How to switch mobile network

Switching mobile networks doesn’t have to be daunting. In fact, it’s easier than ever and is a surefire way to ensure you save money. Read on and we’ll tell you everything you need to know about switching mobile network.

Do I need to be out of contract to switch network providers?

Your contract will need to be up or coming to its end in order to switch network providers, otherwise you’ll face high penalty fees. If you have a rolling 30-day SIM-only contract, then you can switch at any time.

If you’re out of contract and want to switch, then the process has been streamlined and made easier than ever.

Firstly, you need a Porting Authorisation Code, or PAC, for short. You can get one of these by calling your network’s customer service helpline. Alternatively, thanks to new regulations, you can also get one by texting PAC to 65075.

Once you’ve chosen a new provider, give them the PAC and they’ll take the reins, ensuring you switch networks seamlessly.

The PAC ensures that you can keep your mobile number. If you’re not fussed about that, or would rather just get a new number, you can skip this step entirely and just cancel with your current network.

Why should I switch mobile networks?

There are loads of great reasons to switch networks. Maybe your existing provider doesn’t offer the best coverage in your area. Perhaps they’ve stopped offering inclusive data roaming in Europe. Or maybe they’ve put their prices up.

Switching is also a great option if you’re out of contract and you’ve found a great new package elsewhere, perhaps including one of the latest smartphones. It might be that you don’t get any perks and want a deal that offers extras on top of calls, texts and data, or a specific feature of a certain network that you like the look of (such as O2 Priority).

Finding out if you’re eligible to switch

To check if you’re eligible to switch, you need to know when your contract is coming to an end. If you have a 30-day SIM-only deal, then you can switch whenever you want. However, if you have a 12, 24 or 36-month contract, then your best bet is to check with your network.

If you have an online account with your provider, then you’ll be able to log in and see when your contract expires. Alternatively, call customer services and they’ll be able to give you a specific date.

Who can I switch to?

You can switch to whichever provider you like once your contract has expired. If you like your phone, you can choose to keep it and simply switch to a SIM-only plan. Here at CompareMyMobile we offer a whole range of SIM only deals to suit all budgets. Remember, this is a great way to save if you’re looking to trim your outgoings.

You can also switch to a network that offers new phone deals along with a data plan. As long as your contract is up, you’re good to go.

Compare mobile deals with CompareMyMobile to find a whole host of networks with deals you can switch to.

Can I keep my phone number?

Yes. Once you get a PAC from your current network and pass it to your new one, they’ll begin the process of switching your account and moving your number to a new SIM. The process usually takes around 24 hours.

Check out our complete guide on how to keep your mobile number for more.

Can I switch network if I’m still under contract?

Switching network while still under contract is technically possible, but costly. You’ll usually need to pay up the entire remaining cost of your deal, and some networks may charge you an extra penalty for doing so.  

Financially, you’re probably better off waiting until your plan expires, or seeing if you can get a new phone early with your existing provider.

What if I want a new phone?

If you want a new phone and your contract is up, then you have a huge array of options available. You can take out a new pay monthly contract with a new provider if you wish, or choose to buy a new phone outright and pair it with a SIM-only deal.

Remember that you can also get a little extra money for a new deal by recycling your old phone.