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How to transfer your mobile phone number

Ready to up sticks and join a new network? Keen to take your existing phone number with you? Read on as we guide you through the process of porting your number.

Steps to transfer your current number to your new network

Thanks to Ofcom's 'Text-to-Switch' scheme, it’s quick, free and easy to port your existing mobile number to a new network if you're leaving your current contract. We’ll walk you through the process step by step below:

1) Call or text your provider to get a PAC Code

A porting authorisation code (PAC) is an alphanumeric code that you’ll need to transfer your number to a new network.

It’ll be valid for 30 days after it was supplied to you. If you leave it any longer to start porting your number, you’ll need to get a new PAC.

The simplest and fastest way to get one is to text ‘PAC’ (you can omit the speech marks) to 65075.

If you get your PAC this way, you’ll probably get it sent to you by text message pretty much straight away. At most, you’ll be waiting up to wo hours.

Alternatively, you can log into your mobile account )either via your network's website or app) and request a PAC.

In which case, you can once again expect your PAC to be sent to you minutes of submitting your request.

If you prefer to speak to someone, you can ring your network to get a PAC and they’ll give your PAC straight away.

We’d recommend that you write it down for safe-keeping, as you'll need it soon...

2) Get in touch with your new network and give them your PAC

Your next task is to contact the network you’d like to join. They will handle the number transfer in full and cancel your service with the network you’re leaving.

 The switchover will begin from the point you give the network your PAC.

Once they’ve got it, they’ll book a time for the switch, which will typically take the place the next working day.

You may, however, wait a little longer if there’s a weekend looming.

In these cases, you can probably expect the transfer to take place the next working day after the weekend.

While you’re waiting for the transfer to be processed, you should keep your old SIM in your handset. That way you’ll still have a service and will be able to carry on using your phone.

3) Check the number transfer has been successful

Almost there. Now you’ll just need to check the number-transfer has worked.

To do so, just insert your new SIM in your phone – you should have received the right size SIM. If you’re able to make and receive calls, the transfer has been successful.

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Contact numbers to get your PAC code from your network

With all networks, you only need to use the method above to get your PAC code – there's no need to call them. You can also easily request one by logging in to your account, whether that's via your network's website or app.

But if you want to get in touch with them by phone, we've compiled a list of contact numbers for the major networks:

To get a PAC code from EE

  • Ring 150 from an EE mobile phone
  • Ring 0795 396 6250 from any other phone

To get a PAC code from giffgaff

giffgaff does not have telephone-based customer support. You can text 'PAC' to 65075 using the method above, or log in to your account to get a PAC code.

To get a PAC code from iD Mobile

  • Call 7777 from an iD Mobile phone
  • Call 0333 003 7777 from any other phone (mobile or landline)

To get a PAC code from Lebara

  • Ring 5588 from a Lebara phone
  • Ring 0207 031 0791 from any other phone

To get a PAC code from O2

  • Ring 202 from an O2 phone
  • Ring 0344 809 0222 from any other phone

To get a PAC code from Sky Mobile

Ring 0330 041 2524 from Sky Mobile phones or any other phone.

To get a PAC code from SMARTY

SMARTY does not offer customer support over the phone. You can either get your PAC by text message or by logging into your SMARTY account online.

To get a PAC code from Tesco Mobile

  • Ring 4455 from a Tesco Mobile phone
  • Ring 0345 301 4455 from any other phone

To get a PAC code from Virgin Mobile

  • Ring 789 from a Virgin Mobile phone
  • Ring 0345 600 0789 from any other phone (mobile or landline)

To get a PAC code from Vodafone

  • Ring 191 from a Vodafone phone
  • Ring 0333 304 0191 from any other phone

To get a PAC code from VOXI

VOXI does not offer phone-based customer support. To get a PAC, you can either text them using the method outlined above, or by logging in to your VOXI account online.

Frequently asked questions

Can I keep my old phone number when I switch network?

You certainly can. All you’ll need to transfer your number is a PAC code. You can get it by sending a text message to 65075, logging in to your customer account on your network's website or app, or getting in touch over the phone.

What is a PAC code?

PAC stands for porting authorisation code and is a nine-digit alphanumeric number that’s required when you want to transfer your existing phone number to a new network.

How long does it take to switch my number to a new network?

In most instances it takes a day to port your number. So you can expect the process to be completed the next working day after you give your PAC code to the network you’re joining.

However, it may take a bit longer if you submit your PAC code on a Friday. In which case, the weekend could get in the way and you could be waiting a few days.

But in general, you shouldn't be waiting longer than two working days for your number to be transferred.

When should I cancel my plan with the network I'm leaving?

Ofcom's 'Text-to-switch' process mean you no longer have to get in touch with the network you’re leaving to cancel your plan yourself.

Instead, the network you’re joining will cancel your contract when you give them your PAC code.  

They’ll also co-ordinate the end date for your service from your current network and the start date for the service from your new network.

Will I lose service when I transfer my phone number?

When the switchover is taking place, you shouldn’t be without a service for a significant amount of time. At most you could be without one for a matter of a few minutes.

And until the actual switch is taking place, you can keep your current SIM in your phone and continue to make calls, send messages and go online.

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