An idiot's guide to switching networks: a step-by-step guide


Right now you’re probably in one of two network switching camps: the adrenalin spike of “I’m doing this” or the tentative shuffle of “I’m not sure”. Either way, check out your potential savings free of charge here

Certain it’s time to switch? Then read on for our how-to guide. During the switching process, it’s vital not to overlook important details that can cost your business in the long run. However, those pitfalls are easy enough to avoid. Here’s how:

1. First, consider the basics 
  • Don’t cancel one contract before you have secured a better one elsewhere.  
  • Do an audit and ensure you’re not transferring any dormant lines. Often, this happens with tablets as opposed to mobiles, so be sure to double check those. 


2. Carry out a handset audit 
  • Get a list together of all your current IN USE mobiles and data only devices, then decide which ones require or are entitled to a new handset or tablet.
    • This decision is primarily driven by the amount of cash available in the handset fund.
    • Remember: the data storage allowance for the handset is NOT a reflection of the data allowance needed for the mobile plan. 
    • Request a hand set price list from your new operator - all networks publish these.
  • Make sure you receive delivery of all new handsets well in advance. 
  • Note: If your old handsets were acquired through your previous provider, they will be locked. You will need to organise for these to be unlocked, which may result in an additional charge.  


3. Order new SIM cards
  • Check how many, and which sim sizes you need. REMEMBER that some handsets require mini SIM cards. Check online, or with your provider, which devices require special sim cards - is just one of the resources available online to check this. 
  • Order all new SIM cards well in advance.


4. Terminate your existing agreement 

If you are with one of the main networks (O2, EE, Vodafone), then terminating your contract should be relatively straightforward and there shouldn’t be any termination costs for lines out of contract: 

  • Request your Porting Authorisation Code (PAC) - this is your unique identifier, which is valid for 30 days and which can take a week or two to be provided. This will allow your staff to retain their existing phone numbers.
  • Once you've transferred, you'll receive a final bill from your outgoing network, which will include a refund for any overpaid tariff.


5. The day of switching
  • Everyone who is switching networks should be in the UK at the point of switching, otherwise they risk getting stranded between networks!
    • Lines can be switched on different dates and you can try to group them to minimise the workload.
    • Get everyone to insert their new sims into their new or existing (unlocked) handset before the switch is due to happen and remind them to back up data and contacts.
  • The transfer should be complete by around midday, but it can take up until about 4pm. If it hasn't completed by end of day, contact your new network the next morning to help you complete the process. 
  • The old SIM cards will still work for some part of the day. Also, the ability to make calls is not cut off at the same time as the ability to receive calls.
    • If you need your mobile to make calls during the day, you can switch at about 11 am, but you risk missing calls if the transfer has not yet been completed (incoming calls will go to your old voice messaging service, which you will no longer have access to).
    • Therefore, try to use the main line for outgoing calls and swap SIMs in the afternoon, close to 4 pm, or when incoming calls cease.
  • Turning the phone off and then on will update the process.


6. Post switching checklist
  • Ensure that you received all the relevant bundles and add-ons that you need, pay particular attention to those required for roaming and international calls.
  • Brace yourself: Remember that the first bill with your new network provider is likely to be higher than normal as you will be invoiced for the tariff and bundles costs for the period from sign-up to billing date PLUS one month in advance PLUS all usage costs for the relevant period. 


We're sorry but your browser is out-of-date!

Please update your browser to view this website correctly. Update my browser now

See you soon,

Billmonitor team