Pac codes. It sounds like a code for boxing up goods from Amazon.co.uk or FedEx. But in fact, pac codes relates to the way someone in the UK (or India as it turns out) can begin the process of transferring their mobile number from one mobile service provider to a different mobile service provider.
A pac code is a 9 character code that is issued by a mobile provider usually when requested either by telephone, email or postal mail. Different providers have different acceptable methods for receiving a pac code request. Therefore, if requesting an orange PAC code from your friends at Orange, in order to transfer a number on your account over to a different service provider, you will have to follow whatever processes they currently accept.
The Pac code is comprised of 3 alpha characters from A-Z and then six numbers from 0-9. Therefore, a valid pac code will look something like this: OAK108956. The pac code is unique to you and helps to quickly and easily identify your account.
Before pac codes came into being in the early 2000s, getting your number transferred was a bit of a mess. It was easy for mobile service providers to let staff know to be, shall we say, less than forthcoming about how someone could transfer their mobile phone number to another provider. In some cases people were told that it was not possible to transfer the number, and this meant customers stayed with their existing service provider even though they were dissatisfied with them, mainly because too many people already had their current mobile number.
Ofcom, the UK communications regulator stepped into the fray in 2003 and changed the rules regarding mobile number transfers. A new system of pac codes was instigated and rules put in place to ensure that even customers with existing accounts that were in the red could still transfer their mobile number out to another mobile provider. They could no longer be held hostage with misinformation or less than friendly approaches to customer service.
Today, pac codes must be issued within just two hours if the request is made over the phone and within 2 working days if the request is made by postal mail. Obviously the two hours needs to be within the customer service phone line working hours, so one must call at least two hours before the lines close in order to allow the mobile provider enough time to contact you back with the pac code. The pac code is most often sent out via a convenient SMS text message.
Each pac code issuer works a little differently. However, despite different internal processes, the benefit of the Ofcom rules mean that each customer should be treated as equal as long as certain provisions are met. These include identifying yourself sufficiently as the account holder, a pac code not having been issued already in the last 30 days, and a few other fair minded reasons. Pac codes have levelled the playing field and made things much easier for consumers who wish to conveniently transfer their mobile number away from their current mobile service provider.