By Dan Howdle | Tuesday, February 26th 2019
So you're leaving EE. Do you need to phone them, or will your new provider take care of it? PAC codes. What are they? Why do you need one? When do you need one? How do you get one? There are so many questions.
Lucky for you, we've gone to the trouble of leaving EE recently, and made a lot of notes along the way. Is it a pain? A bit. Nevertheless, it's much easier than you might imagine. It's all about doing stuff in precisely the right order. Follow these instructions to the letter and you can't go wrong.
EE will want you to call them first, but don't do that. They're going to want to keep you as a customer, so if you want to get out clean, having a new deal you've already bought is the ammo you need in your quit gun. Go buy something. Have fun. Our SIM-only and handset comparison pages are updated daily and may find you an even better deal than the one you already had in mind.
Obviously, you'll first need to check where you are in your contract and provided you're free to leave, going and joining another provider is where you start, whether that's buying a new handset or just getting a new SIM-only deal for your existing one.
Once you've signed up and your new handset/SIM/both is on its way to you, that's when you need to start thinking about contacting EE.
Though the situation has improved much over the last few years, if you switch, don’t forget to use your new provider’s coverage checker before signing on the dotted line.
A PAC code is a set of digits providers need to port your phone number across. Now you've bought your new SIM or handset contract deal, you're going to be waiting anything between one and five working days for either or both to be delivered. It's during this time you should call EE (150 from your EE phone). Follow the directions on EE's automated system to get a PAC code.
Don't be shocked at how quickly EE picks up the phone once you've indicated to the automated system you need a PAC code. When we did this it was in a fraction of the time it would take for EE to answer a regular customer service query. That's because EE knows it's about to lose a customer, and will now do everything it can to avert that.
But tough luck, EE. Because you've already bought a new deal from someone else. So when they ask if you're thinking of leaving, tell EE you've already signed up with another provider. EE will probably ask why. You don't have to tell them. If you're leaving due to poor service, you may want to use this opportunity to have a dig, but just remember that won't get you out any quicker.
Our preferred method to avoid the entire theatre of EE trying to persuade us to stay was simply to tell them we wanted a handset not available on EE. If they ask you which one, at this point it's fair to tell them it's none of their business.
EE will offer to email or text (or both) the PAC code to you. You will receive it in minutes.
The PAC code you received from EE is valid for two weeks – plenty of time to receive your new SIM or handset and set it up. Just go right ahead and set it up with the SIM provided by your new provider. Don't worry about getting your old number across until your new phone and SIM are up and running. In some cases, this may involve setting up your online account with your new provider.
Once your phone is up and running and you have (if necessary) set up your online account, now is the time to call your new provider's customer service line and inform them you have a PAC code. They will take this from you and apply it to your account. This will then port your number across, but bear in mind this process is not instantaneous – it will usually take around 72 hours (three days).
If you need to use your phone in the meantime, we recommend you keep your old handset handy or reinstall your old SIM while you wait. You won't get any notification informing you when the number has been ported, you'll just have to try it after a couple of days.
Rather annoyingly, you won't be able to get your final bill till your number has been ported over. At some point after it has you'll get a paper bill from EE informing you of the final amount, even if you have paper bills switched off in your account settings. You'll want to pay this as soon as you can to avoid any dramas. Don't stick it on some distant to-do list – mobile phone providers are among the most diligent in reporting late payments to credit reference agencies.
And that's that's that. Congratulations, you managed to switch away from EE in the most hassle-free way possible.