Transferring your mobile number vs getting a new one

These days, the trickiest part of switching telcos is choosing to either transfer your existing mobile number or opt for a new one.

January 27, 2022
3 min read

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We’re going to let you in on an open secret when it comes to switching telcos. You don’t have to get a new mobile number. Still, there are reasons you might want a new number. Either way, it’s a cinch to keep your existing mobile number or nab a new one when switching to a SIM Only or Prepaid plan from a new telco.

Let’s dive into it.

Transferring your mobile number vs opting for a new one

We figure it’s safe to assume that most people want to hang onto their mobile number. After all, that’s the number friends, family, colleagues and telemarketers have saved to get in touch with you. Switching numbers on a whim means you’ll have to update your digits with the people who you want to call you.

Whether you transfer your number when shifting to a new plan with a different telco from your current/old one or opt for a new mobile number, these you-identifying digits are stored on the SIM card. Things are a little fancier these days with a range of newfangled smartphones that also support eSIMs. The physical or digital SIM will hold your number, but eSIM handsets have the added benefit of allowing you to install a physical SIM card, effectively making it a dual-SIM phone.

Regardless of how attached you may be to your mobile digits, there are some valid reasons to consider going for a new number. You may be looking to separate personal and business calls. Or you may be fed up with far too many spam calls (though you can block those these days). Alternatively, you may be looking to live out your best Bond fantasy as an international person of mystery. Whatever the reason, opting to transfer a number or nabbing a new one is incredibly straightforward.

Who owns a mobile number?
So you’re curious to know who owns your mobile number or this number or that number. Either way, the answer is the same: the person paying the bills. While a mobile number may have initially been pulled from a pool of available digits from a particular telco, it’s yours for as long as you pay the mobile bill, including when you shift to a new telco. If anything goes wrong with that number, whether it’s unpaid bills or an accidental cancellation (been there, done that), your mobile number will stay in phone purgatory for a period of time, depending on the telco, which may stretch up to several months.

How to transfer your number

While it’s incredibly easy to switch mobile telcos, the trick is not to cancel your existing plan when shifting to a new one. To save money, switch plans towards the end of a billing cycle, maybe allowing a couple of days for breathing space to ensure you don’t lose mobile service. When you sign up with your new telco, select the option to hang onto your existing digits, punch in that number, then follow the steps to transfer/port your mobile number.

Info Box
Myth-busting mobile transfers
There’s an unfortunate and common misconception that switching to a new plan from a different telco means you need to sign up for a new number. We’ve made the point at the top of this article, but we’ll make it again: this absolutely is not the case! Every telco in Australia should make it about as easy to retain your existing Australian mobile number as it is to get a new one when you sign up for a new plan. So don’t be afraid to shop around for a great deal, and shift telcos whenever your current one stops meeting your mobile needs.

How to get a new mobile number

Getting a new mobile number is arguably even easier than transferring your existing digits. It means you can order a SIM Only or Prepaid SIM from a telco and it will be ready to go with whatever 10-digit number your new telco has assigned to it. During the sign-up process, select the option for a new number so you don’t have to worry about potential additional steps for porting your number.

If you’re in the market for a new SIM Only plan, check out the popular picks below from our database:

Alternatively, the list below is comprised of today’s popular picks from our comparison engine:

Nathan Lawrence
Written by
Nathan Lawrence
Nathan Lawrence has been banging out passionate tech and gaming words for more than 11 years. These days, you can find his work on outlets like IGN, STACK, Fandom, Red Bull and AusGamers. Nathan adores PC gaming and the proof of his first-person-shooter prowess is at the top of a Battlefield V scoreboard.

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