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Mobile users win penalty-free switch from Ofcom

Mobile phone customers will be able to leave their contracts mid-term without paying a penalty if their provider puts up prices, the regulator has confirmed.

Ofcom said that customers must be given 30 days notice of any price rise in their monthly subscription - even if it is within the level of inflation.

A provider must then allow a customer to exit their contract without a penalty.

Mid-term price rises are allowed, but must be made clear to consumers.

Favouring providers
There are no specific changes to the rules, but the way they were interpreted has differed among providers.

The regulator decided to offer guidance to providers to make it clear exactly how they should behave, and encourage competition.

This will take effect in three months time and will apply to any new mobile, landline and broadband contracts, including some bundled contracts, entered into from that point in time.

Ofcom is today making clear that consumers entering into fixed-term telecoms contracts must get a fairer deal, said Claudio Pollack, Ofcom consumer group director.

We think the sector rules were operating unfairly in favour of the provider, with consumers having little choice but to accept price increases or pay to exit their contract.

We are making it clear that any increase to the monthly subscription price should trigger a consumer the right to leave their contract - without penalty.

The consumer group Which? has campaigned for clarity from the regulator.

Consumers told us price hikes on fixed contracts were unfair, and now people will be able to leave these contracts and switch to a cheaper provider without being hit by extortionate exit fees, said Richard Lloyd, executive director at Which?.

But even if this move does not stop prices going up, at least consumers will be able to vote with their feet and say no to higher bills by moving to a new deal.

And consumers can keep their mobile phone number if they do switch to a new provider, they will need to obtain their PAC code, full information is available at PACcodes.co.uk

We expect a response to this from the main providers, Vodafone, Three, O2, EE, Orange and T-Mobile soon. The Carphone Warehouse will also be commenting, as the UKs largest independent provider of mobile phones.

And do not forget that you can KEEP your existing mobile phone number if you decide to switch mobile phone operators. All you need is your PAC code. Use our handy tool on PACcodes.co.uk to obtain your PAC code.

 

 

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What is a PAC code?

A porting authorisation code, or PAC code, allows you to transfer your existing mobile phone number from to another mobile phone provider so that if you change mobile phone networks you do not have to give everyone a new number... You can keep your existing mobile phone number. The process is termed mobile number portability, or number porting. It's quick, FREE and very easy to do - follow the instructions here for full details on how to port your mobile phone number to a new network provider.

NOTE: You can purchase your new phone contract and then obtain your PAC code. It is not essential to have your PAC code prior to purchasing your new phone. However, you will need your PAC code if you want to keep your existing phone number (i.e. transfer your current number to your new provider). Use our handy tool above to obtain your PAC code.

PAC codes are FREE.

To keep your mobile phone number when switching to another mobile phone network, use our handy tool to obtain your PAC code. Just select your current and new phone provider click OK and you'll receive full instructions for obtaining your PAC code.