UK mobile phone customers can now switch network with a text

BY JAMES SISSON | 1 July 2019 14:34

From today a major new Ofcom reform comes into effect, allowing UK mobile phone customers to switch network provider by sending an SMS text message.

The new “Text to Switch” rules mean customers no longer need to call their existing provider in order to obtain a PAC (Port Authorisation Code) or STAC (Service Termination Authorisation Code), giving customers greater control over how they switch provider.

According to Ofcom, almost two in five customers (38%) switching state they “experienced at least one major problem” prior to the new changes, while seven in ten “encountered at least some difficulty.”

Ofcom’s new rules also stop network providers from charging for notice periods after switching, to prevent customers from paying for both old and new services concurrently. Ofcom estimates that this change will save UK mobile customers in the region of £10m a year.

Lindsey Fussell, Ofcom’s Consumer Group Director, said: “Too many people are put off by the hassle of switching mobile provider. Our changes will make it quicker and easier for mobile phone users to get a better deal.

“Customers will control how much contact they have with their current mobile provider, preventing companies from delaying and frustrating the switching process.”

How Text to Switch Works

UK mobile customers can now text one of two numbers to change provider. The provider must respond immediately with a PAC code for customers who wish to transfer their existing mobile number, or a STAC code for customers who want a new number.

Customers can then provide their PAC or STAC code to a retailer or new provider to switch network more easily, typically completed within one working day.

Network providers must also make it clear in their reply whether an Early Termination Fee is payable by the customer, for switching before their network contract end date, as well as any outstanding handset costs or remaining pay-as-you-go credit balances

Customers PAC and STAC codes are valid for 30 days from the date they’re requested. If they’re not used, then customers will continue to be charged for their existing provider’s services. A new code can be obtained at any time by text.

You can start your switch today from the Smooth Switch homepage.