You’ve shopped around for the best deal. You finally decided on a handset you love. You’ve written down all of your contacts and backed up those important photographs to your computer. Keeping your mobile phone number should be the easy part, right? It might seem like endless hassle but fear not – mobile operators are now obliged to transfer your mobile phone number within one working day.

Find out more about transferring your number with our jargon-busting guide below.

The First Step: Get a PAC code

To transfer your old number to a new network you’ll need a PAC code.

What is a PAC code?

PAC stands for ‘Porting Authorisation Code’, which gives authorisation to your new network provider to take the mobile number from your old provider. It is a 9 digit code, usually consisting of three letters followed by six numbers. Simple!

How do I get a PAC code?

When you contact your current service provider, have your mobile number and any account passwords or security information to hand. This will undoubtedly speed up the process.

  • Pay as you Go: If your old number is on a ‘pay as you go’ style service, then you simply need to request your PAC code from your operator. Give them a call and they should be able to provide it straight away.
  • Pay Monthly / Contract: Do not cancel your contract before requesting a PAC code. An expired or cancelled number can’t be transferred to another network. Request your PAC code while your contract is still active. Once your number has been transferred, this will automatically start the contract cancellation process with your old network provider. Be warned – cancelling before the end of a 12 or 24 month contract will generate an early disconnection fee with your previous operator, which often amounts to the remaining month’s charges.

The Second Step: Provide the PAC code to your new network

For specific network information, click your network below:

  • O2
  • Tesco Mobile
  • Vodafone
  • Three (Hutchison 3G)
  • EE
  • Orange (Now EE)
  • T-Mobile (Now EE)
  • GiffGaff
  • TalkTalk
  • BT Mobile
  • Sainsburys Mobile (no longer available)
  • TalkMobile

The PAC code lasts for a maximum of 30 days, so make sure you provide it (along with the expiry date) to your new provider as soon as possible.

The Last Step: The Number Transfer

For you, there is nothing left to do but wait for the transfer to take place. There is a chance you will lose signal on the transfer day specified by the new operator, which is no more than 1 working day after the date on which you provided them with the code.

If you provide the PAC code on a friday, saturday or sunday then you can expect the transfer to take place on the following monday. Some networks will allow you to specify a date for the transfer, to enable you to use up any remaining allowance on your old contract.

If you happen to lose signal on the transfer day then simply restart your mobile. If this doesn’t instantly work, then try again after an hour in order to allow some time for the transfer to take place. Check the transfer has completed by calling another telephone or sending a text message from your new handset /  SIM card.