Recently, I got a new mobile contract with Orange through Dial-a-phone since my old contract (also with Orange) was up (at last!). Since the new contract had been ‘purchased’ through Dial-a-phone instead of Oranges’ upgrade process I was given a new number. Not a problem, I thought, I’ll just transfer the old number to the new contract…

Turns out it’s not as simple process as I thought it would be!

My first thought was since it was already a number on Orange I would be able to transfer it easily and I would only have to make the one phone call. It was during this phone call I learnt there is going to be more to it than I had expected. Here’s a summary of how it went:

Me: Could I transfer this number to a new contract which is with Orange.
Orange: That isn't possible.
Me: Oh... If I get the PAC code could I ring up from the new sim and use it to
    transfer the number?
Orange: You can't transfer a number from Orange to Orange unfortunately.
Me: Okay, in that case can I make sure the contract will end in 30 days
    looks like I will just have to keep the new number.
*Asking to end the old contract - you have to give 30 days otherwise it will turn
*into a monthly rolling contract, despite the actual contract length being up *
Orange: Yes, I will put that through now.
Me: Hmmmm... Actually if I get the PAC code for this number, then transfer it to a
    different network then back to Orange on the new contract would that work?
Orange: ... Yes that would be the long way round I guess but should work.
Me: Okay. could I get the PAC code then.

Obviously, I was then given the PAC code. It seems very odd to me that a network can not transfer a number from one sim to another, even through a PAC code? It seems even more odd that I am able to transfer it to a different network then back, why don’t they have the ability to just transfer it internally?

Now armed with the PAC code I went to GiffGaff and T-Mobile and ordered a free sim, with plans of transferring the number to one of them then back to Orange. To do this you first have to top-up the sim, seeing as T-Mobiles minimum top-up was £5 and GiffGaffs was £10 I used T-Mobiles sim. So I topped up, rang them and and gave the PAC code Orange had given me, not a problem, I was told the number would be transferred the next day. Great, I thought!

I waited 2 days to allow the transfer to go through could then use the T-Mobile sim with the number I am trying to keep. All I thought I would have to do now was get the PAC code from T-Mobile and give it to Orange on the new contract and that’d be it. NOPE.

I got the PAC code from T-Mobile without a problem, then rang Orange to give them the PAC code. That phone call went like this:

*after giving Orange the PAC code*
Orange: Okay and what's the number?
Me: *gives the number*
Orange: Okay... Erm... Right...
Orange: Are you sure that's the correct number *reads it back*
Me: Yes
Orange: It's already on a different Orange account, so I can't transfer it.
Me: Right, I have the T-Mobile sim in a mobile right now which is accepting calls
    to that number, so how can it still be on an Orange account?

Unfortunately, the person at Orange I was speaking to couldn’t help me. So now I am left with my old number currently on T-Mobile and Orange! Surely, that should not be possible, when I gave the PAC to T-Mobile and the number was transferred it should have been disconnected from Orange, but clearly it hasn’t been.

I’m going to try again in a few days and hope that the situation at the moment is just due to the transfer being recent and Orange hasn’t been updated that the number is no longer on their network!

Update (28/03/2013):

Turns out after transferring the number over to T-Mobile in the first place, although it had transferred, it takes a while for it to be processed on Oranges’ end that the number is no longer “with them”. So I have now been able to transfer it back to Orange on the contract I want!