Switching Mobile Phone Providers

A Detailed Guide to Switching Mobile Phone Providers


Switching mobile phone providers has never been so easy. But ironically, millions of people stay on the same network every year, even if they can save money by switching to another provider. Many people don’t do so because they don’t get a complete answer when they ask themselves, how do I switch mobile phone providers?

The Competition and Market Authority (CMA) reveals that seven out of ten people can save £ 222 a year by switching to a mobile phone contract that best suits their needs. In our blog, we will talk about the ways of switching mobile phone providers and how they can help you save some extra bucks.

What’s Your Reason Behind Switching Mobile Phone Providers?

There can be endless reasons behind switching mobile phone providers. The most important ones are listed below:

  • When you’re dissatisfied with your current network service. The reasons can range from the quality of the coverage, the speed of the mobile internet, the level of customer service, and so forth.
  • You plan to avail of an excellent phone contract or SIM card on another network.
  • The rewards offered by another network are proving too tempting for you.
  • You fail to use benefits that you have already paid for.
  • Another network offers a better and cheaper international roaming arrangement.
  • You cannot reach the desired phone on the current network.

Regardless of your reason for switching, our guide explains the best way to switch to a new mobile service provider and what to look out for. But before you make the final decision, you need to consider the following aspects:

Check Your Eligibility for Switching Mobile Phone Provider

It’s crucial. If you still have a contract with your existing service provider for a SIM-only or a phone and tariff contract, you may need to pay the rest of the agreement before switching. Depending on how long you have to run, this can be costly.

If you’re unsure when your term ends with your current provider, there are many ways to find out.

You can usually find your contract expiry date by opening the network app on your phone (provided you have it downloaded). If you don’t see it there, call the network, and let it inform you.

Of course, if you have been using a rolling-contract SIM-only deal, you can change it at any time. Just notify your existing network 30 days in advance.

Check New Network’s Coverage Area

Switching to a new network should be avoided at all costs if you find that you are getting a weak signal in your home or work area.

You can use zip code coverage checkers to check the quality of coverage provided by your network in the city you are connected to.

All you have to do is enter the zip code, and a map will appear showing the quality of coverage in that area.

Below, you’ll find coverage checkers for all major networks:

Your Usage Behaviour

If you’re considering switching providers, take a moment to see how many minutes and how many text messages you use per month. You will probably use more than you think!

It is also essential to consider how often and why you use the internet. If you like to check your emails now and then or stay up to date on Saturday afternoon football results, you probably won’t get much data. However, if you stream videos frequently, you must ensure you don’t miss out.

(If you’re worried about your extensive data usage, here are 8 tips on how to reduce data usage on mobile.)

Current Terms & Conditions

If you have a good idea of which network you want to switch to, always ensure you have the right to terminate your existing contract.

Sometimes a seemingly cheaper offer can cost you a fortune in cancellation fees. If your prices are particularly high, it’s usually worth waiting for a contract.

If it’s just a matter of money, but you’re satisfied with the primary service your network offers, you might want to talk to them and see what they can offer. It’s much more expensive to buy a new customer than to keep an existing one, so if they think they can save their business by offering a compromise, they can.

Now, let’s assume you’ve checked your ability to switch to a new network and its coverage in areas frequented by you. What’s next? The crucial thing is deciding whether you want to keep your phone number when switching providers or not.

Considering how difficult it is to get a new number, which you have to give to all your friends, family, and other contacts, let’s start with how to change providers but keep the same number. Because most of you probably like to do that.

How to Keep Your Number When Switching Mobile Phone Provider?

Keeping your last number is much easier than you think when switching to a mobile network.

You only need a PAC (Porting Authorisation Code) from your existing service provider. You can do this by calling their customer support line.

Following consumer protection regulations, they must provide the CAP code within two hours of the request.

And now, thanks to the new Text to Switch control, switching networks is easier than ever. You don’t even have to call your existing provider if you don’t want to. To get the PAC code immediately, send an SMS to the PAC on 65075, and you are ready to change it.

Want to learn more about the PAC and other details? Explore this step-by-step guide to switching your network.

Once you have the PAC code, the next task is to contact the service provider you want to connect to and provide them with the code. And they can initiate the exchange.

Be sure to use the PAC code within 30 days. Then, the operation is over, and you need to send a message or call the network and order another one.

How to Change Your Mobile Network and Get a New Number

Switching providers is more straightforward if you are not interested in keeping your old number.

In this case, contact the service provider you want to connect to. And let them know that you are not sending the old number and that you wish to have a new one.

Then, you can go ahead and contact your current service provider to let them know that you want to terminate your contract with them.

Of course, it would be wise to try matching the start and end dates of your new and old contracts.

Line them up correctly, and you can be sure you won’t be without phone service for a while and won’t pay for two contracts if the data overlaps.

Text to Switch has also made this process easier – send a STAC message to 75075 to sign the contract and get a Service Termination Authorization Code (STAC).

What About Switching Mobile Phone Providers Mid-Contract?

If you have a long-term landline contract, your options for switching are limited, but you can do a few things if you want to switch to a new cellular carrier.

Suppose you experience a price increase above inflation during your contract (usually 1-2%). In that case, you have the right to withdraw without penalty if you do so within 30 days of being notified. You also have a chance to negotiate with your current service provider, although they are not obligated to reduce contract costs while you are in the contract. But it’s still worth explaining your concerns to see if they are willing to help you.

Switching your provider using other than these two methods may cost you significantly. For instance, if you have a 36-month contract and decide to terminate it in the second month, you will likely have to pay 34 monthly installments. In addition, termination of the contract may incur additional costs.

How to Choose Your Phone Plan?

You first need to decide whether to buy a phone, get a separate SIM, or choose a contract that includes the phone. You can pay much more if you choose the wrong option in the long run.

Here’s what you can do:

Choose a Monthly Phone Deal

In the case of a traditional monthly contract, you pay a fixed minimum monthly fee by direct debit. It involves paying over the phone (usually with a credit agreement, i.e., credit check) and by the SIM card itself, including a specific quota for calls, text messages, and mobile data.

It will require you to commit for a certain period, typically two years. Depending on your plan, there may be an upfront fee that you can consider if you have a contract.

You may have to pay more generally, so consider this against paying a low upfront cost.

Pay attention to the duration of the contract. Most bound you for two years, but some can extend to three years to make the monthly cost low and luring. It must also be observed when the contract is concluded.

Some providers will still charge the total monthly cost even after the contract has been paid. The additional cost can be significant if you exceed the number of minutes, messages, or data in the package. It is imperative to be aware of this when roaming. Most providers now set a default “ceiling” to prevent this, but costs can quickly skyrocket if you remove it to continue using your phone.

Select a SIM-Only Offer

SIM-only deals are becoming more and more popular. And with manufacturers launching flagship phones that include only incremental upgrades from previous generations, it’s no surprise that more and more people are choosing to keep their current devices.

Learn the right way to unlock your phone on any network.

If your smartphone still serves its purpose, you can save a lot of money by buying only a SIM card. You only need to pay for calls, data, and SMS without paying for a new device.

The emergence of one-month, rolling-contract SIM-only deals has made the SIM-only option even more attractive.

SIM-only offers for one month can be canceled with 30-days’ notice. It means you can change your mind and buy a new phone if and when you want to upgrade to the latest iPhone or Android model.

So, instead of having a two-year contract, you can opt for a 12-month or even one-month one, which gives you more flexibility.

How Can Talk Home be Helpful?

If all else fails, it might be time to switch. Outside the big four – EE, O2, Three, and Vodafone – a wide range of operators are now competing for your business, and some offer great-value Sim-only deals.

For instance, Talk Home Mobile, is one of the best MVNOs in the UK. Switching is easy, and you should keep your old number.

And if you’re wondering what an MVNO is, let’s get over your confusion right now.

MVNO stands for Mobile Virtual Network Operators. Also known as virtual networks, some third-party providers operate via infrastructure and coverage of primary mobile networks that you may have heard of, such as EE, O2, Vodafone, and the list goes on. According to Uswitch, about 1,000 virtual networks worldwide represent about 10% of mobile users.

Resorting to an MVNO means getting the same coverage on the network that its parent network offers. Customers choose MVNOs for several reasons, mainly because of their lower prices. If the network coverage is the same as the network you’re running, why not.

You can have a detailed comparison of the best UK MVNOs here.


Whether you intend to switch mobile phone providers for one reason or the other, what matters the most is whether you make the right decision in picking up a new one. Hopefully, this guide serves the purpose of guiding you on the right way to make the best decision and answers all your questions about switching mobile phone providers.

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