BREAKING UP WITH your mobile phone network isn't as hard as breaking up with a real, living person, but it's still an unpleasant call to make.
"Please, I can change," the network seems to plead, before offering a couple of quid off your bill. "Remember all the good times we had," it adds, tears welling up in its non-existent eyes as you stoically insist that getting your PAC code will let you both move on with your lives.
Well good news: you can now dump your network provider by text message: kthxbye.
New rules from Ofcom aim to make it quicker and easier to switch provider. Just text the word "PAC" to 65075, and the code will be sent back within a minute. Like the old PAC codes, it's valid for 30 days, and the provider is obliged to tell you of any early termination fees, or if you have any PAYG credit left over. You then pass on your PAC number to your new provider, and the switch is made in a day.
Should you want to terminate your contract without keeping your number for some reason, Ofcom has a solution for that too. Just text "STAC" to 75075, and you'll get a service termination authorisation code to give to the next provider.
"The new process is designed to be quick and easy, so customers could request their code while looking for a new deal - for example, while on the phone to a new provider, or in store," Ofcom explains, overlooking the fact that it's quite hard to text on a phone that's stuck to your ear. Well, hard to do it accurately, anyway. Guess they must be big fans of speakerphone.
On top of this, Ofcom has also banned mobile providers from charging for notice periods that run after the switch date. The communications regulator reckons this will save the consumer £10m a year. Cumulatively, not each, alas.
So now you don't need to reassure your network that "it's not you, it's me." Let's face it: it was always them, anyway. µ
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