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Ofcom unveils proposals to address “double payments” for mobile switchers

James Pearce
July 29, 2016

Regulator also revealed plans to tackle switching in fixed line and broadband markets

Ofcom has today proposed new rules aimed at helping customers charged twice when they switch mobile providers.

According to figures released by the regulator, consumers spend more than £13 million per year on charges imposed after the date they switch to their new provider. 28 per cent of those switching provider told Ofcom they’d seen some overlap in services.

As part of a major revamp to switching across the telecoms industry, Ofcom is looking to revamp minimum notice periods by making sure providers cannot charge customers beyond the date they have switched to a new provider.

Ofcom said: “We are now proposing that, where customers are outside their MCP, mobile providers would not be permitted to levy charges in respect of airtime or notice period, beyond the date on which the customer switches to a new provider. This applies to any switch that uses a formal switching process.”

The regulator is currently undergoing a major assessment of switching, which is when a customer leaves one provider to join another, across the entire telecoms field.

Currently, if a customer wants to change provider, the must request a PAC, which they then give to their new provider to transfer the number. This is known as gaining provider led switching.

It will now seek consultation through its website until September 16.

A spokesperson for Three commented on the news, saying: “Three has long campaigned for reform of switching in mobile. A change to gaining provider led switching is the only way to improve competition and ensure that the best mobile deals are not kept only for those customers who want to leave their current provider”.

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