Oftel aims to make switching easier

Customers who want to move from one telecoms operator to another should find it easier thanks to a new Oftel initiative

UK telecoms watchdog Oftel has been praised for a new industry-wide initiative aimed at ensuring fair play for consumers and businesses attempting to switch telecoms provider.

The Oftel policy relates to Carrier Pre-Selection (CPS), a service which enables consumers to switch telecoms operator without changing their BT line or needing to dial prefix numbers.

In the past BT has been accused of scuppering customers' attempts to switch away from its own services. Oftel's new ruling now legislates against such practices.

In August BT was accused of being caught up in a dirty tricks campaign, when UK alternative telecoms provider Telco Global Communications complained that the incumbent telco was making it difficult for customers wanting to switch from BT to a new provider.

At the time, Telco Global Communications claimed BT had deliberately and dishonestly discouraged customers from making the switch. According to Telco Global some customers had their applications cancelled by BT without consent while others were told that if they moved away from BT they would struggle to receive broadband services in the future.

Telecoms providers now have four weeks to review and comply with Oftel's proposals.

Eli Katz, joint managing director at Telco Global Communications, said: "Oftel has acted decisively to protect consumers from attacks on their freedom of choice. We look forward to BT voluntarily accepting these proposals in the best interests of UK businesses and consumers."

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