Text to switch: what is it and how do I switch phone deals?

text to switch mobile phone deals
Image credit: Shutterstock (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Text to switch is a name that aptly describes an initiative thataims to make switching phone provider - while keeping your number - easier than ever. The text to switch system must be used by all networks after regulator Ofcom announced the new way of changing networks. The idea is to make it easier than ever to switch phone network so the best mobile phone deals are available to everyone, with no fears about switching hassles.

As the name suggests, text to switch is a system that uses SMS messaging to give customers their vital details to make switching simple, without needing to wait around on a call like the old days – or put up with attempts to convince you to stay.

So what exactly does text to switch offer you, how does it work and can you get a phone saving with a new deal? Read on to find out everything you need to know then check out our phone deals guide to see if you're due an upgrade. 

What is text to switch?

To switch network and keep your phone number you previously had to call your provider, often with a long wait on the phone, to get your unique PAC (porting authorisation code). This essentially lets the company know when your number has been added to a new network legitimately so it can release your number over there.

The new text to switch system makes accessing that PAC code as simple as sending a text to your provider for an instant reply with the code that you need to switch network.

How do I switch phone providers with text to switch?

All you need to do is text "PAC" to 65075. Your provider will then be required to message you back within a minute. This message is also required to include any early termination charges or pay as you go balance charges, so you know exactly where you stand. The code will be valid for 30 days, leaving you plenty of time to make the switch to a new provider.

Once you give your PAC code to the new provider, it is required to make the switch over and activation of your number within one working day. 

How do I keep my mobile number with text to switch?

To keep your mobile number, despite switching networks, all you need to do is follow the above process. That basic text to switch system is devised to make it easy to switch while keeping your original phone number, so you don't need to worry about telling anyone to change your number – they won't even know you've changed network.

Can I text to switch and change my mobile number?

It is possible to also use text to switch but to get a new number, if you fancy a fresh start (aka an escape from all those annoying sales callers that somehow have your number). To switch, but still get yourself a new number, you simply follow a similar process. Send a text with the letters "STAC" to 75075 and you will get a service termination authorisation code. Give this to your new provider and they'll take care of everything for you.

How long does it take to text to switch?

The process should only take a day. You can text to get your PAC or STAC code within a minute. This can then be given to the new network provider and they are required to have you up and running within one working day. So, realistically, that could mean you go into a store and leave on a new network with your same number up and running, or you may have to wait until the next day rolls around.

If you're a business user this is a bit different as the response time with a PAC code can take up to two working days. 

Can you swap phones during a contract?

You can potentially swap phones even if you're still in a contract. When you send that text for your PAC code you'll be notified if you have any outstanding fees to pay. If you have time left on your contract you may have to pay the balance after which time you'll own your current phone outright.

Then it's easy for you to get a totally new phone deal on your fresh contract. Or go for a SIM only option and buy the new phone outright. Of course you now also have the option to trade-in your current phone to make a bit of a saving on the new handset too, so don't forget to factor that in, especially if you're aiming for a pricey handset.

What are today's best mobile phone deals?

All of the mobile phone deals can be found at that link. These include big names on both Apple iOS and Android operating systems. To get you to the best contract tariffs on the biggest handsets even quicker, follow the below links and go from there:

Luke Edwards

Luke is a freelance writer and editor with over two decades of experience covering tech, science and health. Among many others he writes across Future titles covering health tech, software and apps, VPNs, TV, audio, smart home, antivirus, broadband, smartphones, cars and plenty more. He also likes to climb mountains, swim outside and contort his body into silly positions while breathing as calmly as possible.