Signing up with a mobile network couldn't be easier. You ring them up, fill out a form online, or go into a shop, and the network will do all the hard work for you. Leaving a network is another matter entirely, and they'll seemingly do everything in their power to avoid letting you cancel your contract and keep your existing number.
Well new reforms from Ofcom, set to come into effect in 18 months time, should change that monumental pain in the arse. Mobile customers will be able to switch networks by sending a free text message. The idea is to make it easier and quicker to switchover, and make sure the customers know all the facts - including any money they pay owe the outgoing mobile network.
The new rules also ban networks from charging for a notice period that runs after the switchover date, meaning customers aren't paying for two different services simultaneously. It's estimated that this will save a combined £10 million each year. Each switchover code will be valid for 30 days, and networks will need to publish clear instructions on how everything works.
The new system will require networks to start coordinating with the competition a bit better, and change their existing infrastructure to accommodate it. That's why Ofcom is giving them an 18 month window to get everything sorted. After 1st July 2019, however, they'll all be expected to fully comply with the new rules.
It'd be nicer for all of us if that deadline was sooner, but it's good to know that it's coming. Having had issues with a network refusing to play ball with my requests to switch, it's about time someone put an end to their shenanigans.