Changing smartphones can be a tiring business. Not only do you have to find the phone you want, buy it, set-it up and probably update it, but you also have to worry about a tonne of other things.
One of those things which can prove surprisingly tricky is that of transferring your mobile phone number from old to new – we can relate if you need a hand.
That’s why we’ve put this guide together to help you handle the technical jargon and overall annoyance that comes with carrying your number from one phone to another. So, if you’ve got a new phone on the cards, here’s how you can port your phone number onto it.
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The first thing you’ll need to do if you’re changing network is to contact your old provider and get them to issue you a PAC code (Porting Authorisation Code). This has to be done within two hours of your request, but is often given to you there and then.
Your PAC code should consist of nine digits, with both letters and numbers. It’s also only valid for 30 days, so if you surpass this you’ll need to request another code.
If you don’t receive your code within two hours, contact your network again. It’s not legal for your network to withhold it from you, so if they continue to resist, kick up a fuss and they will issue it to you.
If you’re not changing network then some providers will port your number across for you, so you won’t need your PAC code.
If you haven’t done so already then now is the time to find yourself a new deal with a new phone. This can be done online or in-store, but needs to be done soon after getting your PAC code if not done before.
You can take a look at our huge array of smartphone deals here. When you get your new phone, you’ll need to get to work porting the number across.
Once you’ve got your new phone and your PAC code it’s time to speak to the people running your new network. You can do this by calling their customer service number, which you should be able to find on any documentation you were given when taking out the contract for consumer or business.
Once you’re speaking to them, you simply need to give them your PAC code and they should handle the rest.
Your number should be transported across to your new phone in a day, but if you’re switching over a weekend it may take longer. You shouldn’t lose signal until the number has ported onto your SIM card, so when this happens – reset your phone and you should be back on the network.
Whilst this may sound like a given, you shouldn't have your new phone and SIM card outside the UK when you wish to transfer numbers. If it isn’t in the UK it won’t be ported across, and you won’t be able to complain to your network about it.
Once you’ve reset your phone and got signal then all of the work is done. Your old SIM will no longer be sporting the same number, with that now fully working on your current SIM instead.
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If you have a question about switching networks and keeping your phone number, take a look at our FAQs here.
A PAC code is nine digit code that is issued to you by your old network when you want to port your number to another SIM card. It has to be issued by the network within two hours and is valid for just 30 days. It’s a necessity if you plan on porting your number, and must be given to your new network to have the number transferred.
No. You can request your PAC code regardless of whether you already have a new phone or not. However, as the code is only valid for 30 days, you should ensure that you get the new phone and SIM before that runs out. If not, you’ll need to request a new PAC code from your existing network provider.
Your existing network has to provide you with a PAC code, even if you have an outstanding balance to be paid on your contract. There are only a few circumstances where a network can refuse to hand out your PAC code.
Also, if someone has passed away, you won’t be able to request a PAC code for their account.
Transferring your phone number is no longer a complicated process, so it only take a matter of days. Upon requesting your PAC code you should receive it within two hours, once it’s issued to your new network provider they should carry your number over within 24 hours. However, this can take longer if you issue the code over a weekend or a busy period, after this don't forget to recycle any old phone.
The number porting system is designed to ensure you aren’t without a phone for an extended period of time. Whilst you’ve issued your PAC code, you will still be able to use your old network, once the transfer takes place you might lose signal. However, this loss of service should signify that the move has taken place, so by simply restarting your phone you should get the number on your new SIM.
Written by Luke Hatfield