Ofcom has revealed plans that could allow customers to switch mobile providers via text message. But would such plans really help you switch?
After eight years with O2 I’m changing mobile phone provider.
I recently decided I had to shop around for a better deal to reduce my monthly payments. In truth, I hoped my provider would match or improve upon the best deal I found to keep my custom. I’ve generally had a good experience and it would be less hassle for me to stay. The process of ordering a new SIM, giving notice, activating a new account and switching numbers – it’s not fun.
It’s good to walk
Unfortunately, O2 haven’t been able to offer me good enough incentives to stay, so I decided to vote with my feet and move on. In reality, I know I’m in a minority. Few people have the patience to find and switch to a better deal.
When your contract ends or you see the monthly direct debit come out and cringe, it’s much easier to accept the fate your provider stows upon you. I’m not convinced a provider’s retention strategy should rely upon their customers’ complacency. That definitely doesn’t create market competition in the interest of the consumer.
Gaining Provider Led (GPL) switching is a well-established practise in many markets, and is in fact something we campaigned long and hard for. GPL puts the responsibility of the switch with your new provider. When I moved bank last year I simply called up my new one to tell them I wanted to open a new account and they did everything else. I couldn’t believe how easy it was and wish I’d done it sooner. Practises like this put the onus on the new provider, making them all work a little bit harder to keep and attract customers while you sit back and relax.
Ofcom’s latest announcement goes some way to addressing this. It plans to introduce a ‘text-to-switch’ service. So, instead of having to call up your current provider and tell them they want to leave, customers can text them.
Well at least this is one way to avoid the awkward phone calls where you’re talked into staying when you rang to switch. While this plan could make it easier to switch, it does still leave consumers to do all the switching leg work.
Ofcom’s consultation on these proposals runs until 30 June, with a decision expected in the autumn.
So what do you think to this proposal? Have you tried switching mobile phone provider before? Do you think there’s a better way to improve switching?