FAIRER DEAL FOR MOBILE PHONE USERS – CONTRACT RELIEF FOR LACK OF SIGNAL
Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey MP Drew Hendry’s campaign for a fairer dear for mobile phone users looks set to become a reality after the UK Minister for Culture and the Digital Economy, Ed Vaizey MP agreed with the Highland MP’s suggestion of extending new consumer rights for broadband users be extended to mobile phone contracts.
Currently, those who sign up to a mobile phone contract are stuck in that contract for the duration of the term (usually 18-24 months), even when they have poor or no-signal at all. Drew Hendry’s campaign aims to allow users to get out of their contract at any time should they have issues with their signal. Recent changes instituted by Ofcom to the Code of Practice allows broadband and landline users to get out of their contract at any time if the provider fails to provide sufficient reliable service.
Drew Hendry wrote to the Minister for Culture and Digital Economy last month informing him of his campaign and asking for support. In a response received this week, Mr Vaizey said Mr Hendry’s campaign was a “good one” and that he had instructed his “officials to work with Ofcom to identify what needs to be done, including whether additional obligations need to be imposed on mobile providers, to ensure that customers are treated fairly.”
The news comes shortly after the campaign received the backing of Ofcom Chief Executive Sharon White.
Commenting, SNP MP for Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey Drew Hendry said:
“It looks like our campaign – which we only started a short time ago – is set to become a reality. I’m absolutely delighted; it’s a fantastic victory for mobile phone users, especially those in rural areas like my own constituency.
“The Scottish Government is providing a great amount of support in its goal of making Scotland a ‘world-leading digital nation’ by 2020, however too much of Scotland, especially rural areas suffer from a lack of service and the powers required to change the regulations unfortunately remained reserved to the UK Government.
“It is only fair and proper that this protection – which already exists for broadband and landline users – is extended to mobile phone contracts. We had already received the backing of Ofcom at the end of last month, so the last remaining obstacle was the UK government. Now Ed Vaizey has pledged their support, the next step will be sitting down with Ofcom to work out a timeline for implementation.
“The importance of mobile phones in everyday life cannot be understated. Many businesses, especially small businesses, simply cannot operate without them in and for many elderly individuals they are irreplaceable lifelines for keeping in contact with the world.
“Businesses and customers across the country want a better level of service and a better deal. If you don’t have a signal, you shouldn’t have to pay – it now look likes in the future, you won’t have to.”