Ways adopted by Ofcom to tackle issues with switching process

Monday, March 5th 2012

Ofcom has made conscious efforts and invested resources to tackle issues related with current switching process. In this section, the different work on switching process of Ofcom is mentioned. It includes work on fixed-line mis-selling broadband switching and Mobile Number Portability. Work in these areas has enabled them tackle issues with switching process of certain services and technologies. At present, the regulator deals with issues with switching. Their work is progressing to ensure improved switching experience to its customers. They are committed to handle issues with switching processes which are mentioned below.

Any contract related barriers is tackled through excess charge enforcement programme. It also requires implementation of new rules that prohibits automatic renewing of contracts from 31 December 2012 onwards. Another issue with switching process is barriers to switching fixed voice and broadband providers over the Openreach copper network. This is tackled through this existing consultation. The current consultation includes work with Office of the Telecommunications Adjudicator and our enforcement programmes related to fixed-line mis-selling and broadband migrations. Through, Price accreditation scheme, publication of customer, service research and complaints data information barriers are tackled. It is also dealt with their work on net neutrality, broadband speeds and mobile coverage.

September 201 Consultation
Ofcom published a consultation in 2010 that dealt with so many issues related with switching process. The consultation was based on identifying the important problems and issues with the switching process over the fixed and mobile telecommunication, broadband and Pay TV sectors. The discussions sought to create a view on the switching process type that will deliver improved consumer experience and enhance competition. It was done by considering the first principles and without regarding any existing switching processes. The consultation identified the flaws with the current switching processes and developed a plan to resolve the issues. The areas with greatest consumer harm or competition harm was prioritized during the consultation.

Losing Provider Led (LPL) processes were not preferred over Gaining Provider Led (GPL). Based on consumer and competition results, GPL processes outperformed the LPL processes. This is because GPL processes were easier to handle and navigate for consumers. Switching process is made easy and smooth by Gaining Provider. Another reason to why GPL process outperforms LPL processes is that it comes in lower prices and wider choices. It triggers competition and encourage provides to compete effectively with their rivals. In the case of LPL processes, competition is reduced significantly due to the ability of Losing Provider to recognize and retain customers who seek to switch across reactive save offers. Such actions are profitable only to small section of individual consumers who get lower prices. Although, the ability to make such offers minimizes competition, resulting in reduced innovation and increase in the standard prices.

Further work to think about how these considerations will be applied on the existing switching process was highlighted by them. With regard to the September 2010 consultation’s analysis on consumer experience and competition evidence, the switching process over voice and broadband services were identified as areas of greatest concern. These areas of concern should be handled first. Responses to the September 2010 Consultation were reviewed in detail.

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