The steps required to switch to a new mobile network have changed. As of 1st July 2019, it's now easier than ever to move from one provider to another.
Part of Ofcom's wider Fairness for Customers programme, a simple text message is all it now takes to switch networks. Previously, customers had to get in touch with their mobile operator directly (usually via a phone call) to make the change, which Ofcom research revealed was a major deterrent for almost a third (31%) of switchers.
We take a look at the new and improved rules around network switching, and find out exactly what you need to do to change providers.
Why Switch Networks?
The chance to save money by moving to a new tariff is a major perk of switching networks. If you've discovered a better deal that's available with another provider, it makes sense to switch.
If your current mobile contract has ended, you'll be able to switch without facing any charges. However, if you're looking to switch mid-contract, be aware that this will be subject to an early-termination fee (which is the equivalent of your remaining months' line rental).
You're not restricted by tariff type either. If you were previously signed up to a 24-month contract, for example, but you'd like to sign up for a SIM-only deal instead, you can - and vice versa.
How Do I Check If I'm Still In Contract?
Firstly, you may want check whether your existing agreement is finished, or if you're still in contract. If you are, you'll be asked to pay an early termination charge (as mentioned above), if you do want to go ahead and switch.
To check if you're still in contract, and see how much is left to pay if you are, all you need to do is text 'INFO' to 85075. You'll receive a text reply detailing the status of your existing contract.
How Do I Keep My Current Number?
If you've decided to switch networks, then you can either keep your existing mobile number or continue with a new one. The process will be slightly different, depending on your decision.
To keep your existing mobile number and switch providers, simply text PAC to 65075. You'll receive a reply detailing your unique PAC (Port Authorisation Code), which is required by your new network to carry forward your existing mobile number.
Once you've done this, and you've ordered your new contract, you just need to contact your new network to let them know your PAC. This will cancel your previous network connection, and carry your old number forward to the new contract. You can find out more, including network contact details, right here
How Do I Get A New Number?
New contracts come with a new mobile number as standard, so you'll automatically receive one when you purchase a new deal. To cancel your old number outright, the process is very similar. In this instance, however, you'll just need to request a STAC (service termination authorisation code). You can do this by texting STAC to 75075.
This time, however, when you supply the STAC to your new network, it will cancel your old number, and won't carry it forward. Again, you can find more information here
How Long Does Switching Take?
There's no need to worry about losing connection for long - switching networks is a fast process. The entire switch should take no longer than one working day, and while you may be out of service for a short period of time, you'll be back up and running quickly with your new provider.