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Transferring your mobile number to a new phone

A step-by-step guide to porting your number.
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According to our own mobile phone statistics, a Uswitch survey from 2022 found that 38% of people change their phone every two years. However, changing your phone number can be a bit of a chore. The good news is you can avoid any hassle by moving your existing number to your new phone.

Here's a step-by-step guide to keeping your mobile number and how to use a PAC code.

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How do I transfer my mobile number?

Here's a step-by-step guide on how to move your current phone number to a new phone.

1. Text your current provider to request a mobile PAC code

A PAC code should be given to you immediately over the phone or within two hours by text. This time frame is stipulated by the telecommunications regulator. So if you don't get it, you've got cause to complain.

To prevent someone from stealing your number, networks will want to verify your identity. So expect to be asked some questions and have the relevant information to hand that’ll help you to answer quickly.

PAC codes are normally made up of nine digits and will be valid for 30 days. If time runs out before you've had a chance to use the code you were supplied with, you’ll need to request a new PAC from your existing mobile provider.

Calls to networks to get your PAC code are charged at standard rates.

If the above seems like a bit of a hassle and you just want a clean switch without having to speak to your existing provider, new government regulations have made the whole process a lot easier.

Text to Switch is simple. All you need to do is text PAC to 65075 and you’ll get your code straight away, you don’t even have to make a phone call.

Want to find out more? Check out our handy Text to Switch guide.

2. Contact your new network and give them the PAC code

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

Once your new network has the code, it will get in touch with the network you're leaving to tell them about the number transfer and will schedule the switch.

This will normally be for the next working day. In the interim, keep your old SIM card in your phone so you can continue to use it to make calls and send texts.

If a weekend gets in the way, the process of porting your number 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.

3. Check the SIM works in your phone and the new number has ported across

To do this, just place the SIM in your handset and make a call. Or ask someone to give you a ring.

Alternatively, if you’re not fussed about keeping your phone number and want to switch with a fresh start, text 75075, and you’ll get your Service Termination Authorisation Code (STAC). This ends your contract and leaves you free to switch to a new provider.

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Contact numbers to get your PAC code from your network

Text to switch isn’t for everyone. So if you’d rather speak to your provider on the phone, you can always give them a call. We've included a range of options, depending on whether you're ringing from a landline, your mobile phone or from overseas.

You can also get information about switching networks, and Text to Switch, by texting 85075.

Find your network PAC code

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Transferring your mobile phone number - myths busted

Still got some queries or concerns about keeping your phone number? We field some of the most frequently asked questions in this section.

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 turning off and restarting your handset for full service to return.

Can I transfer a disconnected number?

You cannot transfer disconnected numbers, so do not cancel your existing contract if you wish to port your mobile number.

What happens if my PAC code expires?

In the event that you don't get around to using your PAC code within the 30-day deadline for usage, there's nothing to worry about.

But you will have to contact the network you're leaving to request another PAC code, which you can then use to transfer your number.

How do I transfer my apps, music and games to my new phone?

If you've read the walkthrough above, you'll now know what you've got to do to port your existing number to the network you're joining.

But, of course, when buying a new phone, you're probably going to transfer all your apps, games, movies, music and settings from your old phone too.

That'll mean making a backup of your current phone, and then setting up your new phone using the backup.

To help you, we talk you through the process with our one-stop guides:

How do I transfer my contacts to my new phone?

Inputting hundreds of contact details into a new phone is no one's idea of fun.

To make sure that's not a plight that affects you, it's critical that you back up your contacts that are on your old SIM before you start using your new one.

The first step is to check whether your contacts are saved on your SIM or on your phone.

The surefire way to do this is to simply take your SIM out. If you can still see your contacts, it means they're saved on your phone. Can't see them? That means they're on the SIM.

Assuming they're saved on the phone that you'll no longer be using, you'll need to back them up. We'd recommend using a cloud storage service. Or, if you've got an Android phone, you might be able to use a microSD card.

In the event that they're stored on the phone and you're keeping your old phone and just switching to a new SIM only deal on a new network, you don't need to do anything. Simply input the new SIM in your phone and your contacts will be there.

If they're stored on your SIM, you'll need to transfer them so they're stored on your phone.

This is easy enough to do. Just head to the settings section of your handset and you should find an option to 'copy contacts' or 'import contacts'.

I've heard I can request my PAC code by text message. Is that correct?

It is. As we mentioned earlier, as of 1st July 2019, you can request your PAC code just by sending a text message to 65075.

The telecoms regulator has introduced the 'Text to Switch' system with the intention of streamlining the switching process.

The key advantage is that you'll no longer have to phone your provider and speak to a sales rep from the network you're leaving, whose job it is to persuade you to stay.

Need some more help switching network? You'll find lots of easy-to-follow, crystal-clear advice in our guide to changing network.

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 provided by your old network.

  • Your existing number will then be transferred within a few working days, sometimes even the next working day.

"I've used uswitch twice to renew BT broadband and internet and twice to renew my phone contract and extremely happy on all 4 occasions.

"The mobile renew on both occasions I've placed my order. From placing my order to changing networks and collecting my phone has been less than 24 hours and again it's been cheaper for the exact same service offered from Three and Vodafone do themselves. Highly recommend never had a problem and it's very quick, cheaper and hassle free."

Trustpilot review.

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