Switching to another network
This guide is for those of you who aren’t sure of the process and want to know why it’s worth doing, how to do it and other commonly asked questions:
You may or may not have considered changing your mobile phone network but it isn’t as difficult as you think and there are many benefits to doing it.
Most people dismiss changing network when getting a SIM-only contract or mobile phone deal. Just the thought of it can be a hassle particularly if you’re not sure of the process and you’ve already spent some time trying to find a deal in the first place.
Many customers are also hindered by the fact that their phone is locked to a particular network and are afraid of getting it unlocked (For more information – check out our Unlocking Guide). Depending on the make and model of your phone it can be really easy to do this as well.
The benefits for switching are quite obvious really. I too was afraid to do it having been with T-Mobile for over 10 years! It’s almost like breaking up from a girlfriend although not nearly as heartbreaking I guess. Anyway, it was for the best as by switching network I was able to save over £120 a year. The great news is that you can save money too!
Of course, there are other benefits. Changing network will give you the freedom to opt for a network that gives you better value, not just in terms of price but better customer service, better coverage and network specific promotions or extras.
Before you contact new providers or consider changing to a new provider, you need to work out your mobile phone usage pattern. To do this, you should sit down with your monthly mobile phone bills and work out how many texts you use, phone calls you make, how many times you use your voicemail service and how much data you use or how much internet time you use.
You should also look at the times you make the most calls and workout whether you use it more at peak times or off peak, as this can significantly affect how much you will pay and which providers deal will be best suited to you. Once you have worked this out you will have a pretty good idea of the requirements you will be looking for from your new provider.
When making initial inquiries, a good place to start is to use one of the many price comparison websites like SIMonlyContracts.co.uk for SIM Only Deals. There are several sites that compare mobile phone deals exclusively and they are very useful as you can type in all your requirements and the best providers for you will be chosen.
Mobile phone and SIM-only tariffs are changing nearly all the time and there are usually new deals every quarter. It’s in these situations where a 30-day SIM-only contract comes in very handy as it allows savvy customers to change to improved deals if they are available on other networks. For the rest of us it is usually more beneficial to opt for a 12-month contract that offers long lasting value.
You can calculate how much you could save by switching to a better SIM-only tariff right here.
One of the most common doubts you may have about switching network is whether you can keep your existing number. The answer is yes you can! A lot of people forego this option not realising it’s possible. It will save you a lot of hassle not having to tell people your new number or having to update your details on any personal accounts, etc.
1. Call your existing phone network and ask them for your PAC code.
This is basically a nine-digit authorisation code specifically assigned to your number and allows you to transfer it to your preferred network.
Your PAC code is valid for 30 days which should be plenty of time for you to find a new provider if you haven’t already. If you do run out of time you can request another code.
Please note: You must be the account holder to get the PAC code and in most circumstances there is no reason for the network to refuse to give it to you.
2. Call your new network to request your number to be ported over.
Once you have your PAC code and have a new SIM card from your new provider, simply call and ask them to port your number over to their network. They will then request the nine-digit code you got from your old provider and then give you a date for the transfer. This will typically be between 2-7 days at the most.
Please note: Do not cancel your old contract until the number has successfully been ported over.
Also be aware that some networks may charge a processing fee for changing networks and you will also be liable for any remaining fees that are due on that contract.
If you have any further questions or issues with you PAC code or number porting then contact your network or Ofcom.
- Find a better SIM-only deal on another network
- Before switching, call your provider to see if they can offer you an improved deal to match it
- Make sure your phone is unlocked, if it isn’t get it unlocked first. See our guide here.
- Use up any credit or switch towards the end of your billing period
- Ideally you will want to cancel a contract when it has finished but if it hasn’t then you may need to pay a termination charge to get out of it
- Purchase your new SIM
- When you’re ready, call your existing network for the PAC code
- Give your PAC code to your new provider and let them do the rest