PAC codes: how to transfer your mobile number when switching networks

30 September 2021

Contents list

  1. What is a PAC code?
  2. How do you get your PAC code?
  3. Ways to get a PAC code from any network
  4. What to do once you have a PAC code
  5. How to use a PAC code
  6. Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Transferring your number to a new network might sound daunting, but these days it’s actually an incredibly quick and easy process, and it’s one that all relies on PAC codes.

Below, we’ll detail exactly what a PAC code actually is, and then we’ll look at the how you can get one, and how you can use it to transfer your number.

1. What is a PAC code?

PAC stands for porting authorisation code, and it’s a nine-character long code consisting of both letters and numbers. This code is tied to your phone number, and allows your new network to transfer your old number over.

2. How do you get your PAC code?

There are usually multiple ways to get your PAC code, depending on which network you’re with, but the simplest way – and one that works with every UK network – is to just text ‘PAC’ to 65075 from the number that you want to keep. In some cases you’ll additionally need to send other information, such as your date of birth, but if so you should get a text response explaining what’s needed.

Either way, once done you should get your PAC code texted back to you either immediately, or within a couple of hours at most.

This is the approach that we’d always recommend using if you’re set on leaving your current network. It’s quick, simple, and avoids you having to sit on hold or deal with someone trying to convince you to stay. That said, if you’re open to staying with your current network then calling up and saying you’re thinking of leaving isn’t a bad idea, as they might make you an offer you can’t refuse.

Other than texting as explained above, the main ways to get your PAC code are to either ask your current network for it, or log into your account for your mobile network and find it there. But the exact methods vary from network to network, so we’ve highlighted the available options for each 5G network below.

Again though, texting ‘PAC’ to 65075 works for every network – these other options are just for if you don’t want to or can’t do that for whatever reason.

3. Alternate ways to get a PAC code from any network

If you don’t want to text 65075 to get your PAC then there are other options. We’ve outlined them in the chart below.

Old network

How to request your PAC code

EE

Call 150 from your EE phone or 07953 966 250 from another phone, or go to ‘Leave EE’ on your online account.

Three

Call 333 from your Three phone or 0333 338 1001 from another phone, or fill in the ‘Leave Three’ form online.

Vodafone

Call 191 from your Vodafone phone or 03333 040 191 from another phone, or request online.

O2

Call 202 from your O2 phone or 0344 809 0202 from another phone, or request it through your My O2 account online.

BT Mobile

Call 0800 800 150 from any phone, or log into My BT and go to Mobile > Thinking of leaving BT.

Sky Mobile

Call 03300 412 524 or request it online.

Tesco Mobile

Call 4455 from your Tesco phone or 034 5301 4455 from another phone, or go to My Account and select ‘View or Change my account details’, then ‘Leaving Tesco Mobile?’

VOXI

Call 08080 057435 or sign into your account and head to ‘Leave VOXI’.

Giffgaff

Request your PAC code online here.

Virgin Mobile

Sign into your online account and select ‘Switching’.

Asda Mobile

Call 2732 from your Asda Mobile. Alternatively, call 0800 079 2732 from any other phone if you joined before March 2021, or 0808 006 2732 if you joined after March 2021. You can also request it online.

Lebara

Fill in this form.

iD Mobile

Log into the iD app or your online account, then select My Account > End my plan, and say ‘Yes’ to keeping your number.

4. What to do once you have a PAC code

Once you have a PAC code from your old network you need to give it to your new one (the one that you want to port your number to).

The process for this also varies from network to network, but generally requires filling in an online form. You can give your new network your PAC code once you’ve already received a new SIM card from them, but in many cases you can also do it while placing an order with them.

If you do the latter, then your new phone or SIM could potentially arrive with your old number ready to use on it, while if you wait you’ll briefly have a temporary number until the transfer is complete. So you can save time by organising the transfer while placing your order, but it can sometimes be better to wait, in case you change your mind.

5. How to use your PAC Code

As noted, different networks have slightly different systems in place for transferring numbers, but they’re mostly broadly similar. We’ve highlighted the methods below. Note this table doesn’t include options for transferring your number during checkout with your new network – if that’s an option then you should see it while placing your order. So these methods are for when you already have a new temporary number with your new network.

New network

How to transfer your number

EE

Fill out EE’s transfer form.

Three

Fill out Three’s transfer form or log into My3.

Vodafone

Fill out Vodafone’s transfer form.

O2

Contact O2 online or call 202 free from your O2 phone, or 0344 809 0202 from any other phone.

BT Mobile

Fill out BT’s transfer form.

Sky Mobile

Fill out Sky’s transfer form.

Tesco Mobile

Text ‘PORT’ to 23424 from your new SIM and follow the instructions.

VOXI

Use the ‘Transfer number’ section of your VOXI account online.

Giffgaff

Fill out Giffgaff’s transfer form

Virgin Mobile

Contact Virgin Mobile online or on 789 from your Virgin phone.

Asda Mobile

Select ‘transferring your number’ on your online Asda Mobile account.

Lebara

Fill out Lebara’s transfer form.

iD Mobile

Fill out iD Mobile’s transfer form.

6. FAQs

How long will it take to transfer my number?

Generally it takes one working day to transfer your number to a new network, but it can take two working days if you request the transfer in late afternoon or evening. However, you’ll still have signal on your old network while you wait.

How long is my PAC code valid for?

A PAC code is valid for 30 days from the moment you receive it.

What happens if my PAC code expires before I use it?

If your PAC code expires before you’ve used it then you’ll need to request a new one if you still plan to use it. Your contract with your old network won’t be cancelled until you actually use your PAC code, so if it expires then your old plan will continue.

Will requesting a PAC code close my account?

No. Using a PAC code to transfer your number will, but simply requesting one won’t. Just make sure you don’t ask for your account to be closed in the process of obtaining a PAC code.

Do I need a PAC code to move to a different plan on the same network?

No. Simply contact your network directly and they’ll be able to handle this for you without the need for a PAC code.

Will I lose service when I transfer my number?

You should at most lost service for a few minutes while the transfer is taking place, and you may not noticeably lose service at all.

What is a STAC code?

STAC stands for Service Termination Authorisation Code. This is something you can request when you want to move to a new network but don’t want to take your number with you. You can request a STAC code by texting ‘STAC’ to 75075 or by contacting your old network – in most cases the same methods as obtaining a PAC code can be used.

James Rogerson
About James Rogerson

Editorial Manager

James has been writing for us for over 10 years. Currently, he is Editorial Manager for our group of companies ( 3G.co.uk, 4G.co.uk and 5G.co.uk) and sub-editor at TechRadar. He specialises in smartphones, mobile networks/ technology, tablets, and wearables.

In the past, James has also written for T3, Digital Camera World, Clarity Media, Smart TV Radar, and others, with work on the web, in print and on TV. He has a film studies degree from the University of Kent, Canterbury, and has over a decade’s worth of professional writing experience.

View more posts by James Rogerson >
As seen on:
Washington Post logo
Financial Times logo
Guardian logo
BBC logo
Telegraph logo
Forbes logo