How do I keep my number when I switch?

<< How to switch networks

The text-to-switch initiative (launched by Ofcom in July 2019) enables users to request their Porting Authorisation Code (PAC) or Service Termination Authorisation Code (STAC) with one simple text message. This means that switching should now be comparatively quicker and easier than before.

Following is a general overview on how and when to switch using the text-to-switch scheme. For some networks, you will need to include additional info such as your date of birth. See our ‘switching from’ and ‘switching to’ post for individual network info (the links are at the end of this post).

Text-to-switch: How does it work?

Simply text "PAC" to 65075 if you would like to keep your existing number or text "STAC" to 75075 if you want to terminate the contract and the number. If you want to find out whether you are still “in-contract”, just text 'INFO' to 85075. The PAC, STAC and INFO numbers are the same across ALL networks.

Your current provider is required to send you a response with the requested info and/or codes via text within one minute. The reply from the provider must contain any relevant information about early contract cancellation charges, as well as any remaining balance on the account for Pay-As-You-Go customers. You will still need to call your provider if you have more than one connection on the same contract.
This PAC code is valid for 30 calendar days once issued, so you must find a new contract to switch to, purchase the contract and activate your account with the new vendor. If you exceed this timeframe, you’ll need to ask for a new PAC code. You can request your PAC / STAC / INFO reference as many times as you like and, if you choose not to switch, you won’t be penalised in any way.

When you’ve chosen your new network, forward them your PAC reference. They are then required to ensure that the switch is completed within one working day. Once the mobile number has been ported, you’ll know as your old SIM will stop working and your new one will work using the same number you used to have.

Important – don’t forget that the PAC only switches your phone number from one SIM card to another, it DOES NOT transfer anything you’ve saved to your old SIM card (e.g. friends’ contact details, text messages, pictures etc.). To keep this saved data, you’ll need to do a separate transfer of your SIM data from your handset to your computer, and onto the new phone. For help with this, you can walk into any independent high street retail store (e.g. Phones 4U, Carphone Warehouse, The Fonehouse etc.).

When to switch?

Our advice is to only switch networks if you’re in the final month of your contract, or if your contract term has expired. This will safeguard against any early termination charges as you will still be required to honour payments to your old provider for the duration of the agreed contract.

Ofcom has banned mobile providers from charging for notice periods that run after the switch date - to ensure there is no double payment, you will need to give your new provider the PAC or STAC number timeously. If you are intent on moving mid-contract, you can expect to pay extra to be released from your current contract. You can view our guide on when to switch here.


Switching FROM each network:

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See you soon,

The Billmonitor team