Switching mobile operators could soon begin with a text

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Mobile phone customers will be able to cancel their contract with a single text message under plans unveiled by Ofcom today.

The simple text messaging system looks to alleviate this pain and bypass the need to bounce between various departments of a telecoms provider when swapping networks. "Our changes will make it quicker and easier for mobile phone users to get a better deal", said Lindsey Fussell, Ofcom's Consumer Group Director.

This, the regulator said, will put an end to people paying for old and new services at the same time, saving United Kingdom mobile customers around £10 million a year.

It said one of the biggest hurdles in changing provider was customers having to speak to their provider and facing unwanted attempts to persuade them to stay.

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Under the changes, operators will no longer be able to charge for notice periods running after the switch date, so customers will no longer have to pay bills from two companies.

"So there will be an 18-month implementation period before this comes into effect, meaning providers must comply by no later than 1 July 2019". Said code comes directly from your current operator via an online form, a phone call, or even a quick free text message.

The provider's reply must also include important information about any early termination charges, outstanding handset costs, or pay-as-you-go credit balances. Companies will also need new billing arrangements to end double payments during notice periods.

The sweeping changes will no doubt delight buyers, but Ofcom is fully aware that the new rules will put a lot of pressure on the current systems operators have in place.

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'Customers will control how much contact they have with their current mobile provider, preventing companies from delaying and frustrating the switching process'.

When the customer is ready to switch, they give the code to their new provider, and the number is ported within one working day.

Ofcom said that would stop customers paying for old and new services at the same time, saving them around £10m collectively per year.

A Vodafone spokesman said: 'We agree that it should be simple for customers to select the service which best suits them and we are examining Ofcom's announcement.

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The provider then sends a cancellation code, which remains valid for 30 days, along with important account details to the user.