Ofcom, a communications regulator in the United Kingdom, has announced a number of changes that will affect wireless customers. One of the biggest changes deals with mobile and broadband contracts. It is now UK law to only offer mobile phone or broadband internet plans for a maximum of 24 months. The service providers are also required to offer 12-month contracts as an alternative option for customers and businesses.
Ofcom believes that the new law will allow customers to change who they do business with more easily, thus driving competition up. Technology moves so fast these days, it’s likely that a smartphone will become obsolete well before a three-year contract has expired. Locking customers into 3-year contracts just wasn’t going to be a viable option considering the scope of new devices coming out every month.
Mobile phone providers are also required to port numbers for businesses looking to change providers within one business day. If for any reason it takes providers longer than a day to port a number, they will have to offer some form of compensation to its customer. The mobile provider can choose what kind of compensation it will make, but Ofcom will make sure the offer is fair.
The last change deals with the emergency SMS scheme. All mobile providers will have to offer the SMS scheme permanently available. The SMS scheme is a way for users to text 999 instead of calling emergency services. This scheme makes it easier for disabled individuals to contact emergency services.