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How to Switch Mobile Phone Providers in the UK: A Comprehensive Guide

All you need to know about how to switch mobile networks in the UK

Are you considering switching your mobile phone provider in the UK? You're not alone. Millions of people in the UK switch their mobile network every year.

Many people are looking for better deals, improved service, or a provider that aligns with their values. 

In this guide, we'll walk you through everything you need to know about switching mobile phone providers, including what factors to consider, how the process works, and tips for making a smooth transition.

Factors to Consider When Switching Mobile Phone Providers:

1. Pricing and Deals

One of the primary reasons people switch mobile providers is to get a better deal. When comparing plans, consider factors such as monthly cost, data allowances, and any additional fees. Don't forget to look for special promotions or discounts that could save you even more.

2. Network Coverage and Signal Strength

Before switching, make sure the new provider offers reliable coverage in your area. Check their coverage maps and read reviews from other customers to ensure you'll have a strong signal at home, work, and other places you frequently visit. 

You can find out more about how network coverage works and what affects signal coverage in our detailed guide here.

3. Transparency and Ethics

It's important to choose a provider that is transparent about their pricing, terms, and conditions. Look for companies that have a reputation for being honest and upfront with their customers. Additionally, consider the provider's ethical and sustainability practices, such as their commitment to reducing their environmental impact or supporting social causes.

Key things to look out for is recognised independent accreditations and certifications such as B Corp, that assure best practice in terms of corporate governance, ethical approaches

4. Customer Service and Support

When issues arise, you want a provider that offers excellent customer service and support. Look for companies with multiple support channels, such as phone, email, and live chat.

A lot of companies (large and small) have been actively reducing their investment in customer service and replacing it with chatbots and AI tools. While these can be effective, it can be highly time-consuming and even frustrating to navigate past these tools and get the help you need from a human. This is why at Meaningful Planet, as well as leveraging data and technology, we are committed to always having a human support and customer service team that is easy to access by email, social media, and phone.

Read reviews and ratings from current and past customers to get a sense of their experience with the provider's support team, particularly on independent reviews sites such as Trustpilot.

Transferring Your Number to a New Provider:

1. Obtaining Your PAC or STAC Code

If you want to keep your existing phone number when switching providers, you'll need to obtain a Porting Authorization Code (PAC). If you're switching providers but not keeping your number, you'll need a Service Termination Authorization Code (STAC). You can request either code by texting "PAC" or "STAC" to 65075 from the number you want to transfer or cancel. This service is free and supported by Ofcom, the UK's communications regulator.

2. Providing the Code to Your New Provider

Once you have your PAC or STAC code, provide it to your new provider when signing up for your new plan. They will handle the transfer process, which typically takes one working day. At Meaningful Planet, we offer free number transfers and strive to complete the process within one working day to ensure a smooth transition for our customers.

3. Cancelling Your Old Plan

After your number has been successfully transferred or your old service has been terminated, your old plan will be automatically cancelled. However, it's a good idea to contact your old provider to confirm the cancellation and settle any outstanding balances.

How to Approach Switching Mobile Networks in the UK to Ensure You Get the Best Deal For You

1. Research and Compare Providers

Start by researching and comparing different mobile phone providers to find the best fit for your needs. Use comparison websites and read reviews to gather information on pricing, coverage, and customer experience.

2. Check Your Contract Status

Before switching, check your current contract status to see if you're eligible to leave without incurring any early termination fees. If you're under contract, you may need to wait until it expires or pay a fee to exit early.

3. Order Your New Plan

Once you've chosen a new provider, order your new plan and provide your PAC or STAC code if applicable. Your new provider will usually handle the transfer process. For instance, with Meaningful Planet, you just need to enter the number you want to transfer and your PAC or STAC code into our online form and we’ll handle the rest.

4. Update Your Billing Information

After your number has been successfully transferred or your new service is activated, update your billing information for any services tied to your old number or plan.

Tips for a Smooth Transition:

1. Back up your data before switching devices or providers.

2. Make sure you have a record of important contacts and information.

3. Read the fine print and understand the terms of your new plan.

4. Keep an eye out for any final bills from your old provider.


Switching mobile phone providers in the UK is a straightforward process these days, especially with the introduction of PAC and STAC codes and the Ofcom regulated switching service.

By considering factors such as pricing, coverage, ethics, and customer service, you can find a provider that meets your needs and aligns with your values. 

At Meaningful Planet, we pride ourselves on offering competitive plans, excellent coverage, and a commitment to sustainability. We also provide free number transfers and aim to complete the process within one working day. We invite you to explore our plans and join our mailing list for exclusive offers and updates. 

With a little research and preparation, you can confidently switch to a mobile provider that works best for you.