Mobile Users Waste ‘Time And Money’ Trying To Switch Networks

1 in 7 mobile users back Ofcom proposals to make new networks handle the switchover – not the one being left behind

One in seven UK mobile customers back proposals by Ofcom to make it easier to switch networks by requiring the new provider to handle the switch – not the one being left behind.

Research from uSwitch claims the average person spends 25 minutes trying to leave their existing network, with two fifths having to contact their operator twice or more and 11 percent having to make contact four or more times.

More than one million customers switched from one operator to another in the past year but spent 143 million minutes in phone calls and live chats, or 2.4 million hours.

Network switching

mobile workforceJust 23 percent described the current process as ‘easy’, with a fifth claiming they felt pressured into staying or bombarded by questions. Sixteen percent said the experience was “awkward.”

Currently, mobile users must obtain a ‘PAC’ code from their old service provider if they wish to use their existing phone number on their new network.  Ofcom’s proposals would mimic the process in utilities, and broadband, where the new provider would handle the whole switchover amid concerns not enough people are changing operators because of the hassle involved.

“We’ve heard of all sorts of retention tactics deployed by mobile networks to make people reconsider leaving,” said Ernest Doku, telecoms expert at uSwitch. “An issue our research highlights is that in a market where the operator you’re attempting to leave handles your switch, there is relatively little incentive for networks to make it easy.

“Ofcom has launched a consultation that includes an option to change the mobile switching process to one where it’s all handled by the new provider, but at the moment the old system still stands – and it’s clearly costing people both time and money.”

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