Switching and Bundling

The Consumer Experience Report 2012 found that difficulty with switching in the fixed-line market increases when fixed broadband services are switched at the same time. The latter continues to report the highest levels of stated difficulty in switching at 15%. Stated difficulty in the fixed-line market rises from 5% among standalone fixed-line customers to 14% where fixed-line services are switched at the same time as at least one other service - most commonly fixed broadband. When people can switch between providers quickly and easily, consumers will benefit from enhanced competition in communications markets as well as better service levels. Consumers need to be aware of the potential benefits of switching and to have confidence that switching will be a hassle-free process with effective “safety nets” to mitigate against loss of services. Robust switching processes are the bedrock of this, but they are not sufficient by themselves - consumers need to be assured that they will not incur excessive cost, time or disruption as a result of a decision to switch. The market now offers a range of bundled services, which means that switching between providers with a bundle is even more complex - and risks leading to reduced competition and fewer consumers than would otherwise be the case exercising choice in the market. The Panel has encouraged Ofcom to press ahead with its review of switching across services, including mobile and bundled services and to take steps to implement a harmonised and unified switching process in all communications markets as swiftly as possible.

 Specific Objective

The Panel will continue to engage with Ofcom’s review and maintain pressure to deliver aligned switching processes to ensure that switching communications providers becomes easier for consumers.

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