How to switch mobile phone providers (and keep your phone number)


WhistleOut
30 May 2016

If you are concerned that the process of switching is either too difficult or time-consuming to bother with, read on.

The great news is that it is very easy to switch between carriers in Australia, and there are even laws to protect your right to switch and that you always keep your phone number.

Your phone number is held by your carrier, but only as long as you allow them to. There is a system called Mobile Number Portability which means that the old carrier automatically relinquishes the number and transfers it to the new carrier each time you activate a new service.

Here's the switching process:
  1. Find a new plan and sign up with a new carrier online,over the phone or in-store
  2. When signing up you will be asked whether you want to 'port' your number to the new account - simply provide your phone number and your account number with your current provider.
  3. Your new service will be activated within in a few hours in most cases, but this can sometimes take longer than a day.

Importantly, your old service will continue to work until the porting has been completed.

Plus, all of your contacts, phone numbers, emails and photos are stored on your phone itself, so switching carriers will not delete your personal information.

Will I get this option automatically?

Yes — you should easily find a number portability option as you sign up for new mobile phone and plan, no matter where you sign up. With an online store, look for the options to keep your number - remember it is officially called Mobile Number Portability or 'porting'.

What happens with my old mobile phone service?

Requesting your number be ported to your new provider is the last thing you need to do to cancel your old service. The rest of the process is handled by the telcos, so you don't need to cancel your old service. Simply start using your new service, and expect a final bill from your old provider in the near future.

If you choose not to port your number, or even sign up for a new service, you will need to contact your provider to cancel your service, either by calling the support team or visiting a store.

I thought it was harder?

It used to be harder than it is now. Carriers would try to lock you in by making you start again with a new number if you switched sides. This was not fair to customers and thankfully it's now been changed.

We have The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) to thank for the reforms which make it easy to port your number to a new mobile carrier. Officially it is called Mobile Number Portability (MNP) , and it's one of the main drivers of competition in the mobile industry.

For more information from the ACMA, visit the website.

Tips from the ACMA

  • If you change your provider and keep your existing mobile number, remember you're not taking the service with you; just the number. You can only take your mobile number with you if you're the authorised customer, i.e: the person who is registered by name with the mobile service account with the mobile phone company.
  • Do not cancel your contract with your current provider before changing your service provider. Only connected phone numbers can be transferred.
  • If you have outstanding debts with your existing provider, you'll still be liable for paying them, even if you transfer your number to another provider. Having a debt cannot prevent you from changing providers, but your application for an account with a new provider will be subject to the usual credit checks.
  • Look into any technical and handset issues you might experience when you change providers. If you're keeping your handset, check whether it is compatible with the mobile technology used by your new provider.
  • If you're a pre-paid mobile customer, your mobile phone may be SIM-locked, and your current provider may charge you to unlock your SIM card if you want to use the same handset with another provider's network.


Comments

WhistleOut

Australia's Leading Site For Comparing Mobile Phones & Plans

We unpack 8,277 complex mobile phone plan combinations from 30 carriers so you can find a new plan in seconds.

Start Comparing


  • Optus
  • Telstra
  • Vodafone
  • Virgin Mobile
  • Amaysim
  • Boost Mobile
  • Vaya
  • Woolworths


Compare phones and plans from the following carriers...

Personal

Business

Featured Deals

iPhone 7 - compare plans & prices

Compare plans & prices for the new iPhone 7 here including any special promotions being offered...

$10 off your first 28 days on any UNLIMITED plan

New orders for any amaysim UNLIMITED plan can get $10 off the first 28 days with code SPECIAL10. Hurry ends 10th October...

Samsung Galaxy S7 edge FLASH SALE

Woolworths Mobile are offering the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge with 8GB data for $70/ month, usually $88. Hurry offer ends 4th October.

Bendigo Bank Telco Offer

Enjoy Unlimited Talk & Text, 5GB data + $300 value for international calling for $34.95 for the first 6 months (save $5/month) + fast & free SIM delivery

Sites that use our comparison technology

Our comparison technology is used by many publishers to evaluate products and services. You can find our technology and service on:


About this Service

WhistleOut maintains a broad list of service providers and we endeavour to cover at least the top ten service providers in every category so that you can make a transparent choice. When you see a 'promoted product' or a product with a 'go to site' button it means that WhistleOut is earning a transaction click fee for the referral. We audit the prices in our database regularly and we don't alter the ranking of products in our organic search based on any commercial relationship. Find out more here