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How do I keep my mobile number?


How do I keep my mobile number?


It's easy to keep your current mobile number and transfer it to giffgaff. You can transfer any mobile number (contract or PAYG) from any mobile network.


The following guide will let you know what you'll need and what to expect.  Here's a breakdown of the contents of this guide, click the link to go to each section:



If you are looking for information about how to transfer your giffgaff number to another giffgaff SIM, please have a look at this article about SIM Swap instead.



What you need to know

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You can transfer any UK mobile phone number to giffgaff, provided you have fulfilled any contractual agreement you may have with your previous service provider.

If you're still locked into a contract, it may be possible for you to leave it early. You may be charged a fee to leave your contract early, and typically this would be your remaining line rental.

Also it is important to know that on your day of transfer you will lose service between 9am and 9pm. As the process is dependent on your old service provider releasing your number, we cannot offer assurances about the length of time you will be without service. Also, it is not possible to transfer your number over the weekend or any public holiday (Bank Holidays, etc.) - so you'll need to pick a normal weekday.


If you are looking to transfer your number from giffgaff to another provider, have a look at this article instead.


What happens to my credit on my previous service provider's account ?


Any remaining credit you have with your previous service provider will be forfeit or lost when your number is transferred to giffgaff.  It is not possible to have this credit transferred to your giffgaff account.


Rather than letting this credit go to waste you could donate it to charity; various charities accept donations by text.  For example giffgaff have a justgiving page in support of Great Ormond Street Hospital giffgaffGOSH. Of course you are at liberty to donate to any charity as you see fit.



What you need

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To keep your number and transfer it to giffgaff, you just need two things:


1. PAC (Porting Authorisation Code)


You need a PAC from your current service provider. Contact your current service provider and request a PAC as you want to transfer (or 'port-out') your number to another network. PACs are valid for 30 days from the issue date. See the table below for a list of network contact numbers. Typically it shouldn't take more than 2 days, if you have any questions - Ofcom has some handy links and tips here.


2. Active giffgaff SIM


You need an active giffgaff SIM so we can process the transfer. You will know that your sim is active because your account dashboard will display your randomly assigned giffgaff number and you will have received an SMS from giffgaff confirming your new, albeit temporary, number. 


Once you have your PAC and active SIM - head to Help > Transfer your number



Contact details for each network

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Call up your existing network and request your PAC. Calling the three/four digit number from your mobile using your old SIM is the quickest and easiest way to go.




Contract SIM

Network Namefrom Handsetfrom Handset
 T-Mobile 150 150
Orange 450 150
O2 4445 202
Vodafone 191 191
3 Mobile 333 333
Asda Mobile 2732 N/A



Alternatively the lovely wman2 put together this list of freephone numbers if you cannot call directly from your handset and don't fancy paying for an 0845 number.



Freephone Number


Vodafone 0808 094 5945 Direct line to PAC department
O2 0800 028 8151 Ask for "Retentions"
Orange 0800 079 7777 Direct line to PAC department
T-Mobile 0800 956 5000 Choose Option 2, then ask for "Retentions"
3 0800 358 6796 Choose Option 2, then ask for "Retentions"
Tesco Mobile 0800 433 4990 Ask to be put through to Customer Services, then "Retentions"
Asda Mobile 0800 952 0101 Choose Option 1, then 3, then 4, then 1
Virgin Mobile 0808 100 8282 Ask to be put through to Customer Services
Talk Mobile 0800 049 4401 Ask to be put through to Customer Services
Lyca Mobile 0800 652 7566 Ask for "Retentions"
Lebara Mobile 020 7031 0791 No freephone number (sorry) - say you need your PAC
Vectone Mobile 020 7179 0134 No freephone number (sorry) - say you need your PAC
Family Mobile 0800 112 4350  Say you need your PAC
iCard Mobile 020 7870 5722

Say you need your PAC


[Incidentally, on giffgaff it is free to call numbers starting 0500, 0800 and 0808 - we believe calling freephone numbers should be free]



You have your PAC, request to transfer your number now

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Once you've got your PAC in your hot little hands - you simply need to fill out the 'Transfer your number' form (you'll need to be logged in and already have activated your SIM).

You'll need the following info:

  • The mobile number you want to keep
  • The PAC (Porting Authorisation Code)
  • Your preferred transfer date (note: you can't transfer your number over the weekend or on a Bank Holiday. If you do choose one of these dates the system will select the next available day for your transfer). The date chosen must be within the next 14 days and you need to give at least 24 hours notice as well.
  • An alternative contact number (just in case we need to get hold of you)

If you have all these elements at hand, click here to complete the form:


Insert your PAC code to transfer your number

Once you submit the form, we'll do the rest. Your number will transfer before 9pm on the selected day.

Want to transfer your number tomorrow? It is possible - but you MUST submit your PAC before 3pm on the day of your request. Please see the timetable below:


 Day of request

Request before 3pm,
transfer on:

Request after 3pm,
transfer on:

Saturday or Sunday




















Saving your contacts before you transfer your number

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So you don't lose any info - if you have contacts stored on your SIM you will need to do a little phone 'housekeeping'.

You have three options:

  • copy the contacts from your SIM onto your phone and after the number transfer copy them back from the phone to the new giffgaff SIM
  • If you have a smartphone you could backup your information to the cloud, e.g. Google contacts for Android and iCloud for iPhones, and restore from this backup after the transfer
  • ultimately you can make a note of any important numbers on your old SIM/mobile or any data from your message folders, as well as calendar reminders and transfer these manually to the new SIM.



What to do on transfer day

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Remember, you will experience a loss of service at some stage between the hours of approximately 9am and 9pm - typically this is no more than a few hours but can take up to a day, so please make plans so you're not caught short.


We made the graph below to give you an idea of when we process the transfers during a typical day. The data you are interested in are in green, they are the transfers of numbers to giffgaff.



Port statistics.jpg


As the process is dependent on your old service provider releasing your number, we cannot offer assurances about the length of time you will be without service. As you can see with the data in violet, we mostly release giffgaff numbers from 6am to 7am.


This is how it will happen:


  1. Keep your old SIM (if you have it) in your phone until you lose service and / or it shows an error message (e.g. "SIM card registration failed").
  2. Switch off your phone and insert your giffgaff SIM.
  3. Switch on your phone:
  • If the transfer is complete, you will see giffgaff on the screen and you'll be able to make calls and texts as normal.
  • If it says something like 'SIM card registration failed', it has not completed yet - switch your phone off and try again in an hour or so.

When the number transfer is complete your number will be updated on My giffgaff


During the transfer process your giffgaff sim will stop working for a short while and then start working again but you may find that calls, texts and data work at different times until the process is complete.


It is advisable to switch your phone (with the giffgaff sim in it) off and on every half hour or so until everything works correctly, which will signify that the number transfer has completed.


Note: During the transfer process, any credit and/or goodybag on your account will be removed temporarily. Don't worry, it will all be returned once the process completes. After starting the number transfer, do not attempt to top-up as it is likely to fail and you may lose your money. Once your number has updated on My giffgaff, the ability to top-up will be back to normal.



Worried about your transfer?

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If your number still hasn't transferred by 9am on the following day, you can raise a query to a Member Service Agent. Make sure to complete accurately the following information:  Existing giffgaff mobile number; new mobile number (the one you want to transfer), alternative contact number; PAC.


Please do not contact the agents before 9am on the day following the transfer date as the process would be still ongoing and they could not act on it.



Handy links

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How do I keep my mobile number?

started by chriskm on ‎23-03-2012 09:37 - last edited on ‎09-09-2014 08:33 by giffgaff Educator
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