MobilitySmartphones

Brits Miss Out On £5.8 Billion Because They Won’t Switch Mobile Networks

Sam Pudwell joined Silicon UK as a reporter in December 2016. As well as being the resident Cloud aficionado, he covers areas such as cyber security, government IT and sports technology, with the aim of going to as many events as possible.

Too much hassle and lack of understanding holds back Brits from switching mobile networks

British mobile users have missed out on savings of £5.8 billion as a quarter have never changed their mobile network due to the perceived hassle of switching.

According to research carried out by uSwitch.com, 69 percent of users haven’t switched networks in the past three years, with 44 percent saying they are happy with their current network’s service and reception.

However, 11 percent of people who haven’t switched in the last three years have been put off by the process as it sounds like “too much hassle”

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Network switch

Confusion appears to be one of the biggest issues. When it comes to the code required to port your mobile number to your new provider, known as the Porting Authorisation Code (PAC), nearly half (48 percent) of mobile users don’t know what it is.

Furthermore, despite 90 percent of users knowing that it’s possible to keep your phone number when switching to a new mobile network, 30 percent don’t know how to this, which rises to 39 percent among the over 55s.

“No matter how tech-savvy the smartphone generation is becoming, the process of moving to another network can still be baffling and somewhat intimidating,” said Ernest Doku, telecoms expert at uSwitch.com.

“As it stands, the responsibility falls to the customer to contact their current provider to request their PAC – and more than likely having to run the retentions gauntlet. Unless you can’t get a signal, for many it may feel this is simply not worth the effort – the upshot being they’re likely to just stick on their current plan, and miss out on potentially huge monetary savings or a better suited tariff.

“The news that Ofcom is looking to finesse this process can’t come soon enough. Of the two options, the numbers clearly suggest that consumers favour changing the switching process so the gaining network drives it. That should make providers work that little bit harder to win and proactively keep your business.”

For the 25 percent of users that have switched in the last two years, chasing a cheaper deal was the main motivator (34 percent), which a quarter said a rival network was offering them better benefits or perks.

The world of mobile is only set to become more competitive in the future, as global mobile data traffic is expected to reach 587 exabytes by 2021, 122 times more than the global traffic generated a decade earlier.

Much of this is being driven by the growth of 5G, as the likes of US operator Verizon, British giant BT and German telco Deutsche Telekom fight to lead the future of the technology.

Quiz: How much do you know about UK mobile operators?