PAC stands for Port Authorisation Code. Mobile phone users have the right to take their number with them when they change to a different operator and this is known as known as mobile number portability. Your PAC is a nine character code made of letters and numbers that allows you to port your mobile number to a different mobile network. You get your PAC from your old mobile network provider and give it to your new provider so that you can bring your mobile number with you.
We’ve written a comprehensive article that explains the easiest way to simply get your PAC from your existing network operator.
How will I receive my PAC and how long will it take?
Many websites have very inaccurate information about this but we’ve been sure to check out the latest Ofcom regulations to ensure we provide accurate and up-to-date information. The simple answer is that PACs have to be issued immediately over the phone or within a maximum of two hours by SMS. No mobile network is allowed to take longer than this to get you your PAC. You also don’t have to wait for them to send it out in a letter.
In the past it could take several working days to receive your PAC and mobile phone networks refused to give them out over the phone or to text you quickly. When requesting your PAC, make sure you let your network know that you are aware of the Ofcom regulations and that you expect to receive it immediately or within two hours by text message.
Can my mobile network refuse to give me a PAC?
There’s also lots of incorrect information online about the regulations regarding getting your PAC in order to port your mobile number. The only circumstances under which a mobile network can refuse to issue a PAC are if the account is closed, the account holder is dead or if a valid PAC has already been issued. As you can see, as long as you are the owner of the account, your mobile operator is obliged to provide you with a PAC.
A mobile network is not allowed to refuse to give your your PAC just because you have any outstanding bills or charges to pay. However, some mobile phone providers may charge you to port your number and you must remember that, if you are still under contract to your old network operator, you may still be liable for charges under that contract.
If you have trouble getting a PAC from your provider, you might like to try using this template letter to make a complaint.
How long is my PAC valid for? What can I do if it expires?
Your PAC is only valid for 30 days from when you are given it. You must give it to the mobile network you want to switch to within this timeframe. If not, it will run out. If you’ve let your PAC expire, you can just ask you old operating network to give you a new one which will last for another 30 days.
How do I use my PAC?
Once you have received your PAC, you will need to provide this code to your new service provider. Be careful, some service providers, require your PAC at the time you are changing mobile network – if you do not give them your PAC at the point of connection, you may not be able to transfer your mobile phone number. The process for giving your PAC to your new mobile service provider differs between mobile networks – please contact your new network to find out the exact procedure.
Can you port from PAYG to contract and from contract to PAYG?
Yes you can. This process is called migration. The procedure in this article is the same migrations as it is for normal number porting requests. Bear in mind if you port away from a PAYG network that you’ll lose any unused credit.
How long will it take for my number to be ported?
After you give your new network provider your PAC, porting your mobile number should be very quick. Ignore outdated information saying that it could take up to 14 days – new Ofcom regulations mean that your number can be transferred in just one working day. Your new network will provide you with a temporary number while your mobile number is ported across.
Where can I get free SIM cards to try a new mobile network?
After you’re read our reviews of the top networks in the UK, please head over to our free SIM page to order a new free SIM card with free credit included. You might also want to read our articles that explain how to change mobile network and the details of porting your mobile number.