Make switching telco providers easier, says regulator Ofcom

UK telecoms regulator Ofcom could be in danger over the next few years; as part of the EU Commission’s plan for a single regulator across Europe – but it doesn’t mean the institution won’t use its weight for good in the meantime...

Speaking at Consumers and Citizens in the Communications Sector - Ed Richards, Chief Executive of Ofcom, calls on the industry to make it simpler for consumers to change communications providers.

Mr Richards made note the UK telecoms industry is one of the most competitive communications markets in the world; but customers are suffering when it comes to switching to rivals.

He calls on the industry: “to transform switching; to remove the inconvenience, delays and uncertainty that currently can bedevil consumers when trying to change their provider.”

The proposition is similar to switching mobile network providers; in which the 'gaining' provider leads the transfer on behalf of the consumer.

Owner of the majority of the UK’s infrastructure, BT, currently has notoriously complex switching process as part of its Openreach network. As part of Ofcom’s announcement in August to help consumers change landline and broadband providers – it will be simplified to a single process.

Richards makes clear in his speech how important simplifying this process is to ensure the communications sector “continues to deliver real improvement in value for money during a time when the cost of living is so important for millions of people across the UK and Europe.”

Interestingly, the latest popular “Phone Rage Index” from consumer website PleasePress1 shows four telecoms providers in the top 20. BT is at #3 for the most ineffective customer service line; with T-Mobile at #4, Sky at #6, and TalkTalk at #11.

These latest measures can only be seen as positive for consumers and the industry alike; with less frustration on the customer front, and more growth to push the UK’s infrastructure forward and remain competitive on a global scale.

What do you think about the switching telecoms providers process? Should it be simplified?

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