Keeping and moving your mobile phone number
You've found a great new sim card tariff - maybe even from our comprehensive list of free Pay As You Go sim cards - but you want to keep your current mobile phone number. This is something many of us may need to do from time to time, usually when we switch mobile networks. It's a simple enough dilemma that did not always have a simple solution.
You can also CHOOSE YOUR OWN NUMBER from our lists of thousands of UK mobile numbers, and can swap any of these numbers for your current one, even if you're on a different network. Your network and tariff will remain the same (unless you want to change it), the only thing that will change is your number.
Transferring your number
To transfer your mobile number from one network to another, all you need to do is obtain a PAC code from your current network and give it to your new network.
That sounds easy enough in theory, but this apparently simple task used to be made more far difficult than it should have been by many networks, who obviously do not want you to leave. So they would often come up with all sorts of tricks to get you to stay, from making it difficult to obtain your PAC code to pushing an attractive new deal onto you, whether you want it or not, and even refusing to give you the PAC code outright.
Now Ofcom, the official independent telecoms regulator set up by the government, have decided enough is enough and have made it simple, so you can avoid all the faff and no longer need to contact your network directly to ask for your code.
This is all you need to do to obtain your PAC code:
Simply text the word PAC to 65075
It doesn't matter if you're switching from Pay As You Go (prepay) to contract, or vice versa. The only requirement is that both sim cards are intended for use in the same country. For example, you can move a UK mobile number to another UK mobile network, but you can not move it to a network in another country.
If you have never transferred your mobile number before, or even if you have, you should be aware that you have a legal right to keep your number - it does not belong to the network, regardless of which network you are on.
It's your number to keep
Actually it isn't - the numbers technically belong to Ofcom, who licence their use to the networks. Regardless, you are still entitled to move the mobile number to another network, although you should be aware that doing so is not a get-out clause, and it does not end your contract or relieve you from the obligations of that contract.
If you are on a Pay As You Go tariff do be aware that any credit you have on the sim card cannot be transferred or refunded, and you will lose it when you ask for your PAC code. We therefore advise that you first use up as much of your remaining credit as you can before you ask for your code.
If you are transferring a number on a new sim, check for an expiry date on the back of the pack as you must do so before the sim expires, otherwise you will lose the number. O2, Vodafone and Lebara currently show the expiry date on the back of the pack, others do not. We therefore recommend that you top up (activate). those sims without an expiry date within 30 days of purchase. The network may also ask you to top up the sim before they will allow it to be transferred, but it's simply a matter of using the credit before you transfer it, so you're not going to lose anything.
You are entitled to your PAC code within 24 hours, but using the PAC by Text service it's often done in under an hour, and may be sent to you (by text message) within minutes. All you need to do then is give the PAC code (short for Port Authorisation Code) to the network you want to transfer the number to, and they will then transfer the number for you.
How to move your mobile number
REMEMBER the PAC code you need is for the number you wish to keep
1. Contact your current network and ask them for a PAC code - you do not need to give them a reason - or simply text PAC to 65075 using the sim card that currently contains the number you want to keep.
Note: If you're remaining on the same network you may not need a code. The network may transfer the number for you without the code if you have registered your sim with them, but each network has their own way of working so we can not guarantee this. This article is only intended as a guide.
2. When you receive your code, contact the network you want to transfer your number to (contact details are usually given in the sim card pack) and have your new sim card ready. The new network will ask you for the sim serial number (SSN) which is often printed on the sim card, and will be printed on the sim card pack. If a mobile number is shown on the pack, that number will be replaced with the number you are transferring.
3. Your new network then does the rest for you, and you mobile number will be transferred to your new network sim card.
Remember, alternatively you can contact the network that has the number you want to transfer, ask them for a PAC code and give that code to the network you want to transfer to. That's all there is to it.
The original network will then give you the PAC CODE. All you need to do is give it to the new network.
Now I said it was simple and it is but as I mentioned at the top, in practice many people over the years have complained that the networks can make it difficult, trying to push them to stay with the network, offer a new deal or even refuse to give you the PAC code.
They CAN NOT legally do this. You are entitled to the code within 24 hours, and there is no charge for this service - it is your right. That is why Ofcom have made it simple. Remember all you need to do is this:
Simply text the word PAC to 65075
That's it! That is literally all you need to do to get your PAC code, which must be given to you within 24 hours but may arrive in seconds.
DO BE AWARE OF THESE IMPORTANT POINTS BEFORE YOU PROCEED
- You MUST give the PAC code to your new network within 30 days, or you'll lose the mobile number forever.
- You MUST fulfill any contractual obligations you have with your current network and they will probably ask you to contact them regarding this - but they can not refuse to give you your PAC code.
- If you're on Pay As You Go you will lose any credit remaining on the sim when it is disconnected from that number, which will most likely happen as soon as you request the code.
- The text will usually be charged at your network's standard rate. This means that on Pay As You Go (prepay) tariffs you'll probably need some credit on the sim you're texting from.
- YOU MUST text from the sim containing the number you wish to transfer; that is the number for which the PAC code will be issued.
- You'll receive the PAC code by text and any other relevant information, such as anything you owe on your current contract (but note that the network cannot withhold the PAC code from you if you do have outstanding obligations).
Please be aware that we are not permitted to obtain the PAC code for you, as the network may text the code directly to your sim card. They may contact you to ensure that you are in possession of the sim card. We advise you to have your SSN (Sim Serial Number) ready.
Your first sim card is completely free - 99p is automatically deducted at checkout. No discount code is required, no card details are required and this offer includes free UK postage.
Additional sims are available at 99p each but MUST be bought in the same transaction - we can only supply one free sim card and so can not accept repeat orders.
We're planning to expand this article in the coming weeks to include more information and network contact details for the major UK networks, but if you need any further information in the meantime you should contact your network directly. We can not obtain your PAC code or transfer the number for you.