Under new guidelines from Ofcom, from 1 July 2019 consumers will be able to switch mobile network and take their number with them via a text message command. Ofcom will also prevent networks charging consumers for a notice period, which often sees them paying for their old and new contracts at the same time.

In the meantime, changing your network and taking your number with you is still do-able, albeit less simple. Getting a brand-spanking new phone or a new SIM is often ruined by the feeling that you’re going to have to message every single person with your new number. Thankfully it’s an easy process to keep your phone number when you upgrade.

Keeping your number on the same network

If you’re upgrading your phone but staying with the same network, your phone number should switch over automatically, but do double check this with your provider.

Keeping your number on a new network

If you’re switching network provider you will need to get your PAC (Porting Authorisation Code). This is a unique code that allows you to transfer your current phone number to your new network provider.

To get your PAC code you need to contact your current network provider and ask for your PAC. They are required to give you the PAC within 2 days of your request.

Make sure you do this before disconnecting your current SIM card or you’ll be stuck with the new number.

  • EE Customer Support: Website | Phone: 150 from your EE handset or 07953 966250
  • Vodafone Customer Support: Website | Phone: 191 from your Vodafone handset or 0333 3040191
  • Three Customer Support: Website | Phone: 333 from your Three handset or 0333 3381001
  • O2 Customer Support: Website | Phone: 202 from your O2 handset or 0344 8090202
  • Tesco Mobile Customer Support: Website | Phone: 4422 from your Tesco Mobile handset or 0800 0304422
  • Virgin Mobile Customer Support: Website | Phone: 789 from your Virgin Mobile handset or 0345 6000789
  • GiffGaff Customer Support: Website | Phone: 0843 9020762

Have your PAC code at hand when you contact your new network provider. Let them know that you want to keep your current phone number and give them your PAC code.

You have 30 days to use this code, but don’t leave it to the last minute.

It takes around two working days for your old phone number to transfer to the new SIM card, but your network provider should be able to give you a clear timescale.

How to get your PAC by text message

This is not possible right now, but from 1 July 2019 you'll be able to complete the following steps to get a switching code with a text message.

  • Send a free text message to your operator containing a short code that confirms whether you want to keep your number (numbers and short codes will be provided nearer the time)
  • Your operator will immediately respond with your PAC (valid for 30 days) if you're keeping your number, or a cancellation code if you aren't
  • Give this code to your new mobile operator, and the switch will take place within one working day