Switching phone providers is a modern hassle that everyone has to contend with at some point. Like getting quotes for contents insurance or haggling with energy suppliers, phone contracts can be a mindless timesuck of pushy marketing and hidden costs.
Which is why new Ofcom regulations have come into force to make it easier to switch your mobile network operator. Now, you don’t even have to call them.
Here’s how it works:
1: Text ‘PAC’ to 65075 to receive a switching code (PAC stands for porting authorisation code) that’ll allow you to keep your mobile number. The code is valid for 30 days. You’ll also receive information about termination charges (if you’re halfway through a contract) and your outstanding credit balance.
2: Give the code to your new provider (for example, you’re leaving Vodafone to join Three or Virgin Media, so you would give them your PAC code) and they will organise for you to switch within one working day.
3: If you don’t want to keep your number, you can text ‘STAC’ to 75075 to request a “service termination authorisation code”.
It’s important to note that although the text will cost nothing, there may be termination fees as part of your contract if you’re ending it early.
‘Breaking up with your mobile provider has never been easier thanks to Ofcom’s new rules,’ said Ofcom’s Consumer Group director, Lindsey Fussell. ‘You won’t need to have that awkward chat with your current provider to take advantage of the great deals available.’
Another thing to be aware of is that mobile operators may start throwing out heaps of new offers to entice you to switch. ‘For too many mobile phone customers the process of switching to a different network can be difficult and frustrating, especially if they want to keep their existing phone number,’ said Ernest Doku, mobiles expert at uSwitch.com.
‘Disappointingly, people who are out of contract are overpaying by nearly £100 a year on their current deal, in many cases still paying for a handset that has long been paid off. And this doesn’t take into account that there are likely to be deals existing with more data for less money since they last took out a new contract.’