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Switching Mobile Phone Providers

There'll soon be new legislation that'll make switching mobile phone providers easy. Yep, it's true - soon, changing mobile provider will be as simple as going online or sending a text - and faster than you might think.

It's that easy to pull a switcheroo – and you could save money while you're at it.

Why switch mobile phone network?

There are all sorts of reasons why you might want to switch networks - you may be at the end of your contract and want a better deal. Maybe you want better signal. Or simply, you're in the mood for a new phone, and you might as well change networks at the same time.

Switching mobile networks is now easier

Ofcom, the communications regulator, will introduce a new legislation that'll make it easier for us to switch mobile networks. There will be three ways of switching your network provider - by text, online or by phone to your network. Choose the method which is more convenient for you.

Switch mobile phone provider by text

Switch mobile phone provider by text

One of the things that may have put you off switching providers is the fact that you have to speak to your current provider to do so. Soon, you won't have to do that - you can switch mobile phone provider by text.

All you will have to do is ask for a unique switching or PAC code by text and pass it onto your new provider, who'll arrange for the switch to be completed within one working day. Being able to text to switch avoids a lot of the hassle involved in moving from network to another.

Switch mobile phone provider online

Switch mobile phone provider online

As well as switching by text, you will also be able to switch phone networks online. It will be as simple as going to your online account with your network and following the instructions.

Switch mobile phone provider over the phone

Switch mobile phone provider over the phone

You can also switch phone networks by calling your existing provider and requesting your switching code.

Can I switch mobile phone providers?

If you're out of contract, you are eligible to switch without a charge. Call your provider to see if you're out of contract or find out from your own records when your current contract started, then add two years (or however long the contract was) onto that. If you're on Pay As You Go or a rolling contract, you are free eligible to switch any time.

We've explained how a simple text is all it takes to switch mobile phone providers. Now you just need to decide who to switch to.

What mobile phone network providers can I switch to?

You can switch from your current network to all major mobile phone providers. That said, different mobile phone networks may have different network coverage in your area, so that might be worth checking. We explain how below...

Mobile phone network coverage

Check out the mobile phone coverage in your area with each network's mobile phone coverage checker - make sure you're not caught out by dodgy coverage in your area. And for more information of some of the biggest networks, visit our mobile phone networks page.

EE mobile network coverage

EE's mobile network gives customers great access to 4G. On average, customers can access the network 89% of the time – including all the major cities.

O2 mobile network coverage

With O2's mobile network, on average, customers can access 4G around 84% of the time – including all major cities.

Vodafone Mobile network coverage

Vodafone's 4G network launched back in 2013. Back then, it was only available in London – now, it's available all over the UK. Vodafone customers can access 4G over 83% of the time.

Virgin Mobile network coverage

As Virgin Mobile shares its network with EE, you get similar access to 4G as you would with EE.

iD Mobile network coverage

iD Mobile uses Three's network and gives the same access to 4G. It covers around 99.8% of the population.

Can I switch from contract to SIM Only?

If you've come to the end of your contract, but 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. Also, if you choose a one-year deal or even a one-month contract with a SIM Only deal, it'll give you more flexibility.

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. Take a look at some of the best Pay As You Go deals.

How do I switch mobile phone networks early?

You can cancel a contract mid-term, though the chances are you'll have to pay a termination fee. Usually that amounts to the total cost to see out your contract, and it could be a hefty fee. The exception is if you're in the first 14 days of your contract - the 'cooling off period' - when you won't have to pay a termination fee.

When does my phone contract end?

The easiest way to find out when your phone contract ends is to call the network and ask them outright. You can also log into your network's online portal or app and find out there.

  • EE customers: Within 'My EE', the details will appear under your 'upgrade status'.
  • Vodafone customers: Log into My Vodafone and click on 'upgrade or change plan'.
  • O2 customers: In the O2 portal, go to 'My tariff summary'.

How long does it take to change phone networks?

Once you've requested your unique switching code by text or online, and passed this onto your new provider, they'll arrange for the switch to complete within one working day. Once the number's been switched, you'll just need to take out your old SIM and replace it with the new one with your new network.

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

The switch to your new phone network should be complete within one working day, so you shouldn't have to wait for long!

Ready to switch networks?

If you're ready to switch networks, there are three ways you can do it at Carphone Warehouse: Pay Monthly plans, SIM Only deals or Pay As You Go phones. Check out our deals and pick one that best suits your needs.