Phone companies aren’t always the easiest to deal with, especially it seems, in the UK where traditionally you have had to put a call in to the company you wish to leave. You get charged for a transfer period, and your transfer is delayed. Ofcom, who regulate telecommunications is putting a stop to it, and is helping consumers out.
When 2.5 million people experience a problem switching providers, you can see how this might generate a lot of complaints.
The notion that this won’t affect contracts with companies in the same way an earlier proposal would have, driving the cost up, seems unlikely. Given how expensive the devices are, and what companies are able to recoup in terms of service costs, this may make it harder to get a phone in the first place, without proof that a buyer has a good record of customer loyalty and good credit. But it is a step in the right direction in giving consumers more power.
Whether something like this would work in the US seems like a moot point, given the move towards deregulation of most industries, and especially that of the telecommunications industry.
There are obviously examples of the free market economy serving consumers, and of problematic monopolies holding them ransom left right and center. At least we are not employing the Social Ranking technology like that piggy-backing on Ali Baba in China, where all of your social interactions and credit issues feed into an algorithm that gives you a three digit social score. How far away that kind of metric is is debatable, but thankfully for most of us it is currently only the subject of speculative fiction like Black Mirror.
The repeal of net neutrality is surely going to have an impact on cell phones too, which is going to be an interesting thing to observe, given that so many people use their mobile devices to surf the web. PC sales have been down-trending for a while, as have laptops – with mobile devices ranging from phones to tablets being the better sellers. If you need your device and your access to the internet to be mobile for business or social reasons, you can’t really afford to be without a phone.
Better choice and better contracts should be better for everyone – keeping someone locked into something they want no part of is counterproductive, and will generate bad PR that is going to drive other potential people away. If you make it easy to join and easy to leave and then just have a great product that is something that is really easy to market.