Tuesday 28 July 2015 7:30 am

Mobile network switching is about to get much easier thanks to Ofcom

Switching your mobile network provider is about to get much easier as the regulator looks at changing the rules because companies are currently making it too difficult switch.

Ofcom last month introduced new rules making it easier for people to switch broadband providers and is now looking at a similar move when it comes to mobile networks. 

“Consumers should be able to switch their mobile providers with minimum hassle to take advantage of the best deals on the market. Ofcom has recently made switching easier for millions of broadband users, and we are now focusing on improving the process for mobile customers," said Ofcom boss Sharon White.

Switching rates for mobile contracts, already pretty low at nine per cent, fell to six per cent in 2013 and 2014.

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A range of options to make it easier are now being weighed up. This could include the new provider taking full responsibility for a customer's switch or simplifying the current process by which a customer needs to get hold of a Porting Authorisation Code (PAC) to take their phone number with them when switching.

The news was welcomed by those in the telecoms industry.

"It’s about time all of the telecoms sector fell in line with other industries, where the provider you’re moving to handles the switch, rather than the provider you’re leaving," said Uswitch's Richard Neudegg. "Mobile has been left with an archaic switching process, that requires you to force a special code out of your old provider before you can take your mobile number to a new mobile service. With some providers, you even have to ask them to unlock your handset first." 

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Cable.co.uk's editor Dan Howdle said the move would "turn the industry on its head," by giving existing customers the best deals over new customer offers.

"Frictionless switching will even the odds among UK mobile providers, creating a better, fairer marketplace and allowing customers to take advantage of the best deals. That, in turn, will shift the focus of special offers and limited deals from being primarily aimed at new customers to being equally shared among those who remain loyal."