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Switch mobile network

Switching mobile network providers is easier than ever before - it’s as simple as sending a text or going online - and it’s faster than you might think. So, if you’re at the end of your contract and want a better deal, or you don’t get a good signal with your current provider, you can simply change mobile network to one that works better for you.

Ofcom, the communications regulator, has introduced legislation that has made it easier for us to switch mobile networks. In the past, one of the things that may have put you off switching providers is the fact that you had to speak to your current provider to do so. Now, you won’t have to do that.

Before your current contract ends, your mobile provider will send you a notification with details of your contract end date and the best deals they’re offering. You might be happy with your network and choose to do a phone upgrade. Or you might decide to switch network.

How do I change mobile network?

All you have to do is request a PAC code or STAC code to change phone network, and pass it onto your new provider. They’ll arrange for the switch to be completed within one working day.

The quickest way to get your PAC or STAC code is by texting PAC to 65075 or STAC to 75075, you’ll usually receive the code within a minute. Alternatively, you can get the code from your network, either online or by phone.

If you're ready to switch networks, check out our great-value mobile phone deals and see how much you could save if you switch with us.

How to change mobile network and keep the same number

Switch mobile phone provider by text

Having a new phone number can be a real hassle, which is why most people choose to keep their phone number when they switch network. You might think it would be a complicated process but it’s now streamlined and stress free.

Switch mobile phone provider online

Keeping your phone number when you change network is known as porting your number, and to do this you need a porting authorisation code - or PAC code. You give this code to your new provider and they handle the transfer of your number as well as the cancellation of the service from your current provider. This is normally scheduled for the next working day. Then all you have to do is check that your new SIM card or eSIM profile works, and that your number has ported across.

Switch mobile phone provider over the phone

If you’d prefer to get a new number when you switch network, instead of a PAC code, you need a STAC code - service termination authorisation code. The rest of the process for changing your number is the same as it is for switching phone network and keeping your number - except that you’ll have a new number at the end of it.

How to cancel a phone contract

A phone contract is exactly that - a contract. When you take one out, you’re usually signing up to a 24-month commitment with a network. But what happens if the current plan you’re on is no longer right for you? If you’re wondering how to cancel a phone contract, we have the answers.

Can I cancel my phone contract early?

If you want to know when you can cancel your phone contract, the answer is that you request to leave your network at any time. There’s a good chance you’ll be able to but you’ll have to incur a cancellation fee.

How much does it cost to cancel a phone contract?

In most cases you’ll be expected to buy out your contract, meaning you’ll pay the total remainder of the contract. Therefore, the cost will depend on how much your monthly payments are and how far into the contract you are. If you’re lucky, you might be offered a discount.

How do I cancel my phone contract without paying?

If your contract was taken out online or over the phone, you have a 14-day ‘cooling-off’ period which allows you to cancel your phone contract without paying. This is not the case for contracts signed in store.

What happens when a phone contract ends?

Your service doesn’t just switch off. When a contract ends, you’ll just carry on with your old provider on the same tariff until you either cancel your phone contract or get an upgrade.

What happens if I stop paying my phone contract?

If you stop paying your phone contract, your account will go into arrears. This means your network could cut your phone off so you won’t be able to make or receive phone calls until payment is received.

Switch mobile network FAQs

Can I switch mobile networks?

If you're out of contract, you’re eligible to switch mobile network without a charge. You can find out if you’re eligible and if any charges will apply, by texting INFO to 85075. If you're on Pay As You Go or a rolling contract, you are eligible to switch any time.

Do I need to unlock my phone to change network?

Yes, if you’re keeping your current phone, it’ll need to be unlocked to change network. Your current network provider should unlock your phone for free if you’re out of contract, but bear in mind it can take up to 10 days.

Can I switch from contract to SIM-only?

If your phone is still working and you want to keep it, switching to SIM-only could be ideal. You could save a lot of money, as you'll just be paying for calls and data rather than paying off a new handset.

Can I switch from contract to Pay As You Go?

If your contract's coming to an end, you may want to switch to Pay As You Go. This puts you in control of how much you're spending.

Can I change my mobile provider mid-contract?

You can cancel your phone contract mid-term, though the chances are you'll have to pay a termination fee - usually that means buying out the rest of your contract.

How long does it take to switch phone networks?

Once you've requested your PAC or STAC code, and passed this onto your new provider, they'll arrange for the switch to be completeed within one working day; however, this may take slightly longer. From April 2023, you will be able to select the day that the port goes through on.

How long will I be without service when I switch networks?

Your new network provider should aim to complete the switchover within one working day, however, this may take slightly longer. From April 2023, you will be able to select the day that the port goes through on.