Transferring your mobile number to a new phone

Jonathan Leggett
Porting your number

Can I keep my mobile number?

Copying contacts and informing your friends of your new mobile number when you sign up for a new handset can feel like endless hassle.

But that's not all. There's also the worry that you'll miss important calls and texts from contacts who didn't note your new number or who you forgot to get in touch with.

The good news is that you can avoid all that worry by transferring your existing number to your new phone. This is called 'porting' your mobile number.

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How do I transfer my mobile number? And what is a mobile PAC Code?

keep mobile number

1) Before you do anything, you'll need to sign up to the network you're joining.

2) Your first move after that is to call up your current provider and request a mobile PAC code (a Porting Authorisation Code). This should be given to you immediately over the phone or within two hours over by text.

PAC codes are normally made up of three letters and six numbers and your carrier will provide you with one for free.

3) The next stage is to contact your new network and give them the PAC code. You can usually do this over the internet or over the phone. But because the PAC number only lasts for 30 days, it's important you contact the new carrier promptly.

Once the network has the code, they can schedule the switch. This normally completed the next working day from the date you provided your PAC number to your new network.

If a weekend gets in the way, the process may take longer. But by and large, if you supply a carrier with a PAC Code on Friday, Saturday or Sunday, you can expect the number transfer to be completed on the following Tuesday.

4) Finally, your last task is to check the SIM works in your phone and that the new number has ported across. If you're happy on both counts, you're good to go.

Provided you've fulfilled your contractual obligations to your existing network or service provider, no fee will apply.

Will I lose service?

The porting process is designed to minimise the time you'll be without a service.

After you've supplied your new network with the PAC code, your old number will remain active. That means you'll still receive calls and texts.

When the number transfer is actually being done, however, your service may go down for a very short time. When that happens, it should simply be a case of restarting your handset for full service to return.

Porting your mobile number when buying online

If you are buying your new mobile online you should still be able to port your mobile number using the following simple steps:

  • Request your PAC code from your existing network and make a note of it.
  • Select a mobile handset and network tariff combination that suits you and order online.
  • You will be sent your phone once you have passed any necessary credit checks.
  • Get connected by following the instructions that come with your new mobile.
  • Once connected, you will have a temporary mobile number.
  • Contact your new network or service provider quoting your temporary number, the number you wish to Port and the PAC your old network provided.
  • Your existing number will then be transferred within a few working days, sometimes even the next working day.

Things you should know about porting

can I keep my mobile number?

You cannot transfer disconnected numbers so DO NOT cancel your existing contract if you wish to port your mobile number.

When you provide your PAC code to a new network the cancellation process will begin automatically with your old network.

In some cases, your old network may transfer you to a pay as you go plan first, allowing you to cancel your contract and transfer your number at your own convenience.

If you are considering transferring your mobile number you should check this beforehand with your network.

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