas or oil provider. Almost two thirds (64%) of consumers said they would be more inclined to switch if their new operator imported their existing phone number. Those surveyed said the current process was 'awkward', as operators offer different deals and ask consumers for their reasons for switching.
Three CEO Dave Dyson has written a letter to communications secretary Maria Miller to ask her to back changes to the switching process. He said: 'Easy switching for UK mobile consumers is long overdue. In Ireland Three, O2 and Vodafone customers enjoy no-hassle switching. It’s time UK customers were given the same rights to easily switch and keep their number when they want a better deal.
'Mobile consumers across Europe only have to contact their new operator, who will then manage the whole process for them. The same system is used in the gas, electricity and fixed-line telephone markets in the UK, and we believe UK mobile consumers should be able to enjoy the benefits of ‘winner-led’ switching.
'As YouGov’s figures show, consumers want a simple switching system that allows them to make a choice when their contract period ends, without having to be subjected to what is often a long and frustrating process.'
Editor: Graeme Neill