Mobile operators forced to offer 12-month contract (UK, Europe)
European mobile phone subscribers will have to be offered the choice of 12-month contracts in addition to the increasingly usual 18 and 24 month contracts, under laws passed by the European Union. The legislation is due to come into effect in May this year, subject to ratification by each of the European Union’s nation states.
According to Ofcom spokesperson, the European Telecoms Package has to be transposed into UK law by the end of May. Under it, contract lengths must not exceed 24 months and consumers should have the option to subscribe to a 12 month contract.
The imposition of 12 month contracts will however result in higher retail prices for smartphones as the networks will have less time to claw back their subsidy before the contract expires and the customer seeks an upgrade or to migrate to another operator.
The EU’s telecoms package of laws also mandates that no contract can be longer than 2 years, and that number porting will be limited to a maximum delay of one day. In addition, operators will be required to offer equivalent access to communications services, and operators will have to work towards offering location based information to emergency services when such a call is made.
Finally, consumers will have to be better informed of available tariffs, usage patterns and have the right to cost control notifications when monthly bills exceed their set threshold