Switching - mobile

30 October 2014

If you are switching a mobile service, the process for switching will depend on whether or not you want to keep your mobile number.

Changing providers and keeping your number

Keeping your number when switching is called 'porting' your number, and if you wish to switch and keep your old number, you need to contact your current provider and request a Porting Authorisation Code (PAC). This is a numerical code that you must then give to your new provider.

The way in which you request and receive a PAC depends on whether you want to switch one number or multiple numbers (up to 24). In both of these scenarios you can use the Auto-Switch process.

Switching one number – using the Auto-Switch process

To switch one number, you can request a PAC by texting PAC to 65075. You can also request a PAC via your online account on your current provider’s website, or by phoning your current provider. A PAC must be provided to you immediately over the phone or, if this is not possible, your provider must send it to you by text within two hours of your request. If you request the PAC by text or online, it must be provided to you within two working days of your request.

Switching between two and 24 numbers – using the Auto-Switch process

To switch between two and 24 numbers, you will need to request a PAC online or by phone. If you request it by phone, it must be provided to you immediately over the phone or, if this is not possible, within two hours from the end of the phone call. If you request it online, it must be provided within two working days of your request.

Switching more than 24 numbers

To switch more than 24 numbers simultaneously, you need to contact your current provider and they will tell you what you need to do.

PAC validity and switching information

Once you have a PAC, it is valid for 30 days. If it expires, you can request a new one.

Alongside the PAC, your current provider must send you important information – such as any charges that you have to pay if you’re leaving your contract early (known as early termination charges).

What happens next

Once you have given your new provider the PAC, they will notify your current provider of the port request, and your number should normally be ported and ready to use with your new services within one working day.

Changing providers without keeping your number

If you don't want to keep your number when you switch provider then you should request a Service Termination Authorisation Code (STAC) instead of a PAC.

If you want to switch one number, text STAC to 75075. You can also request a STAC via your online account on your current provider’s website, or by phoning your current provider.

Otherwise, where you are switching between two and 24 numbers, you can use the same Auto-Switch process as set out above by phoning your current provider or by requesting a STAC via your online account.

Avoiding double charges when switching

Ofcom has banned mobile providers from charging for notice periods that run after the switch date.

You will need to give your new provider the PAC or STAC switching code, so your old and new providers can make sure there is no double payment.

Compensation if your switch is delayed

If the switch takes more than one working day or there is an abuse of the process by your provider, you are entitled to reasonable compensation from your provider. Providers must inform customers how to access this compensation and how it will be paid.

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