Getting a brand-spanking-new phone or a new SIM is often ruined by the feeling that you’re going to have to message every single person with your new number. Thankfully it’s an easy process to keep your phone number when you upgrade.

Under guidelines from Ofcom introduced in 2019, you can now switch mobile network and take their number with you via a text message - no more sitting on hold to customer services for hours on end! Ofcom's new rules also prevent networks from charging for a notice period, which often sees consumers paying for their old and new contracts at the same time.

Here's everything you need to know about keeping your phone number when you switch networks. 

How to keep your number via text

You can change suppliers in the UK and retain your current phone number simply by texting the number 65075 and including the message PAC.

If you do this then you’ll receive a message from your provider within a minute, including the PAC number (the code you need to give to your new provider) as well as any details of early-termination clauses or pay-as-you-go balances.

The PAC code is valid for 30-days and once given to the new supplier the process should be completed within one working day.

How do I get a new number?

For those wanting a fresh start, leaving behind a number that’s no longer needed, the process is just as easy. Simply text STAC to 75075 to request a Service Termination Authorisation Code. You’ll then receive a confirmation message from the provider, along with any relevant information about early-termination fees or outstanding balances.

This essentially terminates your contract, allowing you to move to a new supplier without ever talking to a customer service helpline.

Calling customer services to keep your number

If for whatever reason you don't want to use the streamlined text service, you can also contact your current network provider and ask for your PAC. They are required to give you the PAC within 2 days of your request.

Make sure you do this before disconnecting your current SIM card or you’ll be stuck with the new number.

  • EE Customer Support: Website | Phone: 150 from your EE handset or 07953 966250
  • Vodafone Customer Support: Website | Phone: 191 from your Vodafone handset or 0333 3040191
  • Three Customer Support: Website | Phone: 333 from your Three handset or 0333 3381001
  • O2 Customer Support: Website | Phone: 202 from your O2 handset or 0344 8090202
  • Tesco Mobile Customer Support: Website | Phone: 4422 from your Tesco Mobile handset or 0800 0304422
  • Virgin Mobile Customer Support: Website | Phone: 789 from your Virgin Mobile handset or 0345 6000789
  • GiffGaff Customer Support: Website | Phone: 0843 9020762

Have your PAC code at hand when you contact your new network provider. Let them know that you want to keep your current phone number and give them your PAC code.

Like with the text service, you have 30 days to use this code, so don’t leave it to the last minute.

Will I have to pay any charges if I switch phone providers?

So long as your contract is complete, usually after 24 months if a phone was part of the deal, then there should be no additional charges. Ofcom states that ‘we have banned mobile providers from charging for notice periods that run after the switch date’, which is good news as it avoids having to pay for both the old and new provider at the same time. 

If you’re unsure whether your contract has finished or not, Ofcom provides a free checking service. Text INFO to 85075 and you’ll be notified of the current status of your contract and any charges that might be due.

There you have it. A quick and easy way to switch between mobile providers. Of course, if you’re thinking of leaving then you’ll want to know what offers are around. So, be sure to read our Best phone network and Best phone deals guides.