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Brits missing out on £billions by not switching mobile provider

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Written by: Adam Lewis
23/02/2017
A quarter of UK mobile phone users have never switched their mobile networks, with the perceived hassle of switching costing users £5.8bn according to new research.

According to research from the price comparison and switching service uSwitch, the number of those who have never switched mobile providers jumps to 33% for the over-55s.

More than two-thirds (69%) of mobile users have not changed network in the last three years, the result of which uSwitch says means they could missing on savings of up to £176 per year.

While many stated they were happy with their network’s service and reception, more than one in 10 who have not switched in the last three years – which equates to more than 3.5 million people – said they were put off the process saying it sounds like “too much hassle”.

Know what a PAC is?

A Porting Authorisation Code (PAC) is the code required to port your mobile phone number to your new provider. If you didn’t know this you are in good company – nearly half (48%) of those surveyed didn’t know either. While 90% knew it was possible to keep your old number when switching, three in 10 didn’t know how to do it.

With this in mind 41% of those asked said they would be more likely to switch if the network they are moving to hailed the whole process for them. Some 18% said they would be more likely to switch if the process was simplified by allowing them to request and receive their PAC by text message.

“No matter how tech-savvy the smartphone generation is becoming, the process of moving to another network can still be baffling and somewhat intimidating,” said Ernest Doku, a telecom expert at uSwitch.

“As it stands, the responsibility falls to the customer to contact their current provider to request their PAC – and more than likely having to run the retentions gauntlet. Unless you can’t get a signal, for many it may feel this is simply not worth the effort – the upshot being they’re likely to just stick on their current plan, and miss out on potentially huge monetary savings or a better suited tariff.

““The news that Ofcom is looking to finesse this process can’t come soon enough. Of the two options, the numbers clearly suggest that consumers favour changing the switching process so the gaining network drives it. That should make providers work that little bit harder to win and proactively keep your business. Plus, this would lift the burden on mobile users so they can reap the benefits of moving to a more suitable package, without any of the associated hassle.”

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