Porting Your Mobile Phone Number In The UK.

Step 2: Give Your PAC To Your New Network

Now you have obtained your PAC (Porting Authorisation Code), you can give it to your new mobile phone provider.

If you are signing up for a contract with your new mobile phone network, you should give them your PAC at the same time as you sign up for the contract. You will then be given a temporary phone number which will work until the transfer goes through. You should also be able to transfer the number if your new contract has already started, but check with the new network to be sure.

If you are buying a new PAYG phone, or a new PAYG SIM card to go in your unlocked phone, you will initially be given a new number which will be your temporary number until the transfer goes through. You should be able to port the number to the PAYG phone at any time, as you can't usually do it at the time of purchase.

To port your number to a PAYG phone, or a contract that has already started, call your new network. They may have a special number to call for number porting enquiries, which you might find on their website or in the welcome pack of a new PAYG phone. If in doubt, call the normal customer service line and they will help you out.

The new network will ask for your PAC, the number which you are porting and the temporary number you are using (unless you call from the mobile with the temporary number, in which case they'll get it from the Caller ID!). Make sure you have all this information at the ready, along with any passwords or security questions you might have set up with the new network. Be sure to read all this stuff out carefully, as getting numbers mixed up will delay the whole process. Get the customer service person to read the numbers back to you if you're not sure.

Porting your number usually takes 5 working days, i.e. one week, but may take a few days longer. Note that this is for the UK, it is faster in some other countries.

The new network will tell you the date on which the transfer will take place. You should be prepared to lose phone service for anything up to a few hours on this day. (I didn't notice any disruption at all when I ported. They don't give you a time of transfer, but mine went through at around midday.)

Your old number will continue to work on your old phone until the transfer is complete. If you have chosen to put a new SIM card in your unlocked PAYG phone or contract phone (contract phones usually aren't SIM locked in the first place), you can swap between the two SIM cards to use your old number before the transfer goes through.

You will be notified by text message when your mobile phone number has been ported successfully. Remember, this will be delivered to your new network, where the number will now be. That's all it takes. You called the old network for your PAC, gave it to your new network, and a week later the number was transferred. Simple and painless, although if it would be nice if it happened faster!

On the next page, we'll cover some stuff you should be aware of when porting.