It’s great to see Ofcom finally taking action with the ‘Open Communications’ data portability initiative following more than ten years of petitioning by Billmonitor.
The Open Communication Initiative was developed by Ofcom to encourage providers in the mobile phone market to compete in a similar way to their counterparts in the vibrant energy and insurance markets. The need for an initiative like this in the telecoms space is stark: while 27% of consumers switch their car insurance provider and 19% switch their energy provider yearly, only about 6% of mobile phone users do so.
Billmonitor believes that in order for Open Communications to succeed, it needs a dynamic implementation strategy, and we have highlighted three key issues for consideration:
An awareness campaign is crucial
We have strongly recommended that the initiative is launched alongside a robust marketing strategy. This is to safeguard against the fate suffered by 2019’s Text-to-Switch, which has performed weakly due, in part, to a general lack of public awareness and zero interest by the big incumbent networks to encourage switching.
Introduction of supplier-led switching
The underperforming Text-to-Switch initiative is an intermediate solution at best. A true supplier-led switching process, which consumers already enjoy in the utility markets, is absolutely key if the Open Communications initiative is to succeed.
Networks need to provide the right data points to facilitate price comparison
Relevant information, such as voice / text / data / roaming / etc., must be provided so that price comparison tools can deliver reliable money-saving recommendations.
Finally, we have once again reiterated our view that SMEs should be included alongside consumers to ensure that UK’s businesses also receive a fair deal.
Billmonitor managing director Klaus Henke says:
”We fully support any steps to improve market transparency and promote competition and we will continue to push with increasing urgency for more action by Ofcom to help protect both consumers and SMEs.”
The initial consultation period for Open Communications concluded on 10 November 2020. Read more here.