The European Parliament passed into law a new set of telecoms regulations today. This creates a few new consumer rights and as such we could be seeing some changes in the mobile industry in the months to come.
What’s going to change for consumers?
- Switching networks: Currently you can switch between networks and take your number by requesting a PAC code. It can currently take up to two days for the request to be processed; this has been cut to just one day.
- Contract length: We’ve seen the move towards longer mobile contracts. First we had 18 month contracts which rapidly became the norm and now we’re seeing a lot of 24 month contracts. We’ve even seen 36 month contracts in the market. The new regulations mean that customers must have the option of choosing a 12 month contract and contracts cannot be longer than 24 months.
- Various personal data & privacy changes.
What else is changing?
- A new organisation called BEREC (Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications) is being created to regulate telecoms in the EU.
- Spectrum is being liberalised (i.e. the government will no longer specify it’s use or designate spectrum as TV spectrum, radio spectrum or mobile spectrum, etc.
What’s the timescale for it’s implementation?
The telecoms reform package is passed the voting stages and is expected to be signed on Wednesday. It will then become law on the 18th December. However, BEREC won’t be established until Spring 2010 and EU member states don’t need to adopt it as law until May 2011. So we could be looking at 18 months before consumers see these changes in the UK.
Find out more…
Visit the EU’s telecoms page.