Keep Your Number

It’s an exciting time when you get a new contract; it’s a new deal, better coverage, maybe a new phone. Unfortunately thought it comes with a brand new SIM.

At first it seems like that’s a good thing. Until you remember that new SIM cards come with new numbers, and a new number means a lot of hassle. You have to text all your contacts, put a Facebook status up to alert your friends, and memorize a new set of 11 digits in a seemingly random order.

However, it doesn’t have to be this way.

All you need to do is ring your previous provider before your contract ends. You follow the menu as if you’re cancelling your contract and when you finally land on a human being you simply ask for your PAC code.


PAC codes are mobile phone network’s codes that help them link SIM cards with telephone numbers, and every mobile number will have one. Your network operator is required to provide you with your PAC code within 48 hours of you having requested it in the first instance.

Unfortunately though, some networks can be notoriously difficult to get them. They make the request procedure so difficult that they think that you might as well not bother. For example, Vodafone requires you to fill out a form, sign it, and return it to them. (I scanned it in and email it to them).

At the time you might not be bothered, but remember the long term hassle of a new number, versus a few days of a temporary number and spending half an hour shouting at a man in a call center in India. It’s definitely worth it.

Once you’ve got your PAC codes from your old network, you are free to cancel your contract with them. You then give your PAC code to your new network, along with your temporary number (that they gave you; your two contracts should overlap by a few days), the name of your previous network and the old telephone number you’d like to transfer over.

It’s a lot simpler than I’m making it sound and it saves a lot of trouble in learning a new number. Networks try to keep you, so they don’t make it easy to get hold of your PAC codes, and they never tell you when you’re cancelling, but they’re easy to get hold of if you try!