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Moving to a new mobile phone network

There seems to be a new mobile phone network starting up almost every week: Smarty, Giffgaff and Voxi to name but a few. With this in mind, moving networks may seem like a really difficult task but isn’t!

We will help you by explaining the process (and some changes afoot this year) you can also read about  the difference between the UK mobile networks and mobile virtual network operators by taking a look at our guide to MNO’s and MVNO.

Why move networks?

You might think there are no good reasons to move network, well there are loads! We have all been told at some point , ‘sorry that deal is for new customers only’  whether this is when renewing house insurance or internet provider, the dreaded words are uttered and you think:  why am I not as important to you now that you have my money and I am paying my bill?

  • Your needs might have changed and your current mobile network does not meet your needs.
  • There maybe a fantastic offer on another network which beats your current deal.
  • There some other benefits on offer with another mobile network that you might actually use.
  • The new mobile phone you are looking for is not available on your current network.
  • You may have moved and the network coverage is not as good as it was.

Are you out of contract with your current network?

Whenever you agreed to your existing deal whether you were given a handset or not as part of the deal, you will have agreed to a minimum contract length, that might be 30 days, 12 months, 24 months or longer (we hope not!). Each network or MVNO will also have a minimum notice that you have to give to end the contract, this is usually set at 30 days, therefore to end a 30 day rolling contract you would have to give notice the same day you connected! The longer agreements are bit easier to understand, if you give 30 days notice at the end of month 11 in a 12 month contract, month 23 in a 24 month contract, your contract will end at the end of the minimum contract term.

You can give notice at any time during the agreement, but you will be liable to pay for the minimum term (30 days, 12 months, 24 months) , if you were to give notice at month 6 in a 12 month contract your would still have to pay the remaining 6 months of the agreement, we hope this now makes sense, getting out of your contract early could prove to be a very expensive exercise. The best thing to do is either check your network app (if you have it on your phone) or check your online bill to find out when your contract ends.

Keep your number get a PAC code.

To keep your number and move mobile networks you will need to ask your existing network for a porting authorisation code or PAC.  You can only get a PAC code if you are moving from one network to another, if you want to stay with your current network and keep your number, you will be upgrading (if you get a new handset) or recommitting with your existing network.

What is a PAC code?

A PAC code (or Port Authorisation Code) is a number made up of usually 9 digits and linked to your mobile phone number. When you request a PAC from your mobile network, they generate the code and attach it to your mobile phone number. When you give the PAC to your new mobile network, this unique identifier tells them which phone number they should bring over to their network, where it’s coming from and which account they should assign it too – yours!

How to use your PAC

Once you have a PAC code you have 30 days to pass onto your new network before it expires. Each network ( and MVNO) have different ways of getting this for you and can take a few days, but by the summer of 2019 all networks will have to give a PAC code by text when requested and without speaking to anyone at the network.  This great news as we think it will make the whole porting process, quicker, easier to understand and the same process across all networks and MVNO’s.

If you happy to change your number you have the easiest process, give notice to your existing network and connect to new one you can take a look at the best available deals here.

Please note that above is all about keeping your mobile number linked to your account, moving your telephone numbers from your phone and sim to another phone and sim is a different kettle of fish.

You’ll find contact details for all the major networks below:


  • Ring 150 from an EE mobile phone
  • Ring 079 5396 6250 from any other phone (mobile or landline)


  • Ring 333 from a Three phone
  • Ring 033 3338 1001 from any other phone (mobile or landline)


  • Ring 202 from an O2 phone
  • Ring 034 4809 0222 from any other phone (mobile or landline)

Virgin Mobile

  • Ring 789 from a Virgin Mobile phone
  • Ring 034 5600 0789 from any other phone (mobile or landline)


  • Ring 191 from a Vodafone phone
  • Ring 033 3304 0191 from any other phone (mobile or landline)

BT Mobile

  • Ring 150 from a BT Mobile phone
  • Ring 0800 800 150 from any other phone (mobile or landline)

Plusnet Mobile

  • Ring 500 from a Plusnet Mobile phone
  • Ring 080 0013 2632 from any other phone (mobile or landline)

iD Mobile

  • Ring 7777 from an ID Mobile phone
  • Ring 033 3003 7777 from any other phone (mobile or landline)

Tesco Mobile

  • Ring 4455 from a Tesco Mobile phone
  • Ring 034 5301 4455 from any other phone (mobile or landline)

Sky Mobile

  • Ring 033 0041 2639 from Sky Mobile handsets, or phones registered to other networks and landlines.


  • giffgaff doesn’t offer customer support helplines. To get your PAC code, contact giffgaff via the web site our your app.

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