Changing your mobile provider can be a real pain sometimes. Once you’ve made it through the maze of options offered by the disembodied robot voice, you’re often left waiting in a queue being reassured how important your call is to the company, until you finally get the wonderful opportunity to speak to a real-live human. Said human will then likely put you on hold again and transfer you to their customer retention department where you’ll be sweet-talked and presented with special deals only available to customers brave enough to consider leaving. Even if you manage to get this far, you may still have to wait for a special code called a PAC number (porting authorisation code) to be sent to you, during which time you may get further calls from retentions to try to convince you to stay. Often, it’s not the most pleasant process.
According to Ofcom research, over a third of customers who have managed to switch said they found it difficult to cancel their service. Some customers don’t even make it that far, with 45% of people deciding not to switch because they believe it would take too long and 39% deterred by the complication of dealing with the bureaucracy of two different companies.
If you’re one of those daunted by the prospect of switching, fear no more! Ofcom has made the whole process as easy as could be.
How do I keep my number when switching providers by text?
Once you’ve found your great new deal, simply text ‘PAC’ to 65075 and within a minute or so, you’ll be sent the PAC number from your existing network operator. Give this code to your new network provider and they’ll handle everything from there in one working day. However, you must give them your PAC number within 30 days, or you’ll need to request a new one.
According to Lindsey Fussell, Ofcom’s Consumer Group Director, breaking up with your mobile provider “has never been easier”.
“You won’t need to have that awkward chat with your current provider to take advantage of the great deals available,” she said.
In practical terms, this means you could go looking for a new phone deal in a shop or online and start the process of switching with one text. We love how easy it is!
For business customers, however, the time limit to receive your PAC number is within two working days, rather than the one working day personal customers can expect.
You can also request your PAC number online from your current operator. People with family mobile packages or other customers who have multiple numbers linked to one account can only request their PAC from their provider’s website.
Under the new rules, mobile operators must provide easy to follow instructions to help customers complete the process.
How do I change contracts and get a new number?
We’re glad you asked. Perhaps your old number has been compromised by annoying telemarketers, a clingy ex or more nefarious people or perhaps you just want to end the contract. For various reasons, one-in-six customers don’t want to keep their old number when ending a phone contract. In this case, simply text ‘STAC’ to 75075. STAC stands for Service Termination Authorisation Code and it means you can leave your provider without jumping through hoops on the phone to customer retention agents.
How do I check if my phone is still in contract?
Ofcom have thought of everything. If you’re not sure whether your contract is up or not and want to avoid getting charged for ending it early there’s an SMS number for that too. Text ‘INFO’ to 85075 and you’ll get the information you need without making any commitment to stay with or leave your current provider.
A further problem customers can encounter, when switching operators, is finding themselves paying two companies at the same time. Three in 10 customers have experienced this when switching.
These shenanigans have now come to a stop as Ofcom have banned this sort of ‘notice-period charging’ once a customer has requested a switch.
The regulator estimates that this will save UK mobile customers a total of £10m a year. As long as you give your new provider the PAC or STAC number the two companies must ensure there is no overlap in charges.
Another change Ofcom have made for the better is to require companies to actively advise their customers when their contract is up and inform them of the best available package for their needs.
Now that it’s easier than ever to switch, why not start your research right here on Selectra.co.uk. Choosing the best mobile network can be a complicated job, there are many factors to take into consideration. So, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide to the most popular mobile networks to help you. So, what are you waiting for?
|Which number do I text?||Which code do I send?|
|To inform your operator you are switching and want to keep your existing number:||65075||PAC|
|To end your contract without switching:||75075||STAC|
|To check if your contract is up:||85075||INFO|