Mobile networks could be forced to automatically move customers to cheaper SIM-only plans once they’ve reached the minimum term for any contract which includes a handset under new proposals unveiled by Ofcom today.
The telecoms regulator says as many as 1.5m British consumers continue to pay the original full cost of their tariff even after the their minimum term is up, meaning they’re effectively still paying towards the cost of the handset despite their network already having recouped the cost.
To ensure customers are only paying for what they’re getting, Ofcom is considering two possible changes of rules.
Under the first, networks would be forced to automatically switch customers to a default standard, 30-day sim-only plan as soon as their minimum term is up, meaning they’d save money without taking any action.
The second proposal would require networks to write to customers explaining which SIM-only deals they could move to while keeping their handset, and setting out how much they could save.
Both sets of potential rule changes have been published for consultation.
Lindsey Fussell, Ofcom Consumer Group Director, said: “Mobile customers should get the best possible deal.
“We’re concerned that people are not told, or cannot tell, exactly what they are paying for.
“So we are extending our work on behalf of mobile customers to ensure that handset charges are clear and fair – not just when they enter a contract, but also when their minimum period is up.”