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BT Mobile UK Trials Auto-PAC Process for Easier Operator Switching

Friday, December 28th, 2018 (2:53 am) - Score 4,361
BT Mobile SIM

The Mobile division of BT (BT Mobile / EE) has begun recruiting for a new “Auto-PAC Switching” trial, which they say aims to ensure that the “improvements we are putting in place give the best customer experience possible when porting a mobile number / account from one supplier to another.”

The trial is almost certainly related to the UK telecom regulator’s new mobile switching changes. At the end of 2017 Ofcom announced that mobile operators would be given until 1st July 2019 to introduce a new Text-to-Switch (Auto-Switching) process (here), which makes changing operator as easy as sending a text message.

Under Ofcom’s proposed system a mobile customer would simply send a free text message to a number for their existing operator. In reply your operator should then send a special code that can be given to a new operator in order to start the switch (i.e. there’s no need to talk with support staff). The code would then be valid for 30 days.

Ofcom’s Diagram of the Auto-Switch Process

ofcom mobile network auto switch process

Obviously BT’s own trial wouldn’t want to test this new process by pushing customers off their network and so it will be separate from their official mobile SIMs. Instead BT said they will provide trialists with virtual and/or live mobile SIMs free of charge for the duration of the trial.

The trial itself is due to start in February 2019 and will run until July 2019.

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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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16 Responses
  1. Avatar Dave

    I just called EE a few minutes ago to cancel a business sim due to O2 having a better signal for us. When I mentioned O2 the CS rep told me that we should expect things to get slower and slower with O2 as they have not been buying or adding capacity to their network.

    This would appear to be a lie in order to dissuade people from leaving EE, as O2 have been implementing their fairly recently purchased 2.3 GHz holding in recent times.

    • Avatar Mike

      O2 is garbage, the CS wasn’t lying.

    • O2 does have some problems but the CS was indeed incorrect as they are rolling out 2.3GHz, as Dave said. Likewise they’ve also recently grabbed some of the 3.4/3.5GHz band.

      https://www.ispreview.co.uk/index.php/2018/04/ofcom-publish-final-results-from-the-uk-4g-and-5g-mobile-auction.html

    • Avatar Dave

      Mike this wasn’t about how good or bad the O2 network is but rather that EE are actively telling lies in order to try to keep people with them.

      In fact, I wonder whether EE’s claim of 4G in more places than anybody else might be a lie too. Of course it depends what they mean. They could indeed have more 4G cells than anybody else but due to their apparent lack of 800 MHz in a lot of areas (mine being one of them) they could have worse coverage than a network with fewer cells but with widely deployed 800 Mhz.

      Of course, a network which relies heavily on 800 MHz will be slower however I’m sure most would agree that a signal good enough to provide lower speeds is better than an absent signal.

    • Avatar joseph

      “When I mentioned O2 the CS rep told me that we should expect things to get slower and slower with O2”

      Contact them again and try to get them to say the same thing again, record the call and report it to Ofcom. NO company is allowed to make unfounded accusations about another.

  2. Avatar Simon

    I recently switched from EE to virgin mobile and it was a 5 minute phone call and ported by 8am the next day – it was simple enough but this would save the call I guess.

  3. Avatar TheMatt

    I use asking for a PAC code as a way to get retention deals. And yeah O2 sucks, It doesn’t work in my London office, walk out the door and bam missed calls yet I had a signal ?! Get barely 10mbits on speedtests both in London and home in Bedford, yet when I travel I get faster roaming speeds than at home. Go figure.

  4. Avatar John Bale

    How can I join the trial, ex bt employee

  5. Avatar Robert capps

    Bit rich, getting an email from BT asking me if I wanted to be in the trial, given I have an ongoing complaint with resolver re leaving BT, took over three months half a dozen phone calls, online chats….being transferred around by them when they phone me up, getting all the spheil to try and get me to stay…pac codes that never worked so had to wait another thirty day before a new one could be issued, all the time they carried on charging for service…..

  6. Avatar Jason Jones

    I switched from O2 to BT which is on EE network, bad mistake, I’m in the Oxford area and I’ve only once had a 4G signal in a small part of Aylesbury, where I live right near M40, I have to go outside to use phone, I wish Kevin Bacon lived here,I say you can’t!!.

  7. Avatar number-porting-victim

    Having recently had my mobile operator provide a PAC code to a fraudster pretending to be me, despite failing to answer any of the security questions, and with the operator claiming it is OFCOM rules which prevent them from doing additional security check incase it delayed the porting.. I worry that making it “easier” for the end user to move also makes it easier for fraudsters to steal numbers, and thus gain access to the multitude of other accounts which the user may have “protected” with 2FA :/

    • Avatar Dave

      Ofcom rules allow for the operator to delay/refuse providing the PAC when they are not certain of the identity of the requesting party.

  8. Avatar Jack

    I recently changed over from Virgin to Vodafone in the Xmas period. I prefer Vodafone signal especially since Virgin (EE) data speeds are p poor in central London at less than 1Mbps. Number switchover was brilliant so the current system of getting your PAC code is not an issue as I can see as have changed my network quite a few rimes in the past decade and only takes a day. So far Vodafone are looking amazing fast data and WiFiCalling! Plus an added bonus that benefits me by having voicemail forward to my own PBX voicemail which I never had that option with Virgin.

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