Transferring your phone number to a new mobile network is something that millions of us do every year and thanks to ruling by Ofcom, the UK’s telecoms regulator it's now an easy and quick process.
After several years spent arguing their case in the courts, Ofcom won consumers the right to transfer their phone number to another mobile network within 1 working day should they decide to change provider. This simplifies a process that previously could take days.
In the UK, the customer must initiate the process by contacting the mobile phone provider and asking for a Porting Authorisation Code (PAC code), which is needed to retain a phone number when switching. They must then give this to the Recipient before things can proceed.
Arguments between Ofcom and the Mobile Phone Companies have centred around the provision of the PAC code. A PAC code must now be given to consumers immediately over the phone, or sent via text message within a maximum of 2 hours. This decree prevents providers sending out PACs in the post, a practice which forced customers to wait several days before starting a new service.
Your PAC code will be valid for 30 calendar days from the date of request, so make sure you don't delay too long once you start the process.
It should take no longer than 1 working day from the day you provide your PAC code to your new network for the transfer to complete and you to be up and running. In the interim, all calls on your phone will continue to be made via your old network.
Providers now have to pay reasonable compensation to customers if numbers are not ported within 1 working day, or if there is an abuse of the porting system.
Once you have sorted out a new phone and contract with your new provider you are ready to move your number. Your new phone should come with a temporary number so you can make/receive calls while waiting for the switch.
N.B. Your new phone or SIM needs to be in the UK on the day of transfer for the port to be successful.
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