Ofcom, the regulator that oversees UK communications companies, often finds its plans to make things simpler and easier for consumers frustrated by big companies’ lawyers challenging its decisions. We want our watchdog to have the ability to make strong decisions in favour of consumers and fair competition, without having its plans derailed by companies that don’t want change.
So we are asking the government to update the rules to make it harder for reforms to be blocked on technical details, so that the focus is on the right outcome for consumers.
Why is this important? Today it is too easy to derail change: It’s why Three, Vodafone and O2 customers in Ireland can switch mobile providers in their lunch hour, keeping their phone number without having to get into a tussle with their old operator – and customers of the same networks in the UK can’t. Back in 2007 Ofcom decided UK consumers should have the same rights to move to a new operator without having to ask permission from the old. But Vodafone, backed by O2, Orange and T-Mobile, made a legal challenge to Ofcom’s decision and nearly seven years later you still have to go back to your old operator to switch your number to your new one.
We want Ofcom to have the powers necessary to support consumers and competition so does Which?, Consumer Futures and TalkTalk.
Together we have asked the Ministers in charge to make that change a reality, so consumers can get the kind of experience they deserve.
You can view a copy of the letter here.