British communications regulator Ofcom has announced major reforms to the way customers can switch between mobile networks in the UK.
After a lengthy consultation period, it found some unnecessary difficulties in the process of switching providers. Two in five people who switched their network said that they have experienced at least one major problem while doing so.
One of the biggest complaints was that, because a customer had to speak to their provider, they often faced unwanted attempts to persuade them to stay.
Ofcom will therefore enforce a new "text-to-switch" system designed to eliminate the stress of changing mobile network providers.
Networks must implement it by 1 July 2019, but can offer it to their customers at any time in the following 18 months.
How to change your mobile network by text
From the date your network provider adopts the new system, you will be able to simply text a free number provided by your operator in order to receive a unique switching code.
Your text will consist of one or two memorable short codes, which will depend on whether or not you wish to keep your current mobile number. All mobile operators will recognise the same short code.
The provider must immediately respond by text with either your PAC code if you are keeping the same number, or a cancellation code if not.
The unique switching code will be valid for 30-days so you can request one even if you are still shopping for a new provider.
Once you do find a new network, just give them the PAC or cancellation code when joining. The switch, Ofcom says, must be activated within one working day.
You will also still be able to cancel or switch your mobile network by phone or online. The same timeline rules above must apply, however.