Changing mobile networks can save you money on your tariffs and get you better connected in the places you live and work.
However, it can also be a source of stress if you don't want to get in touch with everybody in your address book to let them know that your number has changed.
Fortunately for everyone, changing your mobile number to a new SIM can now be done quickly and easily over text. All you need is a Porting Authorisation Code (PAC) from your old network to give to your new provider. They can then schedule a switch for you.
In this guide below, we will outline the two methods you can use to change your mobile number using a PAC code. We will also cover other frequently asked questions about the process.
Fastest Method: Text-to-Switch
The quickest way to transfer your number to a new network is using the text-to-switch system. Launched in 2019 by the telecoms regulator Ofcom, text-to-switch was introduced to save consumers time and stress when changing networks.
This is a simple and easy system to use. It just requires you to text 'PAC' to 65075. You may need to provide proof of ID depending on the operator (such as your date of birth).
If you don't wish to keep your number, texting 'STAC' to 75075 will terminate your contract and leaves you free to switch to another provider. STAC stands for 'Service Termination Authorisation Code.
The provider you are about to leave must provide a unique transfer code within one minute of your text. This is the same for a cancellation code if you don't intend to keep the same number. The PAC code you receive is valid for 30 days. If you don't use it within this deadline, your PAC code expires, and you can repeat the process above to request a new PAC code.
Upon receiving your text, the provider you are leaving should also outline important information about outstanding costs, early termination charges or your pay-as-you-go balance. The operator can communicate this to you via text, phone or your online account.
They can then give the PAC or STAC code to your new provider when you place an order for their services. They will contact the network you are leaving and schedule a time for your number to change to a new SIM. You should use your old SIM card for data and calls so you don't lose service until the point when the number porting process happens.
It generally takes only a couple of minutes for your number to change once the switching process starts. Take out your old SIM card and replace it with your new one. You should find in your phone's settings or via calling a friend that you have transferred your number to another network without issue.
Text-to-switch can stop you from being billed by both operators during your migration. Once the changeover takes place, your old contract will end. It also helps you avoid any obstacles your existing provider might put up against you over the phone to keep you locked into your deal.
Alternate Method: Over the Phone
If you prefer to speak to someone over the phone to make the switch, you can also generally call your network provider to request a PAC or STAC code.
Again, it is likely that you will be asked some security questions to prove your identity before you receive your code.
Once you have your PAC or STAC code, follow the same process outlined in the text-to-switch method.
Calling your provider can often have the advantage of prompting them to offer you a better deal to stop you from leaving. You may save the hassle of switching while also saving money and getting more data!
Can I transfer a disconnected number?
You will be unable to port a disconnected number across to your new provider. Make sure you don't cancel your existing contract if you wish to transfer your number across.
What if I have multiple numbers associated with my account?
You cannot use text-to-switch if you have multiple mobile numbers linked to your account (such as with a family package). However, you can still switch by requesting a PAC code over the phone or online.
How to check my contract status before switching?
If you are still contracted with your provider, you can quickly check if you will be charged any early cancellation fees before changing numbers. Just text 'INFO' to 85075 to understand your existing contract without receiving a PAC or STAC code.
Given how early cancellation fees will generally cost you around 90% of the remaining lifetime value of your contract, make sure you understand your contractual obligations before switching. For example, if you are contracted for another 12 months with an operator and wish to cancel this deal, you may need to pay 11 months' worth of fees to leave.
In many cases such as this, it is beneficial not to leave your contract early until the minimum term is up and you can switch without a fine.
How long does it take to switch my number to a new network?
The process can usually be completed on the same day that you communicate your PAC code to your new provider.
However, you may experience small delays if you submit your PAC code on a Friday, where the weekend may get in the way of a transfer.
We recommend going through the process between Monday-Thursday as a result.
Why was text-to-switch introduced?
Before 2019, the only way to port numbers across mobile networks was over the phone. However, many operators charged old customers for notice periods after the switching date. This effectively led to many people paying for two phone contracts simultaneously, despite only being able to use their new provider's network.
In 2017, Ofcom estimated that introducing the text-to-switch system would save consumers in the UK around £10 million a year by stopping this process from happening. It also prevents users from navigating through the often-taxing process of getting in touch with a customer service rep on a working day.
The system was introduced in 2019, and Ofcom estimates it will cost the industry around £44 million over its first ten years of implementation.
You can contact your provider using the following contact details:
Get your PAC number from EE:
Call 079 5396 6250
Get your PAC number from Vodafone:
Call 033 3304 0191
Get your PAC number from O2:
Call 034 4809 0222
Get your PAC number from Three:
Call 033 3338 1001
Get your PAC number from Tesco Mobile:
Call 034 5301 4455
Get your PAC number from Sky Mobile:
Call 033 0041 2639
Get your PAC number from BT Mobile:
Call 0800 800 150
Get your PAC number from Plusnet Mobile:
Call 080 0013 2632
Get your PAC number from ID Mobile:
Call 033 3003 7777
Get your PAC number from Virgin Mobile:
Call 034 5600 0789
Get your PAC number from Asda Mobile:
Call 0808 006 2732
Get your PAC number from Lyca Mobile:
Call 0207 132 0322
Get your PAC number from Lebara Mobile:
Call 020 7031 0791
Get your PAC number from Talkmobile:
Call 0333 304 8064
Get your PAC number from Ecotalk:
Call 033 3800 5500
Get your PAC number from VOXI:
VOXI have no customer support number. You can get in touch via Facebook, Twitter or their contact page - https://www.voxi.co.uk/contact-us
Get your PAC number from giffgaff:
Giffgaff has no customer support number. You can get in touch via messaging them on their contact page - https://www.giffgaff.com/auth/login?redirect=%2Fsupport%2Fpac-code-request
Get your PAC number from SMARTY:
SMARTY have no customer support number. You can get your PAC number by logging into your account & requesting one - https://smarty.co.uk/login
Get your PAC number from Freedom Pop:
Email Freedom Pop at email@example.com & a customer service representative will generate a code for you.
What is Streetwave?
Before you switch your number between two providers, it is vital to understand whether the coverage you will receive will improve from your new network. At Streetwave we map and benchmark the network coverage and quality of the UK's mobile networks. You can find out more about us here: https://streetwave.co/