Mobile – Switching Providers

This page includes information about:

  • Switching between Provider
  • Changing to a new Service Provider
  • What does it cost?
  • Switching to a new Mobile Service Provider
  • Which one should I choose?
  • Terms and conditions
  • How long will it take?

Switching between Providers:

To transfer services from one company to another, you have to do one of the following:

  • sign a customer authorisation form (known as CAF), or
  • complete an online authorisation form (eCAF), or
  • confirm your consent over the telephone. This can happen in one of two ways:
    • Third Party Verification (TPV) which is a process where an independent party is asked to confirm whether the your information is accurate or to validate your intent, or
    • VCaf which is very similar to TPV except that the call is not passed to an independent party. Authorisation is given to an employee of the service provider.

For eCAF and TPV/VCaf cases a signature is not required to authorise the switch. They are legally binding contracts, just the same as a signed contract.

In the event of a dispute about the legitimacy of the contract, the customer is entitled to request a copy of the authorisation, a signed authorisation form (CAF), or of the recording of the TPV/VCaf, whichever is applicable.

Changing to a new service provider

Before changing your service provider, you should check to see if you are still in contract with your existing provider. Most home phone contracts are for a minimum 12 month period, however service providers also offer 18 month and 24 month contracts. If you change providers before the minimum period is over, you will still be charged for the period of time remaining on your first contract. This is known as a cancellation penalty or early termination fee.

What does it cost?

There is no direct charge to consumers to move their number to another service provider. However, you should be aware that you are still liable for any outstanding bills with existing service provider and may, in some cases, be subject to cancellation/early termination fees. If your existing contract specifies a minimum contract period, and you leave before that period has expired, you will usually be charged for the remainder of the contract period.

Switching to a new mobile service provider – Visit ComReg’s Price Comparison Tool

Mobile Number Portability (MNP) is a facility which allows you to retain your mobile number when moving between mobile networks. This means that if you have an 083, 085, 086 or 087 mobile number, you can move to a new operator and keep your existing mobile number.

The main thing to be aware of when switching from one service provider to another is whether any minimum contract term applies to your existing contract.If you are still in contract you will be charged cancellation fees by your existing provider if you leave before that period is up.

Upgrading or changing to a new package with your existing provider can result in an extension of the minimum contract term – however if this is the case you must have been made aware of it at the time of upgrading and should have been sent an email or asked to sign a new contract stating this.

If there are no minimum term/notice period issues, all you have to do to switch is to contact the new provider and advise them that you wish to sign up to their service.

Which one should I choose?

This is entirely up to you.  You should review your call pattern and establish what the important criteria for your needs are.
You will need to consider the following when choosing your mobile operator:

  • Network coverage
  • Discount Schemes
  • Travel abroad (roaming agreements)
  • Tariff options
  • Payment schemes
  • Additional services available

ComReg’s Price Comparison Tool is a free and user friendly calculator which allows you to insert your mobile usage and view what plans are on the market to suit your needs.

Terms and conditions

Before deciding on a mobile phone operator, you should ask the mobile phone company any questions that are particular to your needs. Remember, you have the right to call your operator and ask them for your terms and conditions to be sent to you. Standard terms and conditions are usually available on the provider’s website.

You should familiarise yourself with the terms and conditions prior to agreeing to a contract of service with your service provider. In particular you should check:

  • how long the minimum contract period lasts,
  • whether a minimum spend is required, and
  • penalties, if any, apply for ending the contract early.

Terms and Conditions would also typically cover some of the following elements:

  • Connection charges,
  • Monthly rental fees,
  • Call costs (usually per minute or per second rates),
  • Disconnection and reconnection charges,
  • Contract termination fees,
  • International roaming charges

How long will it take?

Most changes should be made within a few hours. The processes are designed to make moving your number to a new network as timely and straightforward as possible.