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How to cancel O2 mobile

By Emma Lunn | Tuesday, March 21st 2023

So, the time has come to part company with O2. Whatever the reason, it’s likely that you will want to keep your old O2 phone number. In which case, you’ll need to port it to your new provider. Porting is pretty straightforward these days – here’s all you need to know.

The key to porting success is to know your rights and do everything in the right order. O2 won’t want to let you go but it doesn’t have a choice. But leaving needn’t be stressful – follow these instructions and you’ll soon be free.

Find a new mobile deal

If you’re dead-set on leaving, you need to check that you’re free to do so penalty-free. You can find out when your contract ends by looking at your bill, by checking your My O2 account online, or by calling customer services on 202 from your O2 mobile phone.

Assuming you set up your mobile contract after 23 January 2014, you can cancel your contract for free within 30 days if O2 raises its prices. This ruling was put in place by industry regulator Ofcom to protect consumers against unfair mid-contract price hikes. (This excludes annual price rises in line with the retail price index, however.)

To find out what the best deals currently are, check out our SIM-only and handset comparison page. This page is updated daily and may find you an even better deal than the one you already had in mind.

If you’re not 100% certain you want to leave O2, it might be worth calling up once you've found a new deal and see if O2 can do any better. If not, just sign up to your new provider and wait for your new handset/SIM (or both) to arrive. At that point, it's time to tell O2 you're off.

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Don’t forget to check coverage

Although all the four networks now claim 99 percent coverage with their 4G signal, it’s still worth checking what coverage will be like in your area, and in any areas you regularly visit. All providers have a coverage checker on their website that you can use for this purpose, or to check if you specifically want access to 5G, for example. There’s no point having a great new phone or SIM-only deal if you then find out you can’t use it at home or at work.

Get your PAC code from O2 to port your phone number across

A PAC (porting authorisation code) is a set of digits that enables you to transfer your mobile phone number from one mobile provider to another. It normally has three letters and six numbers, i.e. ABC123456.

Your new handset or SIM, or both, will probably take anything from one to five days to arrive. This window is when you should contact O2 for your PAC. The easiest way to do this is to text PAC to 65075. You should receive your PAC within seconds, which you will then need to give to your new mobile provider.

You may find you get a text from O2 trying to convince you to stay or asking why you are leaving. You are under no obligation to do so. Simply ignore and contact your new provider to give it the PAC.

Once you have a PAC, it’s valid for 30 days. If it expires, you can request a new one, but the sooner you use it, the sooner you will be able to use your old number again. Remember you don’t have to port your number when you change networks – you can simply cancel your old contract and start a new one with a brand new number if you want.

Set up your new phone and/or SIM before applying the PAC code

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.

set up your new phone under your new number before doing anything else

If you’ve switched to a SIM-only deal and are keeping the same handset, you’ll need to check that it’s unlocked. If you purchased it after December 2021, it will be unlocked. If you bought it before that, directly from O2, it may still be locked.

Regardless of whether you are on a pay monthly or pay-as-you-go deal with O2, you can unlock your phone at any time for free. Simply log into your account, either via the website or via the My O2 app, click More, and then Unlock Your Device. Alternatively you can contact O2 via live chat or over the phone by calling 202. You will need your IMEI number for this. To find this, key *#06# into your phone and write down the 15-digit number that appears.

Once your new handset is unlocked and up and running, it’s time to use your PAC code. You can either do this via your new account, or by getting in touch with your new provider directly. This will then kick off the cancellation process with your old network and bring your old number across to your new provider. This will normally take a day or so. However, it could be longer if a weekend or Bank Holiday gets in the way.

In the meantime, you can just use your old SIM. You might not get any notification that your number’s been ported, so just keep an eye on when your old SIM stops working. Then turn your phone off and on again, put your new SIM in, and your old number will have ported over.

Paying off your final bill from O2

You won't be able to get your final bill from O2 until your number has been ported over. If you’re a pay monthly customer, O2 will take the final payment via direct debit as usual. If you've cancelled the direct debit, you can easily make a one-off payment in My O2 or using O2’s automated payment line (0800 977 7337).

Your final bill might be higher than your previous bills as it will include the final cost of line rental, any outstanding charges, plus any cancellation fees (if you’re still in contract). Make sure you pay your final bill – mobile phone providers are among the most diligent in reporting late payments to credit reference agencies.

And that's it. You’re all done. Congratulations, you’ve switched away from O2.

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