How to Port Your Existing Mobile Phone Number to a Different Mobile Network

When you change your mobile phone contract, one of the biggest worries for many people is losing their old number. This needn’t be the case, as you can easily and painlessly transfer it to a new mobile contract. If you haven’t done it before, it’s quite easy if you follow this guide.

Do Your Research

If you want to transfer your mobile number to a new provider, then you must ensure that you set up a new contract before the old one ends, otherwise you could lose your number through it being discontinued. Some networks will transfer your number on to a ‘Pay as You Go’ tariff, so you can change at your leisure. In most cases, unless you are affected by appalling coverage (or poor customer service), it may be that your existing provider can match any offer by a competitor to keep your custom. Usually they will pass you onto ‘retentions’ when you contact them about leaving. So it’s better to do your research first, and make sure you know that you are getting a better deal.

Keep an eye on current release dates for popular mobile makes such as Apple, as a newer model will mean that older models will drop in value, and so will be eligible for cheaper contracts. Likewise if you want the latest model, then it would be wise to wait until its release. After all you don’t want to get a new phone, then a couple of weeks later find out a new model is to be launched.

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Obtain a PAC Code

When you have decided to switch, then you must contact your current network provider and ask for a PAC (Porting Authorisation Code), which they have a legal obligation to provide when requested and have to do so within two hours of the request. If you decide not to go ahead at this point with a new provider, then you don’t have to worry as the PAC code only last for 30 days, after which it expires and your contract carries on as normal.

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Start a New Contract

When you’ve finally done your research and found a new provider, then you can go ahead and order a new mobile phone with them. The new contract will come with its own mobile number, but don’t worry about this, as you will be using your existing mobile until your current contract ends. Ideally, buy into a new contract when you are nearing the end of your old one. Network providers will often try to extend your current contract approximately two months before it’s due to end, just as other networks will try to contact you beforehand with offers to move. If you are on a longer contract, this could be up to three months before the contract ends, which they will sneakily add onto the end of the new contract.

When your new mobile phone or SIM arrives, check it’s what you want, on the tariff you want. If you are not happy in any way, then you have a ‘cooling off’ period in which to send it back, with no legal obligation to remain in the contract. It is worth checking that you are getting satisfactory coverage with the new provider, not just in your home but in your region as well, but remember don’t leave it too late to send it back if it’s no good, as you’ll be locked into a new contract when the cooling off period ends.

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Contact Your New Network

When you’ve decided that your new contract is everything you want, and you are happy with the new phone/SIM, then you will need to contact your new provider with your PAC. This is a simple procedure, and one which your new provider will be more than happy to help with. Don’t expect everything to change over straight away though as it will take until the next day to swap over. If you give your PAC after 3.00pm, you will usually have to wait an extra day as this is the cut-off time for that day’s porting requests. If you request to transfer your number over the weekend, then you might have to wait until Tuesday for it to take effect.

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Transition Period

Once you have submitted your PAC to your new provider, you can’t change your mind. All you can do now is wait for their systems to be updated and swap your number across. In the meantime you will be in a transition period where you will have to carry both mobile devices around with you. Every hour or so, it might be worth switching them both off and on again to reboot, as the new settings won’t usually take effect until this is done.

Once your new mobile is up and running then the old one can be switched off. You can then have the old one unlocked (if it is out of contract) and used as a spare on any network with a pay as you go SIM, or even gift it to a family member.

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