Ofcom makes changes to telecoms law to benefit consumers

Ofcom the Super regulator that has responsibility for media, telecoms, radio and broadcasting has announced changes that telecoms companies will have to adopt in-line with European telecoms law.


From May 26th 2011 telecoms operators are limited to providing 24 month contracts for telecoms services. Businesses and consumers must also be offered shorter 12 month contracts.

This will allow consumers to switch providers more easily which will allow users to chose beneficial pricing and services.

Emergency SMS

Ofcom plans to mandate the emergency SMS schmeme in the UK which allows users to text (or use the Short Message Service) to the ermgency services to 999 (or 112 the pan-European emergency services number).

Currently there is a registration scheme in operation with about 14,500 registered users. From May 26th 2011 all mobile operators will be obliged to make the scheme available on a permanent basis for hearing and speech-impaired users.

Porting Phone Numbers

On April 11 2011 Ofcom mandated all mobile operators to port numbers between networks in under 1 (working) day. This only applied to individual consumers. Now the same rules apply to businesses and other customers who may wish to port many numbers at one time.

Fixed numbers should also be ported with 1 day, though other measures have to be completed first to ensure that slamming doesn't occur (where a customer is switched to another provider without their permission).

Providers also have to pay reasonably compensation to customers if the port doesn't happen in 24 hours (or there is an abuse of the porting process).

This is all good news for the consumer and it's nice to see Ofcom mandate these changes.
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