If you are old enough to remember the 80s or the 90s era, then you probably can remember the trouble you had trying to transfer a telephone number from BT over to another landline provider or worse still, to get your mobile service provider to let you transfer your mobile number to another network.
Various reasons (or excuses) were often given for why this was not possible, however in many cases it was simply a matter of policy to make it as difficult as possible to pull off such a transfer as the telephone and mobile companies knew from their statistics that if they made it difficult enough, many people would just give up and stay their customer for longer.
In 2003, Ofcom, the UK regulator for all things communication, offered up a simple solution. They mandated to telephone companies that they had to allow people to transfer their number across if they wished to do so. This put an end to the run-around nonsense that so many companies had been engaged in prior to this.
In its place was a thing called a pac code. The pac code (or porting authorisation code to use it’s full name) is a unique code that a service provided that has an existing account with a customer can supply. It is made up for three letters at the front and six numbers at the back, e.g. ABC987654. This code is valid for just 32 days in all and is then invalid.
What Happens When You Want To Transfer A Number
To explain further, let’s say that a T Mobile customer in the UK who wanted to transfer their mobile number from their account over to a new account with O2 to take advantage of a new mobile tariff that O2 just just started offering. The customer would call or write to T Mobile and request a “t mobile pac code”. Depending on whether this request was made over the phone or in writing, this pac code should be issued within either 2 hours or 2 days (the 2 hours requirement for phoned-in requests is completed by sending the pac code by SMS text).
The T Mobile customer would then sign up with O2 to take advantage of that attractive new tariff, and provide them with the pac code they’d been given by T Mobile. O2 will then open their new account and contact T Mobile themselves, giving them the pac code, to request that their new customer’s mobile number be transferred across.
Easy Transfer Processing
The transfer process is carried out completely out of the hands of the customer, which makes it much easier than previously where the customer often had to do battle with the service provider to try to get their phone number moved over. All the customer has to do is request the T mobile pac code, and then their new mobile provider does the rest.
It is now quite pleasing to know that it is pretty much trouble free to move phone numbers around. They are no longer the domain of the telephone company who can use them as a pawn to try to control the customer. Now the customer has the control back. With individuals and businesses increasingly doing business on the mobile phone during busy days, often listing the mobile number on their contact pages for individual executives, losing the phone number is not a viable option. Gladly, with pac codes, transferring mobile numbers around is easy now.