How do I change my mobile phone provider?

Not that long ago, trying to change your mobile phone provider was a complete pain: you had to call them, wait in a queue, explain what you want, and then endure the hassle of the “retentions department” as they tried their best to keep you from moving.

Thankfully, that’s not the case anymore, as you can now use text-to-switch. The UK service, brought about by the telecom regulator Ofcom, allows you to switch to a better mobile deal with a few simple texts – and removes the bother of that awkward call.

Let’s take a look at how it works.

How do I find a good deal?

If you haven’t already chosen another provider, then finding a deal can be daunting. A good start are comparison sites, such as Money Supermarket, or Money Saving Expert.

Once you’ve chosen your deal – whether it’s a new phone or SIM only – you can now start the text-to-switch process.

But I’m not sure if I’m still in a contract?

Ideally, you should only change your mobile phone provider if you’re out of contract with your current one. Otherwise, you may have to pay what’s left on the contract before you can move.

If you’re unsure, then text INFO to 85075, and a return text will inform you if you’re still in contract. If you are, it will also tell you when the contract ends and how much the company would charge if you switched early. Please be aware that you haven’t started switching at this point; the text provides information only, and you can use it at any time to find out these details.

change mobile phone provider

Okay, I’m out of contract; what’s next?

At this point, you can decide if you want to keep your existing phone number or get a new one.

I want to keep my mobile number

If you wish to keep your existing phone number, then you need to get a ‘porting authorisation code’ – or PAC – from your current supplier.

To do so, simply text PAC to 65075. For security reasons, some providers also require additional information, such as your date of birth. If that is the case, you’ll receive a return text explaining what to do. Otherwise, you’ll receive the code within a minute, and then you can give it to your new provider. Getting the information quickly is helpful if you’re doing the deal at that moment over the phone or in a shop. However, if you’re still looking around, the code will be valid for 30 days.

Once your new provider has the code, they’ll arrange the switch within one working day.

I want a new mobile number

If you wish to change your phone number as well as your provider, then text STAC to 75075. Doing so gets you a service termination authorisation code, and the rest of the process is the same as with a PAC.


If you’re looking for a better mobile phone deal, then switching providers has never been easier. All you need to do is take advantage of the text-to-switch service, and the process will be virtually painless.

READ NEXT: How do I withhold my mobile number?

About the author

Mark Parvin

I have worked with and wrote about computers, video games and consumer tech for more years than I care to admit.
I currently run my own IT support business and write about the wonders of tech whenever I can.

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