giant Movístar plans to wipe out lock-in penalty clauses in its
mobile phone contracts, leaving customers free to chop and change
suppliers as they please.
A recent drive towards
eliminating fixed periods that force customers to pay a fee to
release themselves from a given operator means companies are
beginning to see they are a barrier to client loyalty.
Jazztel is currently
offering to pay up to 200 euros towards the lock-in penalty if
customers break their contracts with other suppliers to move to them.
Orange continues to keep
customers on a long-term contract with a release penalty, but with a
points system meaning new mobile handsets or other related equipment
can be purchased with a hefty discount or free of charge when enough
Movístar, in the
meantime, plans to offer unlimited calls to customers on the highest
mobile tariffs and to retail handsets not linked to them as
Bosses at Telefónica
España, the Movístar holding company, say they have realised
contract release penalties may force existing customers to stay with
them, but they put new customers off who do not want to have to
commit to a given supplier long-term.