Getting the best deal on mobile phones

On Thursday 16th October, I asked the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport about competition in the mobile operators’ market. I know a number of constituents in the past have raised concerns about competition in the mobile operators’ market and trying to find the best deal, especially since Phones4U went into administration.

When many families are concerned about the cost of day-to-day living, it’s important that people can find the best phone deal at the best price to suit their needs.

Ensuring competition is vital to give consumers the best choice and the best price. There are a number of fantastic independent mobile retailers here in Amber Valley, it is important that the mobile phone operators’ market is regulated properly to make sure these companies are not pushed out by the larger retailers to ensure consumers can find the best deal.

You can see my questions to the minister and his responses below:

Nigel Mills MP: What assessment he has made of the effectiveness of competition in the mobile network operators’ market.

The Minister of State, Department for Culture, Media and Sport, Edward Vaizey: It is for Ofcom to assess competition in the mobile communications market, and I am pleased to tell my hon. Friend that it has found the UK mobile market to be one of the most open and competitive in the world.

Nigel Mills: I thank the Minister for his answer, but he will know of the recent decisions by the big networks to bring their retailing in-house so that they can keep more of the profits, resulting in the closure of Phones 4u. These decisions risk reducing customer choice and raising prices. Is it not time to ask Ofcom to look at this again before we lose all our retail competitors and end up with a mobile phone market as rigged as the energy market?

Mr Vaizey: It is not appropriate for me to comment on the commercial issues surrounding the decision of the owners of Phones 4u to put the company into receivership, but it is possible to purchase mobile phones not just through the operators’ shops but on the high street and from online outlets; and mobile virtual network operators are also providing a great deal of competition.