Mobile Phones: Leaving your Mobile Network

By: Andy Adams

The mobile phone is one of the most vital pieces of technology that over 50 million UK people cannot live without. You'd be hard pressed to find someone these days who doesn't own a mobile phone.
This is the problem Mobile Networks like O2 and Vodafone are facing: They've reached saturation point with regards to new customers, they're now all either with their network or one of the other competitors. In order for operators to thrive they need to not only maintain their current customer's loyalty customers, but also entice some of the opposition's customer base.

So what does this mean for the average Joe? It means that the networks are now offering similar if not better deals to the current customers as the new ones. The mobile operators are throwing extra minutes here and extra messages there to keep customers happy with their service.

As well as this they are able to in most cases offer new handsets for free (Pay Monthly tariffs exceeding initial contract lengths normally of 12 or 18 months) to loyal customers. These handsets are rendered free to the customer due to the operators subsidising the cost of the mobile phone within monthly contract charges. This is often seen as the swinging factor when we chose a new mobile phone, be it Pay As You Go mobile phones, where we have to pay for the handset up front or getting a mobile phone on a Pay Monthly tariff where the sometimes staggering handset costs are spread out and included in monthly bills.

One other practice is very popular with contract customers nearing the end of their time with networks; they call up their network provider to request a number porting authorisation code (PAC code), this is where you can request the details so you can leave your mobile operator with your phone number and join another network.
This translates into the mobile network's worst nightmare; a slow earning contract customer is leaving them for another operator! Customers who call up asking for this are instantly transferred to the department cleverly known as "retentions", these are the people who can offer a lot more than usual in order to keep you with their network. Quite often they will ask what network you are planning on going to and why, after this they will analyze your bill and see what realistic offers they can make. Some people who have done this have been satisfied with the offer and accept it right of the bat. Some deft consumers even adopt the haggling approach and say they will think it over.

Some have found the next time they call that they are offered even more for even less sometimes even the latest mobile phones are offered, it varies between networks and sometimes depends on who answers your call. The fact remains that network operators are clambering for customers be they new or existing, so they will do their best to make sure you don't leave them.

There may be further incentive for these Retentions agents as there have been investigations recently made by Ofcom into how long and drawn out the actual PAC code request process take, they believe that the current one to two weeks waiting period is excessive and that the necessary arrangements can be made within two hours!

Ed Richards, Ofcom's chief executive said "Consumers deserve a quick and easy process for switching while retaining their number. These measures will promote competition in the UK mobile phones market and act directly in the consumers' interest. Our new rules set tough but achievable deadlines to put new systems in place and I look to the industry to implement them effectively,"

Not even all the people who call up for their PAC code are necessarily dissatisfied with the service; they just want to get a better deal on their contract. Plenty of consumer advice websites have advocated this practice and with new regulations being brought in by September 2009 we can expect mobile networks to be much more interested in our custom.

Cell Phones
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 

» More on Cell Phones