Transfer your phone number and switch to a new network

By Adrian Vincent 12 Aug 2021, 21:38 Transfer your mobile phone number to a new network

Transferring your existing mobile phone number to a new network is a relatively easy process.

Ofcom have recently introduced guidelines that all UK networks must follow, ensuring the process of switching numbers is as seamless as possible, with minimal downtime or complications.

The majority of the time, you will not even need to speak to someone over the phone.

Before you begin the transfer, you must be aware of any issues you may run into, and ensure you are eligible to transfer if you are on an existing contract.

Make sure you check the coverage of your new network before switching to ensure you have a good signal in your area.

Why should I transfer my number to a new network?

There are many reasons why you would want to move to a new network.

  1. Bad coverage with your current network
  2. Your current network is too expensive compared to other networks
  3. You’ve found a better contract deal compared to your current contract 4 .You are using more data per month than your current contract allows
  4. You have too much data remaining per month and you wish to reduce your data allowance in order to save money

When transferring to a new network, you most likely will want to keep your existing number. Getting a new number can be extremely cumbersome, as you will have to inform all your contacts of your new number. Most people prefer to keep their old number.

If you’re still deciding on a new network, you can use our phone contract deals and SIM Only deals to help you find the best and cheapest deals.

Can I transfer my mobile phone number to a new network when I’m already on an existing contract?

Yes, when you transfer your number, your existing contract will be cancelled.

However, you should be aware that you must still fulfil your monthly payments for the whole length of your contract, as agreed upon when you signed your contract. By cancelling your contract early, you may have to pay an early termination fee.

If you’ve fulfilled all your monthly payments for your whole contract length, you can transfer your number to a new network at any time, without any termination fees.

If you’re on a rolling SIM only 1 month or 30 day contract, you can transfer and cancel your contract at any time without any termination fees.

If you’re unsure of when your contract is over or you do not know whether you will have to pay an early termination fee, you should contact your network for advice. You should also refer to the terms and conditions in your contract.

What is a PAC code?

PAC code

A PAC code is a Porting Authorisation Code number, which is a code that you will require from your existing network when you wish to transfer your number to a new network.

All UK networks must provide you with a PAC code within 30 seconds of requesting one.

The easiest way to get a PAC code is to text ‘PAC’ to 65075 from your existing number.

Once you have your PAC code, you can give it to your new network to begin the transfer process.

A PAC code is valid for 30 days before it expires, after which you will need to request a new PAC code. There are no limits on the amount of PAC codes you can request after expiration.

How long will it take to transfer my existing mobile phone number to a new network?

In most cases, it takes 1 working day to transfer your existing number to a new network, however if you request your transfer after working hours, it may take 2 working days for the transfer to complete.

The process is simple and completely automatic. It will take no more than 2 working days. In the unusual event that there are any issues, you will be contacted by your old network or new network. Such a problem may occur if your PAC code is invalid or more than 30 days old (expired).

Will I lose signal when I transfer my number?

On the day of the transfer, you will momentarily lose connection once the transfer has completed. You must begin the following steps when this happens, in order to regain network connection.

  1. Turn of your phone
  2. Remove your existing SIM card
  3. Insert your new SIM card
  4. Turn on your phone and wait until you have a signal
  5. Get someone to give you a test call to ensure your number has successful transferred to your new network

Occasionally, it may take a couple of hours before you regain signal with your new network. This is completely normal and will eventually resolve itself. If it takes any longer, try rebooting your phone. If you’re still having issues after a few hours, contact your new network for an update.

When can I transfer my mobile phone number?

As long as you still have access to the number you wish to transfer, you can transfer your mobile phone number to a new network at any time.

This includes both during and after buying a new phone, contract or SIM.

There are no drawbacks if you request a transfer after your purchase - it makes no difference.

Transfer your mobile phone number when buying online

If you are making a purchase online for a new phone, contract or SIM, some retailers give you the option to transfer your existing number to your new network at checkout time by asking for your PAC code.

However, not all retailers give you this option. If this is the case, you must transfer your number after you have received your new purchase.

Transfer your mobile phone number when buying in store

If you are making a purchase in store for a new phone, contract or SIM, you must transfer your number after you have made your new purchase.

Transfer your mobile phone number after your purchase

You can transfer your old number after you have purchased a new phone, contract or SIM on a different network at any time. However, you must still have access to your old existing number and it should not be a deactivated number.

How to transfer your existing mobile phone number to a new network

How to transfer number

Transferring your number to a new network should be hassle free and takes 1 - 2 working days.

You need to request a PAC code from your existing network and give the code to your new network. The whole process is mostly automatic and requires little intervention.

1. Request your PAC code

There are several ways to request a PAC code.

Previously, you had to call your network if you needed a PAC code. However, recent Ofcom regulations have made this process much easier by requiring all networks to provide a PAC code within 30 seconds of sending a text message.

The easiest way to request a PAC code is to text ‘PAC’ to 65075. You will receive a reply within 30 seconds, which will include your PAC code. It is important to send this text from the number you wish to keep - in other words, from your existing network.

If you prefer, you can ring your existing network and ask them for a PAC code. You may be required to provide proof of ID if you ask for a PAC code over the phone.

Once you have your PAC code, it will be valid for 30 days before it expires. After it expires, you can request another PAC code if you still need one.

2. Give your PAC code to your new network

Once you have your PAC code, you must inform your new network within 30 days.

If you have an online account with your new network, there should be a section in your account to input your PAC code. Alternatively, you can give them a call and tell them your PAC code.

Below are several ways you can provide your PAC code to your new network:

BT
Give your PAC code to BT online
or call BT on 0800 800 150

EE
Give your PAC code to EE online
or call EE on 150 from your EE number or 07953 966 250 from any other number

iD Mobile
Give your PAC code to iD Mobile online
or contact iD Mobile online

Lebara
Give your PAC code to Lebara online
or call Lebara on 5588 from your Lebara number or 0207 0310791 from any other number

O2
Give your PAC code to O2 online
or call O2 on 202 from your O2 number or 0344 809 0202 from any other number

Plusnet
Give your PAC code to Plusnet online
or call Plusnet on 500 from your Plusnet number or 0800 079 1133 from any other number

Sky Mobile
Give your PAC code to Sky Mobile online
or call Sky on 03337591434

SMARTY
Give your PAC code to SMARTY online
or chat to SMARTY online or email them

Talkmobile
Give your PAC code to Talkmobile online
or call Talkmobile on 5888 from your Talkmobile number or 0333 304 8064 from any other number

Tesco Mobile
Text ‘PORT’ to 23424 from your new Tesco Mobile number
or call Tesco Mobile on 4455 from your Tesco Mobile number or 0345 301 4455 from any other number

Three
Give your PAC code to Three online
or call Three on 333 from your Three number or 0333 338 1001 from any other number

Virgin Mobile
Give your PAC code to Virgin Mobile online
or call 789 from your Virgin Media number or 0345 600 0789 from any other number

Vodafone
Give your PAC code to Vodafone online
or call 191 from your Vodafone number or 0333 3040 191 from any other number

VOXI
Give your PAC code to VOXI online
or call 191 from your VOXI number or 0333 3040 191 from any other number

3. Transfer day

Once you have provided your new network with your PAC code, the transfer of your number should take 1 - 2 working days.

Keep using your old SIM card. On the day of the transfer, you will lose sigal. When this happens, you should remove your old SIM card and insert your new SIM card. At this point, your number should have been successfully transferred

What happens to my old network once I have transferred my mobile phone number to a new network?

Once your transfer has successfully completed, your old network will no longer be active and you should dispose and recycle your SIM card.

If you were previously on a contract, your contract will be cancelled. However, you should be aware of any early cancellation fees that can occur when cancelling your contract early.

If you were on pay as you go, you will lose all remaining credit. You may wish to donate your remaining credit to charity before transferring, which is a service that some charities offer by allowing you to send a premium rate text message.

Can I transfer my number within the same network?

You might find a new contract deal on the same network you are currently on and wish to keep your number. Unfortunately, it is not possible to transfer your number on the same network when making a new contract purchase.

However, you can still remain on the same network and same number with a different contract by upgrading. Typically, the best way to upgrade is to contact your network directly.

What is a STAC code?

STAC code

You should use a STAC code instead of a PAC code if you do not want to transfer your number when moving to a new network.

A STAC code, also known as service termination authorisation code, does not transfer your existing number. Instead, you are given a brand new number.

Similar to a PAC code, giving a STAC code to a new network will cancel your previous contract on your old network.

Will my contract be cancelled when I transfer my mobile phone number?

Yes, your contract will instantly be cancelled, however you will still have to pay the remaining monthly charges for your contract length, and there may be an early termination fee. See cancelling your contract.

Can I transfer a deactivated mobile phone number to another network?

Unfortunately, once a number is deactivated, it is lost forever and cannot be recovered.

Is it possible to cancel the transfer of a mobile phone number?

If you have given your PAC code to another network, it is not possible to cancel the transfer.

However, if you have not given your PAC code to another network, you do not need to do anything. Your PAC code will automatically expire after 30 days, after which nothing will change.

How can I find the best contract deals when transferring to a new network?

You can find the best phone contract deals and best SIM only deals at the lowest possible prices by when transferring to a new network by using our best-in-class comparison tools.

FAQs

How can I request a PAC code?

You can request a PAC code by texting PAC to 65075 from the number you wish to transfer. Alternatively, you can call your network and ask for a PAC code.

How long is a PAC code valid for?

A PAC code will expire after 30 days, after which you will need to request another one.