At the end of 2017, Ofcom announced major reforms to the way customers can switch between mobile networks in the UK. Now the date has finally arrived and networks are obliged to implement the changes.
Originally, the UK's communications regulator found some unnecessary difficulties in the process of switching providers when a contract is expired. Two in five people who switched their network revealed that they have experienced at least one major problem while doing so.
One of the biggest complaints was that, because a customer had to speak to their provider, they often faced unwanted attempts to persuade them to stay.
That lead to Ofcom enforcing a new "text-to-switch" system designed to eliminate the stress of changing mobile network providers, which had to be adopted by networks from Monday 1 July 2019.
How to change your mobile network by text
Here are the details on how to change your mobile network by text no matter your current provider.
How to switch from most providers (including EE, Vodafone and O2)
To switch provider and keep the same number, you can now simply text "PAC" to 65075 - a free number all providers recognise. In return, your current operator is obliged to send you a unique switching code.
If you want to switch but do not need to keep the phone number, just text "STAC" to 75075. You will then receive a service termination code in return.
In either case, the unique switching code will be valid for 30-days so you can request one even if you are still shopping for a new provider.
Once you do find a new network, just give them the PAC or STAC code when joining. The switch, Ofcom says, must be activated within one working day.
You should also still be able to cancel or switch your mobile network by phone or online. The same timeline rules above must apply, however.
Ofcom has also enforced a new information text service operators must offer. By texting "INFO" to 85075 you can find out whether if your contract has expired or not, or whether there are charges to pay to cancel your contract early.
Note, Ofcom has also banned charges for notice periods that run after the switch date.
How to switch from Three
Most of the above applies to Three customers except the text requires additional verification. So, you need to add your date of birth to the text.
To request your PAC code, text "PAC" and your date of birth in DDMMYY format. For example, if your date of birth is 3 May 1984, text "PAC 030584" to 65075.
The same applies for the STAC code. For example, "STAC 030584" to 75075.
As with all other networks, the text will be free.