The SIM Only market is constantly changing and deals are being refreshed on a frequent basis. Understandably not all mobile networks are offering the same great deals, and it is sometimes necessary to switch networks in order to get a better deal.
Switching numbers used to be a long drawn out process but thanks to regulation changes from Ofcom, customers can now switch their number in a matter of days and it’s now a super easy process to follow.
Below we will talk you through how to switch your number and how to get a new deal and cancel your existing contract without speaking with anyone!
Request a PAC from your current mobile network
The first step is to ask your current mobile provider for a port authorisation code also known as a PAC. This is a 9 digital alphanumeric code that is required to help transfer your mobile number from one network to another. It is a unique code just for your mobile number, it will look something like ABC123456.
There are two ways that you can request your PAC, you can either;
- call your current mobile network on their customer service telephone number and they will provide you your code
- Or you can text ‘PAC’ to 65075. Your network provider will send you a text containing the PAC pretty much straight away
The option to text to get your PAC is a recent change and has proved a huge hit with the millions of mobile customers who opt to change networks frequently.
When you request a PAC, your network provider will also confirm the date the code will expire, so make sure you use it within this time otherwise you will need to request a new one.
PACs usually last for up to thirty days.
How do I switch to a new SIM Only deal and get a new mobile number?
This is also a really simple process! Text STAC to 75075 and your current provider will reply with your Service Termination Authorisation Code (STAC).
They will again give you any information if you are still your minimum term contract and if any early repayment charges would be payable.
Once you have your new SIM Only deal you can give your STAC to your new mobile provider and they will handle the rest
Give the PAC to your new mobile network
The next step of course is to provide the PAC to your new mobile provider.
Of course the sooner you give your PAC to your new network the quicker the switch will happen, but generally speaking once your new network has the code the switch will happen within one working day.
You will generally lose service for 10 minutes or so but mobile networks are getting better and better at reducing any downtime. Whilst you are waiting for the transfer to happen, it’s normally best to keep your old SIM card in your phone so you can continue to receive and send texts and calls, and then wait for the coverage to disappear and switch SIM cards.
You can of course start using your new SIM card and the great new deal you secured but you will be using a temporary number until the switch is done.
Once this process has been completed, your old contract with your old network provider will be cancelled, it's a good idea to remember to cancel any old direct debits. Keep an eye out for your last bill from them as you may be liable for one last pro-rated charge, or they may also owe you money!
Am I eligible to switch?
If you’re not sure whether you’re still in your minimum term contract with your current mobile network and would like an easy way to find out if you are eligible to switch.
You can simply text INFO to 85075, they will reply with your current contract status and whether you are eligible to cancel your contract or not.
Things to keep in mind
As previously mentioned, switching networks and keeping your number (or taking a new one) is such a simple process. There’s just a few highlights to remember.
Validity: The PAC or STAC that you get will only be valid for thirty days, so do ensure that you use the code within this time frame.
Transfer: The actual transfer of your mobile number between networks takes only a few minutes. You will actually lose service, change SIM cards and reboot your mobile. You will need to be in the UK on transfer day otherwise the transfer may not work correctly.
Penalties: If you are canceling a contract early you will have to pay penalty fees. When requesting a PAC or STAC your current network will inform you of any such charges.
How long does it take to transfer my number?
When you give your PAC number to your new network, the process to port your number will begin on the first working day, and should be done on the second. So, if you give them your PAC code on a Friday, the switch will happen on the next working day (Monday).
Your phone number will remain connected to your old SIM card until the switch happens. Keep using your old SIM – even after you have given your PAC code to your new network. This is to make sure you don’t lose service. When your current SIM loses signal then you can begin using your new SIM.
What happens if I change my mind?
Your PAC or STAC will expire after thirty days, if you haven’t used the code you requested within this time because you changed your mind or just forgot to use it. Then your existing service will continue as normal.
If you forgot to use your code but still want to, then you just need to request a new code in the same way and use it within the time period.
What is the difference between PAC and STAC?
A PAC is used if you wish to change mobile networks and keep your existing number.
A STAC is used if you wish to change mobile networks but get a new mobile number.
They both work in the same way, that they will act as a signal to your current network that you wish to cancel your current contract.