Get out of a Phone Contract
How-Tos & Tutorials

How to Get Out of a Phone Contract: A Complete Guide


Mobile phones have become an indispensable part of our lives in today’s digital age. We count on them for communication, staying connected, and accessing information at our fingertips. Mobile phone contracts have made it easier to afford the latest devices and data plans, but they often come with rigid terms and commitments.

This comprehensive guide explores the world of mobile phone contracts. We’ll delve deeper into the following points.

  • Cancellation Strategies: We will Learn methods to cancel a phone contract, including grace periods and negotiations.
  • Negotiating with Providers: Discover how to discuss contract issues with providers and potentially waive termination fees.
  • Exploring Alternatives: Find out about alternatives like buying used phones and no-contract plans for more flexibility.

So, whether you’re at the end of your current contract, dissatisfied with your current provider, or just looking for a more cost-effective way to stay connected, this article has you covered. Let’s dive in.

What is a Mobile Phone Contract?

Contract mobile phones involve a structured arrangement where you make a monthly payment for a predetermined duration.

Typically, these contracts span 12, 24, or 36 months, and in return, they provide customers with a mobile device and a monthly allocation of minutes, data, and text messages.

When selecting a contract, you can choose a plan that aligns with your communication needs, such as minutes, text messages, and data, and you commit to paying a fixed monthly rate for these services.

One notable advantage of contract mobile phones is their convenience – you’re spared the hassle of topping up your phone or fretting over exhausting your credit balance.

How to get out of a Phone Contract without Paying

If you’re dissatisfied with your current cell phone service or believe you’re overpaying, you may be interested in learning how to change cell phone carriers without incurring an Early Termination Fee (ETF).

Here are some strategies to consider when ending your contract:

Cancel within the first 30 days

Some companies offer a grace period where you can cancel your contract without incurring any penalties within the initial 30 days or a similar timeframe.

Contract Changes by Your Provider

If your service provider changes your contract terms without your consent, such as increasing costs beyond what your original contract specifies.

You can reject these changes and terminate the contract without fees.

No coverage in your Area

If you relocate to an area where your carrier no longer provides service, they may permit you to exit the contract without penalties.

Transfer of billing responsibility

Many major service providers allow you to transfer billing responsibility to another individual who will take over the payments for your contract.

Military Relocation Orders

If you’re on active military duty and signed the contract before learning about your relocation, you may have the option to terminate your contract.

You may still owe taxes and other unpaid fees in such cases, but ETFs cannot be assessed.


In the event of your passing, you are no longer responsible for the remainder of your contract. However, your account must be closed, and creditors may attempt to collect unpaid charges or any outstanding balance from your estate.

Moreover, a good idea is to reach out to your service provider and engage in a courteous but assertive conversation with a customer service representative. Explain the issues you’re facing with your service and inquire about the possibility of canceling your contract without fees.

If your initial agent cannot grant your request, request to speak with a higher-level employee who may have the authority to waive the termination fees.

Recommended Read: How to Cancel Your Phone Contract

Reasons to get out of a Mobile Phone Contract?

Indeed, let’s delve into more detail on the reasons to exit a mobile phone contract:

Phone Upgrade

When you’re looking to upgrade your phone, especially if your current contract has yet to be completed, you may want to exit the contract. Upgrading allows you to enjoy the latest features and technology your device may lack.

Phone Damage

Accidents can lead to severe damage or loss of your phone. Leaving your contract early might be necessary to obtain a replacement device, as repairing the damaged phone might be costly.

Poor Network Coverage

Inconsistent or inadequate network coverage can be a considerable source of frustration. You might consider switching to a different provider if you frequently experience dropped calls or slow data speeds in your area. To do this, you would need to terminate your current contract.

Relocation Abroad

If you’re moving to another country where your current mobile carrier doesn’t offer service, you’ll likely need to terminate your existing contract.

International service coverage varies, and you may need to explore local options to ensure uninterrupted communication.

Financial Constraints

Unforeseen financial difficulties, such as job loss or unexpected expenses, can make it challenging to afford your monthly contract payments.

Therefore, you may need to exit your contract to relieve the financial strain and seek a more affordable plan or prepaid service.

How to Get Out of a Cell Phone Contract?

Since we have discussed the nitty-gritty of how cell phone contract works, it is pertinent to discuss how we can end it. Let’s have a closer look at


To cancel your contract with EE, please adhere to the following guidelines:

Notice Period

If you intend to cancel your EE contract, you must provide a notice period of 30 days.

Outstanding charges, especially for those cancelling their contract mid-term without a specific reason, will be settled at the end of the 30-day notice period or when your minimum contract term concludes, whichever comes first.

Cancellation Charges

Cancelling your contract mid-term will incur an ‘Early Termination Charge.’ This charge typically amounts to approximately 96% of the remaining cost of your contract.

If you choose to cancel your contract at the end of your minimum contract term, you will be subject to a ‘Notice Period Charge,’ essentially an exit fee.

Online Cancellation Form

If you initially purchased your contract online, you can access and complete the cancellation form on EE’s website to initiate the cancellation process.

Before proceeding with the cancellation, it’s vital to review the terms and conditions of your contract, particularly any potential charges associated with early termination or the end of your contract term.

If you’re looking to cancel your contract with EE, the process depends on your specific situation:

Switching to Another Provider and Keeping Your Number (Using a PAC)

  • Request a Porting Authorisation Code (PAC) from EE.
  • Get your PAC by calling 150 from your EE phone, 07953 966 250 from any phone, or requesting it online.
  • Provide the PAC to your new provider to switch and stop EE billing.
  • Switching to Another Provider Without Keeping Your Number (Using a STAC):
  • Request a Service Termination Authorisation Code (STAC) from EE.
  • Get your STAC by calling 150 from your EE phone, 07953 966 250 from any phone, or requesting it online.
  • Pass the STAC to your new provider for switching, and EE billing will cease.

Cancelling Your Contract Without Switching Providers

  • If you don’t plan to switch providers, request a standard disconnection from EE.
  • You’ll need to give at least 30 days’ notice, even after your minimum contract term ends.
  • EE will terminate your number and stop billing at the end of the notice period, with a charge for the 30-day notice period.

Unlocking Your EE Device

  • EE devices are locked to EE. To switch to another provider, you may need to unlock your device.
  • Check if you meet the conditions for unlocking (account holder, device ownership, bill status, and no lost/stolen report).
  • To unlock your device, use the online request form or, for Apple devices, log in to your EE account and follow the instructions.

Impact on Other Services and Subscriptions

  • Switching providers will terminate other services and subscriptions with EE (e.g., TNT Sports, Apple Music, data boost, discounts).
  • After cancelling, expect your final bill within 14 days of service termination.
  • View it by logging into your EE account or contact EE via phone if you don’t receive the bill.
  • Please note that billing may include a 30-day notice period charge if it falls within the billing cycle.


Exiting a cell phone contract with Giffgaff is straightforward. However, please be aware that a termination fee is usually applicable unless you cancel within the initial 14 days of the contract’s start.

Here’s how you can terminate an 18-month plan with Giffgaff:

Online (via My giffgaff Dashboard)

  • Log in to your My giffgaff dashboard.
  • Navigate to “Orders and Payments.”
  • Click on “Your contract.”
  • Select “Terminate your contract.”
  • Finally, choose “End my contract.”

Using the Giffgaff App

  • Open the Giffgaff app on your mobile device.
  • From the app’s home screen, tap on “Account.”
  • Go to “Payments.”
  • Select “Your contract.
  • Tap on “Terminate your Contract.
  • Choose “End my contract.

Remember to consider the terms and conditions of your contract and the potential termination fee if you are cancelling outside of the 14-day grace period.


Cancellation of your O2 contract before your minimum contract term ends will typically incur an additional fee, similar to EE’s policy.

However, O2 provides the Refresh tariff, which sets it apart. With the Refresh tariff, O2 customers enjoy greater flexibility as they can switch to new phones anytime while maintaining their data allowance.

If you are on one of these Refresh tariffs, you have more options and convenience when managing your O2 contract.

If you’re considering leaving O2 and need to cancel your contract, here’s how you can do it:

Cancelling Your Contract

  • Call 202 for free from your O2 phone.
  • Provide 30 days’ notice of your intention to leave.
  • Ensure you settle any outstanding charges on your account.
  • Switching to Another Network While Keeping Your Number:
  • Request a Porting Authorisation Code (PAC) by texting “PAC” to 65075.
  • You’ll receive your PAC code within 60 seconds.

Switching to Another Network Without Keeping Your Number

  • Request a Service Termination Authorisation Code (STAC) by texting “STAC” to 75075.
  • You’ll receive your STAC code within 60 seconds.

Ending Your Contract Without Switching Networks or Keeping Your Number

If you want to terminate your contract without switching to another network and don’t wish to keep your number, you’ll need to contact O2.

It’s essential to keep in mind that your O2 contract will continue to be active until you switch to another network provider. During the 30-day notice period, you can change your decision and decide to retain your contract by getting in touch with O2.


Cancelling a contract with Three follows a similar pattern to other mobile networks. Three requires a 30-day notice period for cancellation. During this notice period, you will be charged as usual. If you decide to cancel your contract before the minimum term ends, Three will charge you the remaining amount.

The early exit fee is calculated at 97% of the remaining cost of your contract unless you’ve previously upgraded with Three, in which case the figure is reduced to 90%.

If you consider cancelling your Three mobile phone contract, we’ve simplified the process. Here are the steps and options for canceling your contract:

Cancelling and Keeping Your Number

If you want to switch to a new provider and retain your current phone number, you’ll need a Porting Authorisation Code (PAC). A PAC is a combination of letters and numbers to transfer your number.

To get your PAC from Three

  • Call ‘333’ (if you’re using a Three number) or 0333 338 1001.
  • Complete an online form provided by Three.
  • Text ‘PAC’ and your date of birth in the ‘DDMMYY’ format to 65075. Three will text you back with the PAC.

Note: Your PAC is valid for 30 days.

Cancelling Without Keeping Your Number

If you’re fine with losing your current number, you’ll need a Service Termination Authorisation Code (STAC). STACs, like PACs, are valid for 30 days.

  • To get your STAC from Three:
  • Complete an online form provided by Three.
  • Call ‘333’ or 0333 338 1001.
  • Text ‘STAC’ and your date of birth in the ‘DDMMYY’ format to 75075. Three will text you back with the STAC.

Cancelling Without Moving to Another Provider

If you wish to cancel your Three contracts without switching to another provider, you don’t need a PAC or STAC code. Instead, contact Three by calling ‘333’ or ‘0333 338 1001′ (the former if you’re calling from a Three number).

Remember that you must provide 30 days’ notice for your number to be cancelled, and billing will stop accordingly.


Vodafone provides a 30-day guarantee period during which you are entitled to a full refund on the phone/contract, except for out-of-plan fees like exceeding data limits.

After this guarantee period, the same cancellation principles that apply to other providers come into play. Cancelling your Vodafone contract early will result in a fee, and Vodafone will take 30 days to disconnect your number officially. You will be charged as usual until your number is disconnected.

Cancelling your Vodafone contract can be done in three different ways, depending on your specific circumstances:

PAC Code Cancellation (Porting Authorisation Code)

Use the PAC Code process if you’re switching to another network and want to keep your Vodafone phone number.

You can obtain your PAC Code in one of these three ways:

Online: Log in to the My Vodafone website and go to Account Settings> Mobile switching.

Text Message: Send ‘PAC’ to 65075 to receive a PAC Code from Vodafone.

Phone: Call Vodafone at 191 using your Vodafone handset or dial 03333 040 191 from any other phone during Vodafone’s operating hours.

The PAC Code process does not require a 30-day notice. Early exit fees may apply if you’re within the minimum contract term.

STAC Code Cancellation (Service Termination Authorisation Code)

If you’re moving to another network but prefer to start with a new phone number, use the STAC Code process.

Like the PAC Code process, you can receive your STAC Code online, by text message, or by phone.

The advantage of the STAC Code process is that if you’re outside the minimum contract term, Vodafone can only charge you until the date the STAC Code is used. There’s no 30-day notice period, unlike Vodafone’s standard cancellation process. Early exit fees may apply if you’re within the minimum contract term.

Standard Cancellation

If you’re not joining another mobile network, use Vodafone’s standard cancellation process. This process requires a 30-day notice period and involves contacting Vodafone customer services to terminate your contract.

We recommend using the PAC Code or STAC Code process whenever possible, as they are more straightforward. However, the standard cancellation process is a viable option.

Call Vodafone customer services at 191 during operating hours to request a standard cancellation.

If you cancel your contract within the first 14 days, you may be within Vodafone’s cooling-off period, and early termination charges may not apply.

Choosing the cancellation method that aligns with your intentions and reviewing your contract’s terms, including potential early exit fees if applicable, is essential.

Alternatives to Cell Phone contract

Let’s have a closer look at the alternatives to cell phone contracts.

Buy a Used Mobile Phone

Instead of committing to a new contract, you can explore the used mobile phone market. Many people sell their gently used devices at a fraction of the original cost. You can find used phones online through various platforms, local electronics stores, or classified ads.

Be sure to research the phone’s condition, check for any warranty or return policies, and ensure it’s compatible with your carrier.

Switch to No Contract and Commitments Plan

Consider switching to networks such as Talk Home Mobile, which offers a no-contract and no-commitments plan. This plan allows you to enjoy mobile services without being tied to a long-term contract. With Talk Home Mobile, you can select the plan that best suits your needs and budget, and you have the flexibility to change plans or carriers as needed.

This alternative allows you to take control of your mobile services while avoiding the obligations of a contract, making it a practical choice for those who value flexibility and simplicity in their mobile communication.

This option provides the flexibility to choose a device that suits your needs without the constraints of a contract. It’s beneficial for those who prefer to pay for their phone upfront and have the freedom to switch plans as desired since they offer various plans such as Monthly plans, Pay as you go plans, and many more,


Conclusively, a mobile phone contract is an agreement with its conveniences. When ending a contract, options like cancelling within a grace period, contract changes, coverage issues, or transfer of billing responsibility may help avoid fees. Specific providers like EE, O2, Three, and Vodafone have procedures for contract termination, including early charges and number porting.

Alternatives to long-term contracts include buying used phones and opting for no-contract plans. When your contract ends, consider switching to new devices and cost savings. Make choices aligned with your needs and budget.


Can I keep my phone after leaving a phone contract?

If your mobile device is unlocked, you can retain and use it with a new service provider. To do so, getting in touch with your existing mobile network provider is essential.

This step is necessary because your current SIM card is associated with your previous contract, and informing your provider will facilitate the transition.

What happens when a Phone Contract Ends?

When your mobile contract ends, you can stay with your current provider on the same plan or explore options. Switching offers perks like new devices, lower costs, and more data.

Upgrading, downgrading, or sticking with your provider is also possible, but changing often yields better deals. Ensure coverage if you switch, and back up your number if you choose a new provider.

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