Porting my phone number between operators (a tale of efficiency)

When I came to London past month I forgot my Nexus One in Barcelona… with my UK SIM card inside it! I was angry with myself and my forgetfulness, but I couldn’t stop noticing the irony on the whole situation: two days earlier I had been doing some research and thought that maybe I should switch to Three (the operator, not the JS library!) because their data plans were way more attractive than Vodafone’s… and I ended up having to switch earlier than expected, as I needed a phone number.

So I bought a Three SIM card at a newsagent, and started using Three immediately. It was a good test; I used Internet extensively, and made some calls, and sent even four texts out of the whopping 3000 that were included in the “All you can eat Internet” pack I bought. Three was really cool so I wanted to keep using them.

But there was no way I could remember the new number, and besides, I had grown awfully fond of the old number: it was musically rhythmic and very easy to memorise. Therefore I needed to port the old number to the new network, but I needed to have the old SIM with me! Thankfully, Mr.doob brought me the Nexus One, so once I had both SIM cards here, I decided to port my Vodafone number to Three.

And it just took a day.

I’m amazed–specially after the equivalent process in Spain took me several weeks, back in April.

This is how it works here in the UK: you need to get your “Porting Authorisation Code” from your current (“old”) operator. Then you buy a new SIM from your new operator, register in their system, and tell them you want to bring your old number into their network. Enter the PAC into a form, confirm a couple of things and just wait for the “new” SIM to take over the “old” number. Done.

In my case, I didn’t want to speak to anyone on the phone, so I went to Vodafone’s online customer service form, filled it in saying something like “I’d like to get a PAC, thanks”. Within half an hour they sent me an SMS and an email with the PAC and the “customary we’re sorry you’re leaving us” message. I went to Three’s online porting form, filled it in with the old number and operator, the new one and the PAC, and waited for a confirmation email. Since I had done this on a Friday, I would need to wait until Monday (today) for the process to be completed. This morning I found a text from Three, asking me to confirm the migration by turning off and on the phone with the Three SIM. I did it, and a couple hours later the process was completed.

Isn’t it great when things are so streamlined and efficient?! Yay!

And now that I think about that, maybe I didn’t even need to have the physical “old” SIM with me in order to migrate the number to a new operator, but that was because I was already registered with Vodafone’s online service (the registration process sends you some codes via SMS if I remember correctly). Anyway, now the porting is done, I shall continue with the next item in the TODO list! ;-)