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Home / Advice & Information / Mobile / Switch Mobile Provider

Switch Mobile Provider

This page contains:

  • What do I do if I am still in contract?

  • What if my current contract is coming to an end?

  • How to switch mobile phone provider

  • Can I keep my old number?

  • How long will switching take?

  • Will it cost me to switch?

  • Can I get my credit back?

  • Can I use the same phone?

  • Switching bundles

For bill pay customers, when you are considering switching your mobile provider, first you should find out if you are still in contract.

What do I do if I am still in contract?

If you are still in contract with your service provider, you should check your contract for information on:

  • the duration of your contract
  • any charges for ending the contract early.
  • Whether there is a charge for unlocking the mobile phone

For example, most contracts, bill-pay customers are between 12 and 24 months. If you are still in contract, see our contracts section for information.

What if I have a pre-pay or sim-only plan?

If you have a pre-pay or sim-only mobile plan you are free to switch providers and keep the same number,  if the phone is unlocked without incurring any fees.

Can I cancel my contract immediately?

If you sign up for a contract and you change your mind, you may have a right to cancel it during the cooling-off period. The cooling-off period rules differ depending on how you signed up for the contract.  You should check your contract terms for more information.

What if my current contract is coming to an end?

Your service provider must make you aware that your contract is coming to an end and that you may cancel your current plan. Your provider should also send you Best Tariff Advice highlighting the best tariff, price plan or bundle, from your current service provider that suits your needs. This must be provided before the end of your contract, while Best Tariff Information must be provided at least once annually.

Many contracts will continue to operate on a rolling month-by-month basis once  the minimum term has expired but have not been cancelled. Any new agreement that you enter into may result in a new contract minimum term.

How to switch mobile phone provider

Once you have checked your current contract and noted any important details, you can contact a new provider who will oversee most of the work.

When contacting the new mobile operator be sure to provide any relevant information such as:

  • Information on your current contract
  • Information on your current plan or bundle
  • Information on your Best Tariff Advice or a good understanding of what plan suits your needs
  • Bank or payment details
  • Address or Eircode

Your new and old providers must operate in good faith and coordinate a switching process that provides a continuity of service.

Can I keep my old number?

Yes, you can transfer your current number to a new service provider. You must, however, be sure to make this clear during the switching process as this will not automatically be done. It is free to keep your existing number.

When it comes to keeping your old number (or number portability), this must also be coordinated by the two mobile operators. If any issues in this process lead to you losing service, this must not exceed one working day.

If there are issues, your old operator should continue providing service while the new operator works to resolve the issue.

If you want to have a new service with a new number and keep your old service then you are not switching.

How long will switching take?

The date of your switch and number transfer will be agreed upon between you, and your new operator. Switching should be within the shortest possible period and happen on a date to which you have agreed.

This means the process should not be unnecessarily drawn out, and you should receive clear communications on an agreed-upon switching date. Once your new service starts your old contract is officially cancelled and your old service is no longer active. This means there should not be any overlap between the two contracts, and thus, you should not be double-billed for any period.

Will it cost me to switch?

No. The switching process itself is free. However, as mentioned before, it is important to carefully read your contract to see if there is anything that mentions fees or charges for early termination of a contract. If so, this will be reflected in your final bill from your old provider.

Can I get my credit back?

Yes, you are entitled to a refund if you have any unused credit for prepaid services. You must specifically request this but be aware that this refund may come with an administration fee if specified in your contract. This fee must be proportionate to the amount you are owed.

If you have a bill pay service and there is credit on your account, you are also entitled to receive this back. The refunding of this credit may come with an administration fee.

Can I use the same phone?

If your contract includes a phone, then the phone may be locked to that mobile network. Typically, once the minimum contract term is up, your phone will become available unlocked free of charge once you request a mobile unlock code. This is because you have been paying off the cost of the phone throughout the minimum contract term.

Be aware that it may take a few days to obtain this code so best ask for it in advance of your switching date.

If your minimum term is not up and you want to switch or terminate your service, you may be required to pay back a residual value for your phone.  How this is calculated must be set out in your contract.  You can contact your service provider to find out more about this.

Switching bundles

For those looking to switch their broadband and home phone line or looking to switch a bundle package to a new provider, we have more information on this topic on our broadband switching page.

Further information

Check the mobile coverage in your area before switching, as coverage can vary depending on where you are in the country.

Use our compare tool to help compare the cost of phone, broadband and TV price plans.

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