Providers must notify their mobile phone, landline, pay-TV and broadband customers when the end date of their contract is approaching and identify the best alternative deals available to them, under new rules announced by Ofcom on 15 May.

The goal of the UK’s communications watchdog is to assist users to avoid overpaying for their communications services. It first announced in July 2018 its intent to help people get better deals at the end of their current contracts.

Its research indicates that over 20 million people remain with their plan beyond the contract end date, often without being aware of doing so.

Under the new rules, providers will need to give annual reminders to those who choose not to switch to another plan and that they still have the option to do so.

Companies subject to the new rules have until 15 February 2020 to update their systems and begin notifying customers about their options.

The new rules require providers to email, text or send a letter to their customers from ten to 40 days prior to the end-date of their contracts with the following information.

  • The date they can terminate their contract without incurring a penalty.
  • Their current contract price.
  • Any changes in service or price that will automatically occur after the contract end date.
  • How much notice they must give the provider to cancel their deal.
  • The best alternative deals the provider has on offer, including those available to new customers.

The regulator added that the typical customer can save about 20% by choosing a new deal rather than remaining on their old plan after their contract end date.