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Ofcom To Push For Try Before You Buy Mobile Contracts

Telecommunications watchdog Ofcom has suggested that mobile phone buyers in the UK should be offered a "try before you buy" period as part of their mobile phone contracts to prevent them being stuck with a long contract with a poor network coverage.

The opt out clause would significantly improve the quality of service that mobile phone operators deliver to their customers according to Ofcom's consumer panel.

Establishing the exact coverage has proved to be an "inexact science" which means that sometimes, moving within the same building can have an effect on the reception.

Anna Bradley, Chairwoman of the Communications Consumer Panel, said in a statement that "While all the focus is on rolling out new services like mobile broadband, our research reveals that large numbers of consumers and small businesses are still having problems making even basic voice calls".

A survey conducted amongst 1700 UK adults found out that more than half of those who used their mobiles had experienced issues with their mobile reception and a whopping third said that it was a regular occurrence.

O2 already offers a "try before you buy" scheme but the results of consultations would mean that Ofcom is likely to present and then implement the plans.

Our Comments

Trying a mobile comes with its own set of issues. How to prevent abuse? Are there any other laws that need to be modified? What would happen to the discarded SIM cards? Would the phones still be treated as new ones? What about the return process? Who is going to pay for that? So many questions.

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Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at ITProPortal.com where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.