It’s safe to say that we’re relying on our mobile phones more than ever before, and it’s only fair that we want the best phone deals we can get. If you’re thinking about switching providers in search of a better deal, you’re in luck. It’s now easier than ever to make the switch. Follow on as we guide you through the new switching process and list everything you’ll need to be mindful of along the way.
Before you switch it’s important to check whether or not you are still in your contract as you may have to pay an early termination fee.
Switch Mobile Provider
Most of us have more daily costs than we’d like, and if we find a better mobile phone deal with a different provider it makes sense to switch. Whether it’s Vodafone's unlimited data options, EE's high speed data or Tesco's international call rates work better for you, finding the best deal for your needs is a great feeling.
Reasons why you might want to switch mobile phone companies include:
- You’ve found better phone plan or prepaid price elsewhere
- You’ve found the mobile handset you want at a better price
- Your phone company has closed down
- You’re switching from PAYG to a pay monthly contract
It's now easier than ever to switch
In 2019, Telecoms regulator Ofcom found that too many consumers were unhappy with the switching process, with over a third of customers stating that it was too difficult. Consumers found the switching process stressful and suggested that phone carriers were making it difficult to switch. If you’ve ever been begged by a mobile phone carrier to stay with its network when you’d firmly made up your mind to leave, it’s likely that you’ll share this frustration.
Some customers found the process so daunting that they never got to switching in the first place, with 45% deciding not to switch because they believed it would take too long and 39% turned off by the fact that they had to deal with two different companies.
Thanks to Ofcom, the process has now changed. It’s easier than ever to break up with your provider. In the past, customers had to call their mobile networks to receive their PAC codes, often spending lengthy amounts of time on the phone, but now sending a simple text message will get the job done. The process is quick and easy, and you’ll be in control of the interaction that you have with your provider.
Your PAC Code Explained
The term PAC code stands for Porting Authorisation Code. It’s the code that you’ll need to hand on to your new provider in the switching process if you want to keep your mobile number. This personal identifier is normally around 9 digits long. There a few things to keep in mind when it comes to your PAC code:
- You will need to use your PAC code within 30 days as they expire.
- A mobile phone number can then be transferred from one provider to another between 1 and 32 days of PAC code issuance.
- If you are not issued your PAC code a provider must state the reason why it was not issued within two hours of your text message being sent.
The new network provider switching rules make things easy, but are there any roadblocks that delay or prevent the switching process? It’s important to note that notice period charges are now banned, and as such will not factor into the reasons why you cannot switch. Providers cannot charge notice periods beyond the switch date.
Early contract termination fees are the norm among providers and so it’s important to be mindful of the length of your contract. If you’re looking to find out more about the exact fee you’ll need to pay, it’s best to follow the instructions we’ve included in the Text INFO to 85075 section so that you are aware of the exact cost before you switch for good.
Switching Providers vs Unlocking Your PhoneIf you purchased or paid off your mobile device through a particular phone company it may be locked to their specific network. To unlock the device it is necessary to contact the provider that the phone is locked to. Switching providers is a different process to unlocking a device - unlocking differs depending on the company you are dealing with so it’s best to refer to the relevant phone company website.
Send a Free text to Switch
Whether you’re ready to switch or you need to find out more information about your contract before you take the plunge, follow our step-by-step guides below for everything you need to know about the process. The procedure is the same regardless of whether or not you are a pay monthly or pay as you go customer.
Keep your number: Text PAC to 65075
After you’ve sent this text message you should receive a reply from your current provider within about one minute. It will then send you your PAC code which will be valid for a period of 30 calendar days. If you will need to pay an early termination charge your provider must also include this information in the text message. If you are a Pay As You Go customer and there are any relevant credit charges applicable, you will also find out about these in the text message you receive.
New number: Text STAC to 75075
According to Ofcom, one in six people don’t wish to keep their mobile number. If you’re among those who wish to have a fresh start with your mobile phone number you will be requesting a STAC as opposed to a PAC - STAC stands for service termination authorisation code.
Text INFO to 85075
If you need more details before you switch for good then this is an option for you. If you text INFO to 85075 you’ll receive information about whether or not you’ll have to pay a fee to end your contract early or if you are still within a contract with your provider at all. This option will not result in a PAC code so it’s safe to do if you just want more information before switching.
Unhappy With Your Current Provider?
Here at Selectra, we pride ourselves on having your back by keeping you informed. If you are unhappy with your provider why not check out our handy articles on mobile phone providers, big and small to find the right mobile service for you.
Making a complaint
If you’ve had a bad experience with your provider and you would like to take further action (other than just switching providers) you have a few different options available to you. The first is to make an official complaint to the communications regulator, Ofcom.
If your mobile phone provider is registered to either the Ombudsman for Communications or Cisas and you are unsatisfied with a complaint resolution process you can also reach out to them. The relevant ombudsman will review your case and if you are eligible for assistance they will contact your provider for you.
When you contact them, make sure to provide as much detail about what happened as you can, so that they know the full story. Keep in mind that this option is only for those who have already engaged in the complaints resolution process with their provider and were unhappy with the outcome.
To contact the Communications Ombudsman you can call +44 (0)330 440 1614 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are looking to contact Cisas you can fill out the Cisas online complaint form, phone +44 (0)20 7520 3814, or send an email to email@example.com.
Here is a list of details that are best to include in a complaint, as they will require all of the necessary information in order to proceed with due process:
- The name and address of your mobile phone provider.
- Your name and address.
- A detailed account of both the complaint you made to the provider and the actions taken so far including the reasons why you were not satisfied with the results
- Details on what you would like the mobile phone carrier to do in order to put things right.
- Copies of any relevant receipts or documents to the case in question.
Need a UK phone or SIM card?If you’re looking to get your first phone in the UK, we also have a guide to getting a UK phone or SIM card.