Switching mobile telcos is incredibly easy

Is your relationship with your telco not working out? Here’s how to give them the flick.

Published on January 09, 2022
4 min read

So you’ve hit a wall with your current mobile phone plan and it’s time for something new. You’re ready to put yourself out there again. Basically, you’re on the market to see what’s on the market in the telco space. Good news! There are dozens of telco choices across a few key networks, and there are plenty of options to meet your current needs.

To help prove how easy it is to move on, here’s how to break up with your current telco.

Photograph of two young professionals swapping phone numbers

How to break up with your telco

It doesn’t really matter why you want to go because it’s not up to you to explain to your soon-to-be-ex-telco why you’re ready to move on. They may ask and they may tempt you to stay with one form of attractive deal or another, but you don’t even have to talk to them.

In fact, the most important first step is to not cancel your existing mobile plan. Speaking from ancient experience, cancelling your existing plan definitely makes things trickier. Why? If you cancel your current mobile plan, it makes it trickier to port/transfer your existing mobile number.

Don’t want to keep your old number? Then you will have to have a chat with your current provider, either via phone, online chat or visiting a store to cancel your old number. But if you’re like the average person shifting telcos, you’ll want to keep your number when switching telcos. In terms of timing, we’d advise planning your plan switch with a couple of business days of breathing space before the current recharge/month ends.

The next step is the fun part: find a new plan.

SIM options
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Replacing your SIM
Whichever new telco you shift to, you’re going to need to swap out your current SIM for a new one. If that’s a physical SIM card, note that they come in standard, micro and nano sizes, so you may need to fully snap out the new SIM card or leave some of the extra plastic attached to make it fit. Alternatively, if you’re using a newer handset and shifting to a participating telco—Telstra, Optus, Vodafone or Gomo—you may be able to use an eSIM, which means there’s no need to physically replace a SIM card.

Pick your new Prepaid plan

If you’re in the market for a replacement or new Prepaid plan, we’ve got you covered. Even if you’re currently on a SIM Only or Postpaid plan, there are plenty of reasons to consider a Prepaid plan. You may want greater control over your spending, and if you want to find serious value, consider a long-expiry Prepaid plan.

There are a range of Prepaid plans to choose from, and you can see the daily updating popular picks from our comparison engine below (covering Prepaid starter packs, recharges and subscriptions):

Pick your new SIM Only plan

SIM Only mobile plans are popular for a reason, likely because they have a great mix of perks and dollar-to-data value. If you already have a handset you’re happy with, there are plenty of fantastic SIM Only plans to choose from. For instance, check out the daily updating list of popular picks from our database below: There are a range of Prepaid plans to choose from, and you can see the daily updating popular picks from our comparison engine below (covering Prepaid starter packs, recharges and subscriptions):

Pick your new Postpaid plan

Maybe it’s not enough to just break up with your current telco, and you want to make the kind of shifting-telco statement that includes a shiny new handset. Buying a Postpaid plan with 12-month, 24-month or 36-month handset repayment terms helps you dodge the potential sting of an upfront handset cost, while tapping into all of the plan inclusions of a SIM Only offering.

For inspiration, below is a daily updating list of popular handsets that you can pair with a plan from a range of providers, including Optus, Telstra, Vodafone, Southern Phone and Woolworths Mobile:

Transfer your mobile number

Most of the steps of the new plan sign-up process are self-explanatory, but the most important one is whether you want to port or transfer your new number. If you select to have a new number, your new telco will allocate one. If not, input your existing mobile number after selecting the port/transfer option, punch in your current mobile digits and select your current telco.

For online sign-ups, you may come across number-porting weirdness if you’re attempting to shift from a telco that’s owned by a larger telco, like I did when attempting to transfer my number from Boost to Telstra. If you have any issues, do what I did and hit up support via your preferred channel to get it sorted.

Seamless telco transition
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How to make the switch even easier
To make shifting telcos even easier, we’d highly recommend storing contacts and personal data on a cloud service or on your handset (if you’re using it with the new telco’s plan). Otherwise, if your contact information is stored on the SIM card, you’ll want to transfer that to a cloud service or your phone before popping in the new SIM so you don’t lose anything.

Activate your new mobile phone plan

Unless you’ve signed up with a new telco in-store or purchased a SIM card from a retailer, you’re going to have to wait for your new SIM Card to arrive. If you’ve got an eSIM, activation is a lot faster. Once the SIM card arrives, swap it out with the old one and follow the activation steps from your new telco.

Once you’re activated with your existing mobile number, your old service will be cancelled, so there’s no need to reach out to your ex-telco to tell them to do anything. The trend these days is for month-to-month no-contract mobile plans, but it’s worth checking to ensure you’re not on a contract so you can avoid exit fees. For SIM Only plans, expect a final end-of-month bill. Also note that if you leave a Postpaid plan before the handset repayment period is done, you’ll have to pay the remainder of the handset cost.

Mobile number limbo
Accidentally cancelled too early? Don't worry!
If you’ve accidentally cancelled your existing mobile service before shifting plans, don’t fret! When I moved from Optus to Boost Mobile, there was a miscommunication during the transfer and my existing mobile number was cancelled. The solution was to chat with my old telco (Optus) to free my mobile number from what’s effectively number limbo. Thankfully, cancelled mobile numbers are put on ice for several months before they’re eventually returned to the telco to recycle, so there’s plenty of time to rectify.
Nathan Lawrence
Written by
Nathan Lawrence

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