Mobile Networks May be Forced to Switch Customers to Cheap Tariffs When Contracts End

By Gary Cutlack on at

Communications regulator Ofcom has had the sort of once-a-generation amazing idea that really ought to have been had a decade ago – that of forcing mobile networks to revert their customers to a default tariff once their initial expensive, two-year, phone-paying-for window is over.

This would see some sort of standard variable tariff for mobile providers introduced, to the great benefit of people who can go for more than two years without upgrading their mobiles. Ofcom thinks that around 1.5 million consumers might be on deals that still include the monthly cost of paying off handsets they already own, leaving them stuck paying out £37 a month for whatever paltry number of minutes they agreed to in order to get 2016's flagship phone for the lowest monthly cost.

And despite some networks trying to better explain the lines that lie between the handset and the airtime elements of bundles, it's still not clear enough. Hence the threat of regulation to force the networks to make providers do a better job of explaining how their phone deals work, along with the suggestion that they may be forced to automatically shift customers to a 30-day SIM-only deal to stop them overpaying once a two-year contract is up. [Ofcom]

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