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  • C1 - Unclassified

    Vodafone Limited, Vodafone House, The Connection, Newbury, Berkshire, RG14 2FN, England. Registered in England No. 1471587 Page 1 of 29

    Vodafone

    June 2017

    Response to Ofcom’s Consultation: Consumer switching: proposals to reform switching of mobile

    communications services

    Non Confidential version

  • C1 - Unclassified

    Vodafone Limited, Vodafone House, The Connection, Newbury, Berkshire, RG14 2FN, England. Registered in England No. 1471587 Page 2 of 29

    Executive summary 1. When changing provider consumers want a simple and effective process, coupled with information

    on the consequences of their switching decision. If this process is effective the consumer is rightly

    agnostic to underlying back-office processes. Ofcom has proposed text-to-switch which at a headline

    level appears to be an effective consumer process, but upon investigation is sub-optimal in consumer

    experience terms by not recognising the complexities of today’s product offerings and risks

    undermining safeguards provided by the Consumer Rights Directive. Vodafone instead proposes an

    alternative to improve consumer experience and recognise the complexity of what consumers

    actually buy from operators, while being more cost efficient.

    2. The existing UK mobile switching processes are highly effective. 98% of mobile ports are completed on time within 24 business hours. The UK’s mobile switching processes exceed the capabilities of

    other sectors in the UK such as energy, and mobile switching in other countries.

    3. Ofcom’s proposals to restrict extended notice periods will ensure that all mobile switching customers can immediately benefit from the speedy high quality switching processes unleashing the benefits of

    mobile switching for all customers.

    4. In order to support the reality of a very fast paced mobile switching process, customers must be very well informed about the impact of their switch in their existing contractual arrangement especially

    when speedy switching conflicts with customers’ ability to readily exercise their consumer rights to

    cool off. Providing customers detailed information about early termination charges, inclusive services

    that might also cease; how and when to cancel direct debits to avoid debt collection issues are

    important aspects of the switching process, and their absence could lead to higher levels of

    complaints.

    5. Ofcom finds that the majority (circa 84% of those use it) of customers are happy with the PAC by phone process, therefore it is logical to build upon that process to achieve the best outcomes for all

    users. Ofcom’s AutoPAC proposals will exchange one set of concerns about access to the PAC, for

    another set of concerns regarding the provision of accurate detailed information about the overall

    service impact, unless of course we introduce a duplicative second step in the process requiring

    customers to phone their supplier for the missing information. The proposed automated process

    supported by short SMS information feeds is simply inadequate for the large majority of the 6.2

    million1 customers switching each year.

    6. The conflated presentation of the cost benefit analysis which merges costs and benefits for separate proposals conceals the fact that the cost benefit analysis for AutoPAC is not positive. Coupled with

    the very real additional complexities created by this process, it is clear that overall it is a far worse

    1 Porting and cease and reprovide.

  • C1 - Unclassified

    Vodafone Limited, Vodafone House, The Connection, Newbury, Berkshire, RG14 2FN, England. Registered in England No. 1471587 Page 3 of 29

    solution than exists today and with substantial costs. The proposal for dramatic process change are

    disproportionately costly in light of the lack of evidence of harm; the failure to consider the downsides

    for customer cooling off capabilities; the necessity for additional customer engagement to properly

    cease and switch their services; along with the failure of the cost benefit analysis to be properly

    substantiated.

    7. Vodafone considers that Ofcom’s objectives can be better met, at far lower cost, by a restructuring of the existing process. Our proposal is to restructure the leaving conversation so that customers are

    provided with a PAC code at the start of the call with the supporting information provided afterwards.

    In that way customers who wanted speedy access to the PAC can have it while the larger majority of

    customers continue to be able to access full service information without further ado. We propose

    that this is supported by an industry code of practice. Working in tandem with the removal of notice

    periods, our proposal would increase customers’ confidence in switching, at the same time enabling

    sophisticated switchers to experience simpler and shorter engagements to obtain a PAC.

  • C1 - Unclassified

    Vodafone Limited, Vodafone House, The Connection, Newbury, Berkshire, RG14 2FN, England. Registered in England No. 1471587 Page 4 of 29

    Contents

    Executive summary ......................................................................................................................................................................................... 2

    Contents ................................................................................................................................................................................................................. 4

    Introduction .......................................................................................................................................................................................................... 5

    1. The UK has efficient and high quality mobile switching ............................................................................................ 6

    1.1 Mobile switching cross country review – speed of switching .......................................................................................... 6

    1.2 Mobile switching cross country review – quality of switching ........................................................................................ 6

    1.3 Mobile switching compared to other sector services ........................................................................................................... 7

    2. Mobile services ............................................................................................................................................................................................. 9

    2.1 Mobile services are increasingly bundled with additional features ................................................................ 9

    3. Ofcom’s proposals ................................................................................................................................................................................... 12

    3.1 Loss of service................................................................................................................................................................................... 12

    3.2 Out of contract notice period reforms ............................................................................................................................. 12

    3.3 Text to Switch PAC and NPAC................................................................................................................................................ 13

    3.4 Very few customers are not satisfied by today’s processes ............................................................................. 14

    A disproportionate response ...................................................................................................................................................................... 15

    Text to switch creates more harm than improvement .............................................................................................................. 16

    4. Review of Ofcom’s cost benefit analysis ............................................................................................................................ 18

    Establishing the cost benefit analysis test ............................................................................................................................. 18

    Cost benefit analysis in this proposal ........................................................................................................................................ 19

    Introduction of Auto-Switch: ........................................................................................................................................................... 19

    Prohibiting charging for notice after the switching date ............................................................................................. 20

    End to end management ................................................................................................................................................................... 21

    Providing transparency to consumers: .................................................................................................................................... 22

    Industry policy reform ................................................

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