Changing networks – Text to Switch Explained

Today marks the start of a new method of changing networks. For all too long people here in the UK have had to call the infamous “Retentions Team”. They will try lots of things to keep hold of you as a customer. Sometimes this process has a good end result, and you can come away with a far better deal. Indeed, our 2016 feature on switching networks has enabled many of you to come away with a better offering. However, for others the experience feels pressured, complicated and confusing. Many want to leave but end up staying because they either don’t want the fuss or see it as a long and complex process.

Now, though, you can circumvent the Retentions Team to an extent. It’s been over two years since we first reported on the new proposals to make switching networks easier, but now they’re live, so here’s how it all works.

It now takes a simple text message. All mobile networks MUST use the same “short codes”, so no matter which UK network you’re with, this is the process…

  • Text ‘INFO’ to 87075 – To find out if you are still in contract and have to pay exit charges.
  • Text ‘PAC’ to 65075 – To leave your current network and keep existing mobile number.
  • Text ‘STAC’ to 75075 – To leave your current network, dump your number and get a new one with your new provider.

With some networks, you’ll need to add your date of birth to the end of these messages. So if you’re requesting a PAC then you might need to send “PAC 061181” (if your date of birth is November 6th 1981) to 65075

What replies will you get? Here’s the info…

INFO to 87075

Your current network will respond with the outstanding balance on your account. You may also get information on contract termination charges and outstanding handset costs.

PAC to 65075

Your provider will respond with the PAC (Porting Authorisation Code). This will be delivered usually immediately but must happen within two business days. It’s valid for 30 days. You give this to your new service provider and they’ll magically transfer your number across. You don’t have to use it though.

STAC to 75075

You’ll get the STAC (Service Termination Authorisation Code) immediately but again, the provider has a limit of two business days to do this. Once you’ve got your STAC it’s valid for 30 days. Give this to your new provider and they will handle everything out from there. Again, there’s nothing to say that you have to use the code.

Mobile providers are now banned from charging for notice periods after the handover date, so no more paying for old and new contracts at the same time.

Other options

You don’t just need to text!

  1. You can call your provider. You’ll probably end up with the Retentions Team but they could do you a better deal.
  2. You can go through your online account management system where all networks must now offer a way of leaving via the web.

Don’t forget that even if you already have your PAC or STAC code  you don’t have to use it immediately or AT ALL. You have 30 days, but if you don’t do anything then your contract will remain as is.

Also, let’s be honest here, if you do request your PAC or STAC and get the code delivered, your existing provider may call you to try and convince you to stay if you’ve not used that code, and you could end up speaking to the Retentions Team anyway.