Ofcom boss says ‘mobile is next’ in switching red tape crackdown

Ofcom boss says ‘mobile is next’ in switching red tape crackdown

Ofcom’s Sharon White has told the industry ‘it can’t be right’ that mobile has less switching.

White was speaking as Ofcom launched a consultation on a number of mobile switching options to make it easier for consumers to change providers.

The plans follow comments made by the Ofcom boss, who addressed the department of Culture, Media and Sport in Westminster last week.

She said: ‘Mobile has less switching and as a matter of principle that can’t be right. We are keen to implement mobile switching and at the moment we are having some good conversations with the mobile operators. The question is whether we’re going to be able to implement mobile switching on an entirely voluntary basis, but mobile is next on our list.

‘We have implemented switching in broadband and landline and mobile is the next step. It is interesting as on the outside it feels like a little self-evident issue, what we need to demonstrate is that costs in terms of new systems are outweighed by benefits to the consumer.’

At present, consumers have a number of different options when it comes to switching mobile provider, with Ofcom claiming that operators ‘make it unnecessarily hard for consumers to switch’.

The consultation reflects Ofcom’s continued crackdown on telecoms providers, following its investigation into those who prevent customers from leaving.

James Padmore, Head of Utilities, comparethemarket.com, believes that switching is what the market needs. The comparison company recently moved into the mobile space, with Padmore claiming that it's 'unreasonable' to put switching responsibility on the consumer. 

 He said: 'It is clear that what the mobile market needs is a Mobile Phone Switching Service. The introduction of a switching service for current accounts has been a great start in helping to increase competition.

'Currently, the lack of movement between phone providers is significantly impacting competition levels. This action by Ofcom seems like a first step towards a better market.

'Ultimately, it is unreasonable to place all the burden of switching on the consumer - let’s hope this consultation leads to the mobile market catching up with broadband and current accounts and gives people more flexibility and peace of mind when it comes to switching phone providers.'

 

The closing date for responses to the consultation is 6 October 2015.

 

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