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Nowadays, there are more than just one way to cancel current mobile contract, regardless of your network provider. In fact, you can even cancel your phone contract with a free text message and move to a new network, with no need to listen to the hard sell from the customer support advisors on the phone! Having said that, the first thing you should always do before switching networks is that you won’t incur any penalty or early termination fee. If you’re on a long-term pay monthly contract and there is still some time before your contract expires, you’ll have to pay a fee for terminating your contract early.
You should also make sure your mobile phone isn’t locked. If your phone is locked to your current network, you won’t be able to use it right away with a new operator. Plus, you might end up having to pay a fee to unlock your device. Another key thing to do before cancelling your contract is finding a more suitable deal so you’re not stuck without a connection. If you’ve already covered these steps, you can jump to the How To Cancel Your Phone Contract section of this article.
In this guide, we’ll go step-by-step and explain how you can get out of your current phone contract, and get a new deal that works for you.
Table of Contents
See If You Can Cancel Without Paying
First things first you need to find out if you have to pay any fees for cancelling your contract early. Most mobile contracts are 12 months, 18 months or 24 months, meaning more often than not there’s a penalty fee. Some mobile networks are more generous than others and will keep the penalty-fee low or won’t even ask for one depending on your situation, but in most cases you’ll probably have to pay the penalty-fee.
You can contact your current network’s customer support service to find out if you are able to switch without a penalty-fee or you can just send a free text message to your mobile network provider stating that you want to cancel your contract. Your network will inform you about the termination charges, including your handset costs if you purchased one from your network.
As for 30-day long contracts such as the ones iD Mobile offers, you can just cancel them during your 14-day trial period without having to pay any fees. Prepaid price plans from networks like SMARTY, VOXI, giffgaff and many others don’t ask for a contract, meaning there are no strings attached. The same applies to any pay as you go services from any network operator in the UK. You can leave these services any time you want and move to a new network provider. If you’re a broadband customer with BT, Virgin Media or Sky, you might want to check their special offers. These networks offer major discounts, extra data and many other features to their existing customers, when they’re purchasing a mobile plan.
You can also read our extensive reviews to find out what these networks offer to their new customers:
See If Your Phone Is Locked
This is a major issue a lot of people don’t realise until it’s too late. Most customers don’t read the terms and conditions, when they’re signing up for a phone contract. In many cases, your mobile phone is the property of your network until you pay off the device cost. This changes from network to network, and some providers like giffgaff & Three only sell unlocked phones.
Long story short you should always check that your handset is not locked to your current network, if you’re looking to switch. This doesn’t mean you can’t use your mobile device with a new network if it’s locked, but you’ll most likely have to pay a fee to unlock your phone, and this process can take a number of days. Each network provider has different terms and conditions about unlocking handsets, so you might even be able to unlock your device for free.
If you can take your handset with you when switching to a new network, then it’s time to look for a new, more suitable plan.
Find a New, Cheaper Phone Contract
Obvious as it may be, finding a more suitable mobile contract for your needs is a crucial part of this process. You don’t necessarily have to look for a cheapest mobile contract, alternatively you can search for one that offers you the most value for money depending on your requirements, but more often than not customers tend to look for the latest discounted deals.
If you need cheap, unlimited data plans we’d recommend checking out Three’s offers, which come with 5G coverage, 4G Calling, Wi-Fi Calling and many other perks at no extra cost. Alternatively you can browse through SMARTY and Superdrug Mobile too. iD Mobile is offering the cheapest unlimited data plan at the moment for just £18 a month. You can find our review links below, if you wish to read more about each network.
If you want the best network coverage and the fastest data speeds the obvious choice would be EE, as they have the widest network coverage in the UK and fastest download & upload speeds. You can read our EE Review to find out why they’re the best in terms of network coverage & data speeds.
You can work out the best deal for you by estimating how much data you need as well as what extras are important to you such as inclusive worldwide roaming or free social media streaming. If you’re also looking for a phone deal we recommend checking out O2’s phone contracts. The carrier even splits your airtime bill and phone bill, so you can upgrade your device early. You can read our O2 Review to learn more about the network and their deals.
If you don’t want to undergo a credit check, you can always have a look at our Best PAYG Deals in the UK guide. On top of that, most pay as you go plans come with a data rollover feature so you get a second chance to use your leftover data. If your heart is set on a pay as you go deal, we’d suggest having a look at 1p Mobile’s PAYG service.
How To Cancel Your Phone Contract
In the UK, cancelling your mobile contract is quite easy. You can either contact your current network’s customer service via phone or online chat, and explain why you want to leave or simply send a free text message stating that you want to leave the network and cancel your current contract. This automated process is called text to switch.
Once you send the text your network provider will text you back with a unique code. Your network operator will also inform you about all the extra payments and penalty-fees, and ask for confirmation during this process. If everything makes sense, then you can just deliver this code to your new provider to complete the switching process. Switching to a new mobile network usually takes less than a day, and the whole process should be finished in two days max. If it takes any longer, make sure to contact your new network’s customer support and inform them.
If you want to stay with your network, but upgrade to a better contract, your provider will most likely do it for free. They will be more than happy to keep you as a customer, and upgrading to a better deal usually takes effect almost immediately. However, if you wish to downgrade you might have to pay a penalty fee. Each mobile network handles these situations differently, for example if you wish to switch from Vodafone Basics Plans to a Vodafone RED or Unlimited plan, they’ll happily move you at no extra cost.
How To Keep Your Phone Number
Some customers like a brand new start with a new network and some want to keep their phone numbers when switching to a new network operator. If you don’t want to keep your phone number, you can get your service termination authorisation code by texting ‘STAC’ to 75075. As you can guess, this will terminate your contract with your current network, but extra charges may apply depending on your contract.
If you wish to switch to a new provider and keep your phone number you can either text your current network provider or reach their customer service via phone or online support. You can text ‘PAC’ to 65075 and get your PAC code from your current network. This code will be valid for 30 calendar days. You’ll have to deliver your PAC code to your new mobile network and they will do the rest. The process usually takes less than a day, but in some cases it might take a bit longer.
How Long Does It Take?
Well, this is the tricky part because it depends on multiple things. The smart thing to do would be to try and time the end of your old mobile contract with the start date of your new mobile contract.
If you line them up perfectly you can stay connected and won’t be left without a phone service & paying for two contracts during the switching process.
Once the switching process is completed, you’ll be informed via a text message. At that point, all you have to do is switch your old SIM for the new one. Make sure your new SIM works.
Congratulations, you successfully cancelled your old mobile contract and moved to a new one!
Can I Cancel My New Contract If I’m not Happy?
If you’re unhappy or unsatisfied with your new mobile contract for whatever reason, you have 14 calendar days (not workdays) to cancel it. This period starts from the day you enter a new mobile contract.
Some network providers like EE don’t offer a change-of-mind policy, meaning they’ll only accept a return, if you’re experiencing coverage issues, or if their network coverage doesn’t meet your expectations.
If you signed up for a phone contract, your phone should be in as-new condition or else you’ll have to pay the full price of the device.