In case you have never needed to move to another service provider either for your mobile phone or broadband provider (whilst [mobile] keeping the same number or [broadband] being at the same address), a PAC code, otherwise known as a Porting Authorisation code, is a code you have to obtain from your current service provider to allow your new company to take over service providing.
It may all seem simple. For example, if I want to change from one network to another keeping my mobile number 07712 345678 (for obvious reasons please don’t call it – I have no idea if the number exists!!) I just ring up my current provider, grab the code, hand it over to my new provider, and voila! No issues there.
Sadly, some providers don’t make it so easy.
In my case, I’m trying to move my mobile from Orange to Three. And before you ask – I’m moving because I’ve discovered Three will hand me a decent phone on PAYG for a decent price and a decent tariff. Anyhow, I use Three’s online customer support to check everything will work, and now it is OK’d, I start the process; unaware it may be more troublesome than springs to mind.
First thing to do. Ring up Orange. Call 450… ok… [dialing tone], “Hello, welcome to Orange…” – oh crud a call centre. Annoyingly after spending 10 minutes of looking through menus, Orange doesn’t actually have an option for moving to another network. For most people it is quite obvious why, but not me. Why not? People have every right to move network, so why not have an option for it. Instead, I have to go back to the annoying menu, oh wait – “Sorry an error has occured and we are unable to continue processing your call. Please try later.” This is not going well and we’re only at the beginning.
So I call them back. And this time I take the route of “For any other queries, press x”. I roll my eyes when I hear “Please wait while I transfer you to a Customer Service Representative”. Oh joy. How long will it be?
Surprisingly enough, after 5 minutes of some odd band in terrible music quality, I reach someone. This really bugs me.
I tell the man on the phone that I need the PAC code so I can transfer network. He needs my name. Not too hard for me to answer. “No, that is not the name on the account.” WHAT? “It is a girls name.” Oh I know who it is. The strange thing is, it was requested several months back that the phone was placed in my name (since I pay all the bills for it now). But Orange obviously wasn’t listening when I spent 2 hours trying to get them to change it to my name.
“Could I please speak to the registered person on the phone?” Well, no, she’s several miles away. “I cannot give the PAC code out to someone who isn’t registered.” So you are going to tell me that I’ve wasted half an hour (I know some people spend much longer) wasting my time to find some idiot I can’t hear won’t give me the retchard code.
As you can see, changing numbers is not a five minute job. The mere fact that Orange has some ridiculous policy that they can’t give me the PAC over the phone – it has to be posted – really annoys me. T-Mobile are quite willing to give it over the phone and will also send you a letter to follow it up as well. (For a list of details on obtaining pack codes, see here.)
So the next time you think about changing your number, think about whether it is really worth it or are you just wasting time.