How to... change your mobile provider

mobile appsAre you cheesed off with your current mobile provider? Have they whacked their prices up unexpectedly and you want out? Well, you might be wondering where to start in a bid to change provider, so here's some useful information for you.

If you want to keep your number when you change companies, the first thing you do is ring your current provider and tell them you want to leave. They will try and guilt-trip you and woo you into staying, but if you're adamant you want to go elsewhere, keep refusing their offers.

Tell your current provider that you want to take your number with you when you change companies, and ask for a Porting Authorisation Code or PAC. By law, your provider must issue you with this immediately over the phone, or within two hours by text.

Your PAC is basically a nine digit code (maybe more) and will be valid for 30 days. Don't worry too much if it runs out, as you can ring your mobile provider again, and request a new PAC. With your PAC, ring up the people you'd like to take your business too, and give them this code.

Once your new provider has it and notifies your existing provider of the port request, your number will transferred the next working day. If you're not bothered about keeping your number, then skip all this and just ditch your current provider and shop around.

Now, the sticking points - it is better to do this at the end of your contract, so ring your current provider up just before it finishes. If you've still got a number of months left on your contract, you will invariably face charges to buy yourself out of your current deal. Some mobile phone providers may charge you a fee to move your number too.

There are some exceptional circumstances which means you won't have to pay out. If you are within the first 14 days of your contract (the 'cooling off period'), then you're golden. If your provider increases the price of your contract mid-term, then you can leave without charge. Or, if you're not receiving satisfactory coverage or customer service, your network might let you negotiate with them.

The numbers to call, to get things under way are:

Three: 0333 300 3333
O2: 0844 809 0202
EE: 07953 966250
Tesco Mobile: 0845 301 4455
Virgin Mobile: 0845 6000 789
Vodafone: 08080 044 423

And that is basically it. Before doing anything, find out when your contract is ending and weigh-up any potential costs involved. If you have 6 months left, then you might want to wait until that period is nearly up to switch to someone else, as you could end up paying for something you're not using, which is daft.

Aside from the networks trying to retain you as a customer, the whole process is rather easy, so don't stick around with a provider that is making you miserable.

1 comment

  • Raggedy
    May I just say most networks have a dedicated customer service number you can call for free from your mobile phone. O2 have 202 for instance and Virgin have 789. If you call those 08 numbers listed above from your mobile, you will get properly stung as it's not yet July! Don't get me started on these "connection charges" all the networks are rolling out in July so they can still fleece us if we dial 08 etc etc

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