Finnish communications regulator Traficom has announced a new text service, starting at the beginning of 2022, that lets consumers check the duration of their mobile subscription via SMS. Every operator that offer mobile network services to consumers will provide the new text service.
Customers can check when their fixed-term mobile subscription contract ends by texting the Finnish word SOPIMUS or the Swedish word ABONNEMANG to the number 18321. In response, the service will immediately send the contract’s end date contract. If the consumer has a rolling contract that is valid for an indefinite period, the reply will tell the customer so.
Consumers can use the service if they receive an offer from another mobile operator and are considering a change of provider. The text service may also help avoid problems when porting a number to a new telecommunications operator. Porting often fails because the new operator receives incorrect information about the final date of the previous contract, said Traficom.
One might imagine that consumers are well aware of when their contract ends, but that is often not the case. And while lack of awareness may not be a large problem, it can stand in the way of competition between operators, as Finland’s Traficom believes. Instant access to accurate information about plan duration will very likely promote reevaluation of satisfaction with existing service among consumers and, as a consequence, more migration from one operator to another.
The SMS service can benefit consumers who have actually been offered alternate service and are considering whether or not it is financially viable to switch at this point in the tenure of their existing plan, or it can benefit those who were not considering switching but now realize that they can do so now or soon without financial penalty. The technical assistance indirectly provided to the process of number porting is yet another plus for Traficom’s text service.
While MNOs already make contract duration information available through their website or apps, the extreme ease of use of Traficom’s system along with the publicity it will generate may well have a near-term effect on the Finnish mobile market.