Mobile phone users can now switch providers within 24 hours by sending a single text.
They can also keep their old number.
The new rules have put an end to people having to wait weeks to move.
It also helps prevent having to “talk your way” out of a phone contact with a current supplier desperate to keep you.
Previously, if people wanted to change their mobile operator – and keep their number – they had to call and request a “port authorisation code”, or PAC.
It’s said more than 30% in the UK have not changed their network because if was “too complicated and time consuming”.
Ofcom says the new texting system will make leaving easier.
It says it decided to act after receiving numerous complaints about the difficulty of switching.
Lindsey Fussell, Ofcom’s consumer group director, said: “Breaking up with your mobile provider has never been easier thanks to Ofcom’s new rules.
“You won’t need to have that awkward chat with your current provider to take advantage of the great deals available.”
To change a provider, and keep your existing mobile number, customers can from today text ‘PAC’ to 65075 to start the process.
Within a minute the current provider will send their switching code which is valid for 30 days.
The reply must also include information about any early termination charges or pay-as-you-go credit balances.
The customer then gives the PAC code to their new provider who will arrange the switch to complete within one working day.
If people don’t want to keep their number – and about 16% don’t – they can text ‘STAC’ to 75075 to request a ‘service termination authorisation code’.
The procedure is then the same as above.
To check on contract costs and possible early termination charges customers can text ‘INFO’ to 85075.
Also, from today mobile providers will be stopped from charging for notice periods running after the switch date.
Ofcom says this will end people paying for old and new services at the same time, saving customers around £10m a year.
Here are the guidelines:
- Text ‘PAC’ to 65075 to keep your existing number and leave your contract
- Text ‘STAC’ to 75075 to get a new mobile number and leave your contract
- Text ‘INFO’ to 87075 to find out whether you are still in contract or not and whether you will have to pay exit charges