Industry highlights - May 2016

News /

It’s understandable that Ofcom will spend quite a bit of time looking at the mobile phone industry.

From their recent research on Adults Media Use and Attitudes, 38% of adults said they’d miss their mobile phone more than any other device. This has now overtaken the TV which has been the must have for so many years.

If you're not completely aware of what Ofcom does: their role is to regulate industries like telecoms, television, radio and on demand services to ensure that consumers get the best choice and best price for these services.

So there's been a lot going on already this year particularly in the mobile telecoms arena. Here are just a few highlights coming from Ofcom in recent months:

An econometric analysis of the effect of disruptive firms on mobile pricing

A what?! via GIPHY


There are four major UK mobile providers. As you may have seen there's been talk of mergers recently that would reduce that to three - which thankfully the EU Commission has now blocked.

As I've already mentioned Ofcom want to ensure the best choice and best price is available to consumers. They've done a study that has found "on average, mobile prices could be between 17.2% and 20.5% lower in countries where there are four or more mobile operators, and a disruptive firm is present."

So, clearly going down to three is a bit of a concern for everyone. In fact more providers and this elusive "disruptive" provider would be better!

Mobile coverage and fixed broadband checker

Ofcom have produced an interactive tool to check what coverage is available across the UK for things like voice calls, 3G and 4G data both outdoors and indoors.

You can select from one of the four major mobile providers to see how they should perform. There are also some handy 'Frequently Asked Questions' on the page.

It's interesting that coverage is becoming more and more a key selling point. This couldn't be clearer with Vodafone's recent advertising and their new 30-Day Network Guarantee. Currently they're the only ones doing it, but I don't think it'll be long before the others follow.

A better process for switching between mobile providers

From TTNC's perspective, this is a bit annoying. The only reason I say that is because nothing has been done about the process for switching virtual numbers.

If you want to switch a number to us, it's all a bit of a drawn out process over 7 to 10 working days (2 weeks!) - but obviously we try to make it as painless as possible. There's been talk of being able to switch mobile providers within an hour! We're a member of the ITSPA and one of our fellow members recently wrote to Ofcom about this very fact. Technically numbers can switch in seconds, so why we're still suffering with an out-of-date system is ludicrous.

But anyway…the pain and confusion of switching mobile providers could soon be more pain-free and simple.

Mark Burcher