A PAC code or Porting Authorisation Code is a unique alphanumeric code that mobile phone users need if they wish to switch their mobile network provider while retaining their existing phone number. The PAC code allows the new provider to transfer the user’s phone number from the old provider, ensuring a seamless and hassle-free transition between networks.

Providers are legally obliged to supply the PAC code within two hours of making the request, and it is valid for thirty days from the date of issue. Once you have shared your PAC code with your new provider, the process of porting your number across will begin.

Keep reading to find out more about how PAC codes work, how to get one, and how to use one.

What Does a PAC Code Do?

A PAC code is a unique identifier that enables mobile phone users to seamlessly switch to another network without changing their mobile phone number. When you get a PAC code and provide your new mobile phone network provider with it, they will use the code to communicate with your old provider and initiate the transfer of your mobile number. This allows you to easily avoid the inconvenience of changing your mobile number when changing networks and having to update your contact information with friends, family, and any other services that require your phone number.

How to Get a PAC Code: The Essential Steps

To begin the process of getting a PAC code, follow these essential steps:

  1. Contact your current mobile provider: You can do this via phone, live chat, text message, email, or by visiting a local store. Have your account information ready for verification purposes.
  2. Request your PAC code: Inform the representative that you want to leave their network and need a PAC code to do so. Be prepared to answer any questions that they have.
  3. Receive your PAC code: The provider must supply you with the code within two hours. As mentioned, a PAC code is generally valid for thirty days, so be sure to use it within that timeframe. If you don’t, you will need to get another PAC code to switch your phone number to a new network.

How to Get PAC Code with Text-to-Switch

Mobile users in the UK can utilise the Text-to-Switch service to obtain a PAC code. All you need to do is:

  1. Send a text message: Simply text ‘PAC’ to 65075 to initiate the process. Your provider will respond with your PAC code and any relevant account details.
  2. Check for termination fees: The text response from your mobile network should also include any early termination charges you will be liable for if you leave, or any outstanding balances associated with your account.

Getting a PAC Code: Tips to Keep in Mind

To make the process of getting a PAC code as smooth as possible, keep the following tips in mind:

  1. Be patient: While you should have the code within two hours of making the request, there may be some delays during peak times or if your network is experiencing technical difficulties. If you haven’t received your PAC code within a reasonable timeframe, contact your provider again.
  2. Know your rights: Make sure that you are familiar with all relevant regulations and consumer rights to ensure that you are treated fairly during the process. In the UK, providers are legally obliged to provide a PAC code upon request, even if you are tied into a contract. However, you may still be liable to repay any outstanding contract balance.
  3. Prepare for potential hurdles: Your provider may try to convince you to stay with offers or deals. If you are set on leaving, be prepared to stand your ground and focus on obtaining your PAC code.

How to Use a PAC Code

Once you have your PAC code in hand, it’s time to put it to use. Here are some simple steps to follow:

  1. Choose your new mobile provider: If you’re moving over to Lebara, there’s a simple process to follow to get you set up.
  2. Sign up with the new provider: Purchase the plan of your choice and provide your personal details to register. During this process, be sure to mention that you are planning to port your existing number.
  3. Provide your PAC code: Share your PAC code with your new provider. They will then use it to request the transfer of your number from your old provider.
  4. Wait for the porting process to complete: The porting process typically takes up to one working day. During this time, you may experience a brief period without service.
  5. Activate your new SIM: Once the porting process has been completed, insert your new SIM card and follow the activation instructions provided by your new provider.

Common PAC Code Problems to Be Aware Of

While a PAC code will generally make the process of switching mobile network providers and keeping your phone number easy, there are some common problems to be aware of and look out for. These include:

  1. Delay in receiving the code: Mobile network providers are legally required to issue you with a PAC code within two hours of requesting one. However, in some cases, there might be a delay due to miscommunication, technical issues, or high call volumes.
  2. PAC code expiration: Your PAC code will be valid for 30 days from the date it is issued. You must use the PAC code during this timeframe. If you don’t, it will expire, and you will need to request a new one.
  3. Incorrect PAC code: Occasionally, a mobile network provider may provide you with an incorrect PAC code, which can lead to problems during the porting process. In this case, you will need to get back in touch with your current mobile provider to obtain the correct code.
  4. Incomplete or delayed porting process: The number porting process usually takes up to one working day. However, this is not always the case, and there may be a longer wait time due to technical issues or miscommunications between the two providers.
  5. Loss of services: During the porting process, there may be a brief service disruption when your number is switched between the two providers.
  6. Early termination fees or outstanding balances: If you are still in a contract with your old provider, you may be required to pay any outstanding balances, an early termination fee, or both, when switching to a new provider.
  7. SIM card compatibility issues: Make sure that your current device is compatible with the new provider’s SIM card before you switch. Some devices may use a different SIM card size or format, which will require a different SIM card or adaptor from your new provider.
  8. Unresolved issues with the old provider: If you have any unresolved issues or disputes with your old provider such as unpaid bills, they may refuse to release your number.
  9. Incompatible devices: Some devices might be locked to a certain phone network, which will make it impossible to use the new provider’s SIM card in your phone. If this is the case, you will need to have your phone unlocked before you can switch networks.
  10. Inaccurate account information: When you request a PAC code or start the porting process, you will need to provide accurate personal and account information. Any discrepancies in the information could lead to delays or complications in the process.

To avoid or resolve these issues, it’s essential to communicate effectively with both your current and new providers. Remain patient throughout the process and understand your consumer rights.

How to Use PAC Code – Making the Most of It

To ensure a seamless transition when using a PAC code, remember these essential points:

  1. Use the code within 30 days: As your PAC code will expire after 30 days, it’s crucial to initiate the porting process as soon as possible.
  2. Notify your old provider: Once you have ported your number, contact your previous provider to ensure that they have closed your account and ceased billing. If necessary, pay any outstanding balances on the account and check for any hidden fees.
  3. Be patient during the transition: The porting process will generally take up to one working day, but there is a chance that you may experience delays. Keep your old SIM card handy until the transition is complete, in case you need it.
  4. Test your new service: Once you have activated your new SIM card, make a test call, or send a message to make sure that everything is working as it should. If you experience any issues, contact your new provider’s customer support team for advice.
  5. Enjoy your new network: With your number now successfully ported to your new provider, take advantage of the new features, benefits, and cost savings that you switched to.

Obtaining and using a PAC code is an essential step for mobile users who want to switch mobile providers with their existing phone number. The process is generally straightforward, and by understanding how it works and common complications that might arise, you can have your number set up on your new network in no time.