How to transfer your phone number to another mobile network: a step-by-step guide to getting & using a PAC Code.

  • BT Mobile
  • EE
  • giffgaff
  • iD Mobile
  • O2
  • Sky Mobile
  • Tesco Mobile
  • Three
  • Virgin Mobile
  • Vodafone

In the UK, it’s a straightforward process to transfer your phone number from one mobile network to another. This makes it easy to change mobile networks whilst keeping the same phone number as before. It also ensures you won’t miss any incoming phone calls or text messages, and there’s no need to tell everyone a brand new number.

In order to move your phone number from one network to another, you’ll use something called a PAC Code (a Porting Authorisation Code). It normally takes no longer than one working day to transfer your phone number using a PAC Code and it’s always free to do so.

Step-By-Step Instructions: Transferring Your Phone Number

For a step-by-step guide on how to transfer your phone number, please select your current mobile network followed by the mobile network you’re planning to join:

PAC Code Finder
Find out how to move your phone number

Your current mobile network:

Your new mobile network:

Through the rest of this article, we’ll discuss the process for transferring your phone number in a bit more detail. We’ll show you how to get a PAC Code from different mobile networks and then how you can use the PAC Code at your new network. We’ll also discuss the validity time and expiry of PAC Codes, before looking at some special cases (e.g. transferring your phone number to the same network).

What is a PAC Code?

In the UK, a PAC Code (or Porting Authorisation Code) is used to transfer your phone number from one mobile network to another.

There are three steps to transferring your phone number to another network:

  1. Start by getting a PAC Code from your current mobile network. It takes less than a minute to get a PAC Code from your network, and there’s no need to speak to anyone on the phone. You can request your PAC Code either online or by text message – simply follow the instructions here for your network. There’s no cost to get a PAC Code.
  2. Order your new phone or SIM card. You should then order the new phone or SIM card from your new mobile network. Initially, you’ll be given a temporary phone number so you can make sure the service works correctly before transferring your phone number.
  3. Give the PAC Code to your new mobile network. Once you’re happy to move your phone number over, give the PAC Code to your new network. Normally, you’ll be able to submit your PAC Code online, or you can also give it to your new mobile network over the phone.

For step-by-step instructions on how to obtain and how to use a PAC Code, please select your current mobile network followed by the mobile network you’re planning to join:

PAC Code Instructions

Your current mobile network:

Your new mobile network:

If you don’t want to keep your phone number when changing mobile networks, you can request a STAC Code (Service Termination Authorisation Code) instead of a PAC Code from your old network. The form above will also help you to get a STAC Code from your network. Alternatively, you can use the standard cancellation process without a PAC Code or STAC Code but an additional notice period fee may apply when you do this.

Note: PAC Codes are sometimes confused with PUK Codes (Personal Unblocking Key Codes). The two codes serve very different purposes. A PUK code is required if your handset becomes blocked (e.g. if you were to accidentally enter your PIN number incorrectly three times). When moving mobile networks, be sure to get a PAC Code rather than a PUK Code.

How Long Does A Number Transfer Take?

From start to finish, it takes one working day between you submitting your PAC Code to the phone number being transferred to your new network (two working days if you submit your PAC Code late in the afternoon or evening).

Whilst you’re waiting for the transfer to happen, you’ll continue receiving a service on your old mobile network. This means you’ll still be able to receive incoming phone calls and text messages on your old network.

On the day of the transfer, you’ll momentarily lose coverage on both your old and new mobile network. When this happens, you should restart the phone on your new network. Once you’ve done that, the phone number transfer to your new network should be complete.

When Will The Number Transfer Take Place?

Phone number transfers normally take place on the next working day after you submit your PAC Code (two working days if you submit your PAC Code in the afternoon or evening after the daily cut-off time).

It’s important to remember that phone number transfers will only take place on a working day. Transfers won’t happen over the weekend or on English bank holidays. Therefore, assuming there are no bank holidays, the following table shows when you can expect your phone number transfer to take place:

Day of Submitting PAC Code Day of Number Transfer
Saturday Tuesday
Sunday
Monday
Tuesday Wednesday
Wednesday Thursday
Thursday Friday
Friday Monday

You’ll need to submit your PAC Code before the daily cut-off time (between 3pm and 5.30pm depending on your network). If the PAC Code is submitted after the daily cut-off time, you’ll need to wait an extra working day for the transfer to take place.

You’ll need to be in the UK on the day of the phone number transfer.

Getting a PAC Code

The first step in transferring your phone number is getting a PAC Code from your old mobile network. A PAC Code allows you to move your phone number to a different mobile network. It’s nine-digits long and consists of three letters followed by six numbers (e.g. ABC 123 456).

You can normally get a PAC Code instantly from your mobile network, either using their website or app or by sending a text message as follows:

Current
Network
How to Get a PAC Code
BT MobileLog in to the My BT website and go to Mobile > Thinking of leaving BT
or text PAC to 65075 to get a BT PAC Code by SMS text message (see other options)
EELog in to the My EE website and go to Menu > Account settings > Leave EE
or text PAC to 65075 to get a EE PAC Code by SMS text message (see other options)
giffgaffLog in to the My giffgaff website and go to My profiles & settings > Get a giffgaff PAC Code
or text PAC to 65075 to get a giffgaff PAC Code by SMS text message (see other options)
O2Log in to the My O2 website and go to My details > Thinking of switching from O2?
or text PAC to 65075 to get a O2 PAC Code by SMS text message (see other options)
Sky MobileLog in to your Sky Account and go to My Account > Mobile > My Number
or text PAC followed by your date of birth (in DDMMYYYY format) to 65075 (see other options)
ThreeLog in to your My3 Account to get your Three PAC Code
or text PAC followed by your date of birth (in DDMMYY format) to 65075 (see other options)
Virgin MobileLog in to your Virgin Mobile Account to get your Virgin PAC Code
or text PAC followed by your date of birth (in DD/MM/YYYY format) to 65075 (see other options)
VodafoneLog in to the My Vodafone website and go to Account settings > Mobile switching
or text PAC to 65075 to get a Vodafone PAC Code by SMS text message (see other options)

If you’re requesting your PAC Code online or by text message, your mobile network is legally obliged to give it to you within 60 seconds of your request.

You can also get a PAC Code by calling your mobile network. In this case, you should expect it to take a little bit longer as your mobile network can try to persuade you to stay with them. It’s certainly a lot more hassle to get your PAC Code by phone, but it can give you an opportunity to negotiate with your current provider if you’d like.

Once issued, your PAC Code will be valid for 30 days. You should write it down, keeping it somewhere safe and secure (treat it like you would a password). There’s no need to separately cancel your mobile contract as this will be done automatically for you once the PAC Code has been used.

If early exit fees apply to your contract, you should be told about these when you request your PAC Code. Alternatively, you can text INFO to 85075 to find out what the early exit fees are for ending your contract.

Using a PAC Code

After getting a PAC Code from your old network, the next step is ordering the new phone or SIM card from your new mobile network. Please select the mobile network you’re planning to join:

Please select the network you're moving to:

EE

O2

Three

Vodafone

Other Popular Networks: BT Mobile, giffgaff, iD Mobile, Plusnet Mobile, Smarty, Sky Mobile, Tesco Mobile, Virgin Mobile, VOXI

During the online order process, you’ll sometimes be given the option to use your PAC Code straight away. We’d normally recommend declining this option as it can complicate things if you wish to cancel or return your phone or SIM card during the cooling-off period (e.g. because of a problem with the phone or because of poor coverage where you live).

Unless you choose to use your PAC Code straight away, your new phone or SIM card will initially have a temporary phone number assigned to it. This will allow you to spend a little bit of time to make sure everything works correctly before submitting the PAC Code and completing the number transfer process. It isn’t possible to reverse a phone number transfer once it has taken place.

How To Submit Your PAC Code

Once you’re happy to move your phone number over, you can provide a PAC Code to your new mobile network as follows:

New
Network
Contact Details for Providing a PAC Code
BT MobileGive your PAC Code to BT (bt.com)
or call 150 from your BT handset / 0800 800 150 from another phone. See full contact details.
EEGive your PAC Code to EE (ee.co.uk)
or call 150 from your EE handset / 07953 966 250 from another phone. See full contact details.
giffgaffGive your PAC Code to giffgaff (giffgaff.com)
The PAC Code must be submitted to giffgaff online.
O2Give your PAC Code to O2 (o2.co.uk)
or call 202 from your O2 Pay Monthly handset, 4445 from your O2 Pay As You Go handset
from another phone: 0344 8090202 (Pay Monthly), 0344 8090222 PAYG). See full contact details.
Sky MobileGive your PAC Code to Sky (sky.com)
or call 03300 412 524 from your Sky handset / 03300 412 524 from another phone. See full contact details.
ThreeGive your PAC Code to Three (three.co.uk)
or call 333 from your Three handset / 0333 338 1001 from another phone. See full contact details.
Virgin MobileGive your PAC Code to Virgin (virginmedia.com)
or call 789 from your Virgin handset / 0345 6000 789 from another phone. See full contact details.
VodafoneGive your PAC Code to Vodafone (vodafone.co.uk)
or call 191 from your Vodafone handset / 03333 040 191 from another phone. See full contact details.

We wouldn’t recommend using your PAC Code if there’s still a chance you’ll want to cancel or return your new phone or SIM. This is because the number transfer process cannot be reversed once the PAC Code has been used.

PAC Code Validity & Expiry

Once issued, your PAC Code is valid for 30 days. For instance, if your PAC Code is issued on the 1st November, it will expire on the 30th November.

If your PAC Code isn’t used within the 30-day validity period, it will expire and nothing further will happen. The plan on your old mobile network will continue to run and you’ll still be charged for it, even if you’re no longer using it. Your old plan won’t be cancelled if the PAC Code isn’t used, unless you go through a different cancellation process such as the STAC Code or standard cancellation process.

If your PAC Code has already expired, you can get a new one if you’d still like to transfer your phone number to another network.

Special Cases

Transferring Within The Same Network

A PAC Code can only be used when you’re transferring a phone number between two different networks.

If you’re staying on the same mobile network but changing to a different phone or SIM card, it isn’t possible to use the PAC Code process. Instead, you should contact your mobile network directly to ask them to transfer your phone number to the new plan. You’ll need to provide them with details of both of your accounts.

Please select your network and tariff type:

EE

O2

Three

Vodafone

Other Popular Networks: BT Mobile, giffgaff, iD Mobile, Plusnet Mobile, Smarty, Sky Mobile, Tesco Mobile, Virgin Mobile, VOXI

In some cases, mobile networks have been known to refuse a request to transfer your phone number to another plan on the same network. This will sometimes be the case if you’ve signed up for a ‘new customer’ deal, whereas the network would like to sell you a (normally more expensive) ‘upgrade’ instead. One potential workaround for this is using a PAC Code to transfer your number to a different network (e.g. onto a Pay As You Go network such as giffgaff or ASDA Mobile). Once you’ve done that, you can then transfer your phone number back into the original network.

Transferring a Pay As You Go Number

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You should follow the normal PAC Code process when transferring a Pay As You Go phone number.

However, one extra thing that’s important to be aware of is that you can’t transfer Pay As You Go credit from one mobile network to another. Any unused credit remaining on your old account will therefore be forfeited on the day of your phone number transfer. For this reason, it’s normally a good idea to use up your Pay As You Go credit before the phone number transfer.

If you have a large amount of money remaining on your account, consider donating it to charity rather than spending it frivolously. You can donate unused credit by text message to charities like Cancer Research, the Red Cross and Save the Children. You can also check with your favourite charity to see whether they’re able to accept donations by text message.

Transferring Ownership Of Your Number

If you like, the PAC Code process can be used to transfer ownership of your phone number (e.g. to a friend or family member). This is because there is no requirement for the name on the old account and new account to be the same.

Please be aware of the possible privacy or security implications if you decide to transfer ownership of your phone number to someone else. This is because they might end up with access to your incoming phone calls and text messages (including verification codes from the bank, messages from friends, etc).

Cancelling Your Old Mobile Contract

If you’re using a PAC Code to transfer your phone number to another network, the account on your old mobile network will be closed automatically once the PAC Code is used and once the phone number transfers to another network.

If you simply request a PAC Code but never actually use it, your old account will remain open, even after the PAC Code expires. To cancel it, you’ll need to start the PAC Code process again, or you can follow either the STAC Code or standard cancellation process:

  • If you’re moving to another network but don’t want to keep your current phone number, follow the STAC Code (Service Termination Authorisation Code) process. You can get a STAC Code online in the same way you’d get a PAC Code, or you can text STAC to 75075. Once you have a STAC Code from your old network, you can use it in the same way you’d use a PAC Code.
  • If you’re not moving to another network, you can follow the standard cancellation process. However, on some Pay Monthly plans, a 30-day notice period might apply for this. It’s therefore advantageous to use the PAC Code process or STAC Code process instead as a notice period doesn’t apply for this.

Other Things To Know

There are several other things worth knowing about a PAC Code:

  • It’s impossible to swap the phone number on two accounts. When porting your phone number into a network, the original phone number on that mobile network is lost. It isn’t possible to swap phone numbers between two mobile networks.
  • You can’t transfer a phone number that has already been lost. For instance, if you’ve already cancelled your contract, or if your phone number has expired due to Pay As You Go inactivity. In both of these cases, the phone number will have already been lost and can therefore no longer be transferred elsewhere.
  • Businesses can transfer up to 25 phone numbers using a PAC Code. Businesses can use a PAC Code to transfer up to 25 phone numbers from one mobile network to another. Larger businesses wanting to transfer more than 25 phone numbers should contact their account manager at the network instead to arrange a transfer.
  • A different system exists for transferring landline phone numbers. A PAC Code can only be used for transferring mobile phone numbers in the UK (these are UK phone numbers starting with 07). If you’d like to transfer a landline number, see our guide to switching broadband or home phone provider.

Troubleshooting

Instant Messaging Apps

If you’re using an instant messaging app (e.g. WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger or Snapchat), your temporary phone number may continue to show even after you’ve used your PAC Code. To fix this, you should use the ‘number change’ feature that’s built in to your messaging application:

iMessage & FaceTime on iPhone

If you’re using an iPhone, you may experience problems with iMessage and FaceTime after transferring your phone number with a PAC Code.

If you’re moving your phone number to a new iPhone, you might see your temporary phone number continuing to show in iMessage and FaceTime. To resolve this, you’ll first need to disable iMessage and FaceTime (you can do this by going to Settings > Messages > iMessage and Settings > FaceTime on your iPhone). After doing this, go to Settings > Phone > My Number and enter your correct phone number there (this should be the phone number that you want to keep). You should then restart your iPhone, after which you can re-enable iMessage and FaceTime.

If you’re moving your phone number from an iPhone to a non-Apple device (e.g. Android), you may find that you stop receiving messages from people with an iPhone. To fix this, you’ll need to de-register your old iPhone from iMessage and FaceTime. If you still have access to your old iPhone, go to Settings > Messages > iMessage and switch it off. You should also go to Settings > FaceTime to turn FaceTime off. Alternatively, if you no longer have access to your iPhone, you can de-register iMessage through the Apple website.

Other Number Transfer Issues

If you have any other issues relating to the phone number transfer (e.g. if your phone number didn’t transfer as planned or if you’re having problems making or receiving phone calls and text messages after the transfer), it’s the responsibility of your new mobile network to fix this. You should contact their customer services team about the issue you’re having.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a PAC Code?
In the UK, a PAC Code (Porting Authorisation Code) is used to transfer your phone number from one mobile network to another.
How long does it take to transfer a phone number?
It normally takes one working day to transfer your phone number between networks (or two working days if you submit your PAC Code late in the afternoon or evening). You’ll continue receiving coverage from your old network whilst waiting so downtime should be minimal.
How do I get a PAC Code?
You can get a PAC Code through your mobile network’s website or app, or by texting PAC to 65075. Once you’ve requested it, a PAC Code should be sent to you within 60 seconds. You can also get a PAC Code by calling your network but this is likely to involve a lot more hassle.
What do I do with a PAC Code once I have it?
Once issued, your PAC Code will be valid for 30 days. You should give it to your new mobile network once you’re happy to move your phone number over. Find out how to use your PAC Code.
Does using a PAC Code automatically cancel my old contract?
Your old mobile contract will be cancelled automatically once the PAC Code has been used and once the number transfer is complete.

If you simply request a PAC Code but never actually use it, your old account will remain open, even after the PAC Code expires.

Can I transfer my phone number to the same network using a PAC Code?
No. It isn’t possible to use a PAC Code to transfer a phone number to the same network. Instead, you’ll need to contact your mobile network directly. Alternatively, you can always port out to another network before porting your phone number back in.
How long is a PAC Code valid for?
Once issued, your PAC Code is valid for 30 days. For instance, if your PAC Code is issued on the 1st November, it will expire on the 30th November.
What happens if the PAC Code expires?
If your PAC Code isn’t used during the 30-day validity period, your plan will continue to run and you’ll continue being charged for it. You can either request a brand new PAC Code or you can cancel your contract another way (e.g. using the STAC Code or standard cancellation process).
What is a STAC Code?
A STAC Code (Service Termination Authorisation Code) is used when you’re moving to another network but when you don’t want to keep your current phone number. You can get a STAC Code online in the same way you’d get a PAC Code, or you can text STAC to 75075.

More Information

For a step-by-step guide that takes you through the process of transferring a mobile number, please use our PAC Code Finder.

Your Comments 1,900 so far

We'd love to hear your thoughts and any questions you may have. So far, we've received 1900 comments from readers. You can add your own comment here.

  • Good news, RE: Transferring Within The Same Network

    I have been planning to do this as I wanted to join the ”new black Friday deal” within the same network. As I will need to use my current PAC Code to keep my number with a new different network to get around the restriction before i rejoin as you mentioned, I just found “Lebara” technically has “free sim without activation fee”, we can just choose Free sim+ 5 pounds, then use the promo code FIVE at the checkout. (not sure when the promo will end, and I found all of the other providers do need to top up at least 5 pounds to activate the new temporary number. I hope this helps people who are planning to transfer within the same network!

  • Hi Ken, I hope you’re doing well. Great site too btw. Is the PAC tied to the phone you message from? I’m hoping to get a new phone for my wife for Xmas as a surprise, but I’m wondering what the best way to go about doing this would be? Do I have to message from her phone to get all this info?
    Kind regards,
    Mark.

    • Hi Mark,
      Thanks for your comment and doing well thank you! Yes, the PAC is tied to the phone you send the message from. Don’t worry, however, as she can always obtain a PAC Code at a later date and then transfer the phone number over herself when the new phone is set up. It only takes a minute to get a PAC and then it’s just one working day to move the phone number over, so no immediate rush!
      Hope this helps,
      Ken

        • Hi Mark,
          Yes, the 30 day notice period still applies even when you’re outside the minimum contract period. The PAC Code/STAC Code process does allow you to bypass this, however, which is a key benefit.
          Hope this helps,
          Ken

  • Hi there,

    I have tried to request my PAC code from Vectone via texting 65075 with my DDMMYY about 10 times over the past week however each time I get a text back saying there was a ‘technical fault’ or just no reply whatsoever. I have then tried to call Customer Services (322 from my Vectone number) and it doesn’t even ring. It’s been about a week since I first tried and I’m still getting nowhere. What should I do and isn’t this a breach of legal requirement?!

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