Gone are the days when we all memorised each other's phone numbers. Most people have a list of numbers programmed into their phones that stay the same for years on end. However, there may come a time when you decide that you want a new number, especially if you are experiencing issues with your current one.
One of the reasons that many people choose to change their number is when they are relentlessly targeted by scammers. A survey by Ofcom found that 45 million people were targeted by a scam call or message in Summer 2021. It's little wonder that many individuals choose to change their phone numbers in a bid to curb the nuisance calls and texts.
While picking out a new phone is as simple as looking online or going into a shop, you may be unsure about how you can get a new number. Luckily, there are only a few steps to follow before you will receive a brand new phone number for your mobile or landline phone.
In this article, we'll walk you through the process of changing your mobile or landline phone number. We'll also look at the benefits and drawbacks, as well as the accompanying fees involved with changing your phone number.
You can change your phone number by buying a new SIM (Subscriber Identity Module) card for your mobile phone. Your phone's SIM card contains all the information between your service provider and phone service, including your phone number. This means that when you change your old SIM card for one from a new provider, your phone will be connected to a new number. However, you will need to speak with customer services if you order a new SIM card from your current provider.
When you get a new SIM card and change network providers, you will need to text STAC to 75075. This will prompt your old network to send you a service termination code. This code will need to be passed on to your new network provider so that they can give you a new phone number.
Alternatively, you can contact your phone provider and request a phone number change, even if you are staying with the same provider. You will need to give a reason why you are requesting a new number. For example, you may be receiving too many spam calls with your current number or because you don't want certain people to be able to contact you.
Mobile phone contracts will usually have a set period of one or two years that you agree to when you sign up for them. You will likely face a fee if you try to change networks during the contracted time. However, you are able to change from one network to the next if your contracted period has ended.
When your contract has ended, you can sign up for a contract with a different network. You can do the same if you want to sign up for a new landline provider, although the area code for your home phone will stay the same (unless you move out of the area).
If you want to change from one network to another and keep the same phone number, you will need to request a PAC (Porting Authorisation Code). You will need to request a STAC if you want a new number when you change networks. The code you request should be sent by your provider within minutes. If you have more than one number linked to your account, you will need to request either the PAC or STAC online or by ringing the provider.
Once you have given the code to your new provider, they must arrange a switch within one working day. You can text ‘INFO’ to 85075 if you want to find out how much longer you have on your current contract before you request the switch. This will help you to avoid paying any fees that come with terminating your contract early.
To change your landline phone number, you will need to contact your phone company and request the change. They will likely ask you to provide a reason why you want to change so that they can make a note on their company records. You can request an unlisted phone number, which can help prevent unwanted and scam calls.
In areas that have more than one phone provider, you can get a new number by switching services. However, you can also keep your current phone number when switching providers (if you ask to). The dialling code at the beginning of your home telephone number will stay the same unless you move out of the area.
There are two ways to change from one landline provider to another: 'gaining provider led' and 'cease and re-provide'. The process will depend on which providers you are changing from and to, as well as the type of connection you have. For example, if you are changing to or from a cable provider (such as Virgin Media), you will need to use the 'cease and re-provide' process.
It's worth remembering that traditional landlines will be switched off in 2025. You can keep the same landline number when you switch to the new digitalised system. If you don't tell your provider that you want to keep the same number, they will issue you with a new one.
The service provider may charge a small fee to change your phone number. Below is a sample of the admin fees that you may be asked to pay from each service provider:
- Vodafone - £25
- EE - £36
- O2 - £35 (if you change more than once)
Changing your landline number to an unlisted phone number will usually cost extra. You may be able to pay the fee upfront or request that it be added to your next phone bill.
You will usually be charged for ending your contract before its end date. The amount you pay will depend on the length of time left on your contract and how much you pay each month. For example, you may be expected to pay up to £360 if you are contracted to pay £20 per month and there are 18 months left on your 24-month contract.
If you keep the same mobile phone but change your SIM cards over to get a new phone number, your saved media and apps won't be affected. Your contacts list will also stay on your device, as will your text messages and call history. However, if you buy a new mobile phone and SIM card, you will have to manually transfer content onto your device to avoid losing it.
You will need to notify other people when you change your phone number. Your old phone number will be suspended when you receive a new one and they will no longer be able to send texts or call it. The number may eventually get assigned to someone else, in which case the calls and texts to your old phone number will go to their phone instead.
There could be any number of reasons that you want a new phone number. It could be that you get a large volume of scam calls or someone you know has your number and you'd rather they didn't. Although a new phone number won't guarantee you'll stop getting unwanted phone calls, it can reduce the volume.
You may have previously used your personal mobile phone for business calls. They may not be completely unwanted, but you could decide that you want to stop business calls coming to your phone by changing the number.
You will need to notify your contacts list that you have a new number so that they are still able to contact you. This can be a long-winded process if you have a large contacts list. If your contacts try to send a text message or call your old phone number, they won't be able to reach you.
Many people use their phone numbers as part of the two-step authentication process that websites use. By changing your phone number, you will also have to update your contact information for these websites so that you can still log into your online accounts.
Various companies and organisations may have your old phone number, so you will need to take time to update their records. It's essential that your personal details are up to date for places such as your doctor's surgery, workplace and anywhere that you are listed as an emergency contact.
How often should I change my phone number?
There's no set timeline when it comes to changing phone numbers. Some people keep the same number for years, while others change to a new phone number every time they change phone or SIM card.
In some cases, it's a good idea to keep your phone number as long as possible so that you don't have to keep updating your contacts about the change. You won't have to update your contact details for your bank, online accounts or doctors' surgery either. You're also more likely to remember your phone number if it has stayed the same for several years.
Some people are happy to have a different number when they get a new SIM card after signing up for another mobile plan. It can be easier to accept a different mobile number when you change to a new network than contact the phone company and request to keep your old number. This means that you can change your number as often as you change your phone and SIM card, which is often up to five years.
Can I change my phone area code?
Residential landline phones can't change their dialling code. All landline phone numbers have an area code attached to them, based on which city or town the landline is located in. This helps callers know where in the country they are calling. For example, London's dialling code is 020, Manchester's is 0161 and Glasgow has 0141 as their dialling code.
Business phone numbers can change their area code by using a virtual phone number. This means that you can choose an area code that is different to your local code. You may wish to get a well-known area code such as London or Manchester as this can help make your company seem more established. Certain area codes may be more familiar to customers, which may help them to feel more confident when dealing with your company.
You can change your mobile phone number when you move from your old network to a new one. When you receive a new SIM card, you will automatically be given a new phone number, unless you contact the phone company and request a new number. Another way to change your mobile phone number is to contact the phone company and speak with a customer service representative. They will likely ask you to provide a reason when you request to change your number.
It's possible to change your landline number when you switch providers. However, this is only possible when you live in an area where multiple phone providers operate. You cannot change the area code for a residential phone number, although you can change it for business phone numbers.
To avoid losing your contacts and media from your iOS or Android phone when you change your SIM card, you will need to copy them onto your device. If you change your phone number, you will have to notify your contacts about the change so that they can still phone or text you.