How to get a PUK code and unblock your phone

Finding a PUK code for your phone may sound complicated, but it’s simpler than you think. Learn how to retrieve your PUK code and everything else you’ll need when unblocking your phone.

Finding a PUK code for your phone may sound complicated, but it’s simpler than you think. Learn how to retrieve your PUK code and everything else you’ll need when unblocking your phone.

Holly Niblett
From the Digital team
4
minute read
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Posted 25 MAY 2021

What is a PUK code?

A PUK, or personal unblocking keys code, is a unique sequence of eight digits that you might be asked for when:

  • You want to use another SIM card in your phone, or
  • You’ve entered the wrong PIN on your phone too many times.

Some networks require a PUK to unblock your phone after three incorrect PIN attempts, while others allow 10 incorrect entries. Not all providers block their phones.

The process of unlocking a phone is a little bit different to unblocking it. Often, a smart phone is locked into the network you purchased it from. If you want to swap networks but continue to use the same phone, you’ll need to have it unlocked.

How do I get my PUK code?

Getting a PUK to unblock your phone is simple. You can find the eight-digit code on the plastic tray that your SIM card was attached to.

If you haven’t kept the tray, you’ll need to contact your network.

Getting a PUK code

EE

O2

Tesco Mobile 

Three

You can use Live Chat, or alternatively, call 333 from a Three phone or 0333 338 1001 from any other phone, to request a PUK code. Call charges may apply.

Vodafone 

Fill in the online form

How do I switch mobile network and keep my phone number?

If you want to put a new SIM in your phone to change network, but keep your current number, you’ll need a PAC or Porting Authorisation Code – think of ‘porting’ as the technical term for the process.

Give your PAC to your new service provider and you should be up and running within one working day.

How do I get my PAC?

The easiest way to get your PAC is through Ofcom’s ‘text-to-switch’ tool. Simply text ‘PAC’ to 65075 and you should receive your code within one minute.

Your PAC is valid for 30 days. After you give the number to your new service provider, they should be able to switch your current number to your new contract within one working day.

If you’d prefer to speak to somebody, you can request your PAC in store or by calling your current provider.

If you have a family mobile package or more than one phone number linked to your account, you’ll need to request a PAC online.

How can I switch mobile network and get a new mobile number?

You can leave your current provider without keeping your current phone number on your phone, by messaging ‘text-to-switch’.

Text ‘STAC’ to 75075 and the Ofcom service will send you a Service Termination Authorisation Code (STAC). Perfect if you want to tie up any loose ends when leaving your current network.

Are there any charges when switching mobile networks?

Finding your PAC code and using it to switch networks is completely free. But you may incur charges when contacting your current and new service provider by phone, so it’s best to check for any tariffs on those calls.

‘Text-to-switch’ is a free service. You’ll even receive details about any early termination charges.

When you use a PAC or STAC number you also avoid paying your old and new network at the same time. Since June 2019, Ofcom has banned providers from charging customers for notice periods that run beyond the switch date.

Should I use ‘text-to-switch’?

Before you use the ‘text-to-switch’ service, you should check if you’re still under contract with your current network provider to avoid paying early termination charges.

By texting ‘INFO’ to 85075, the Ofcom service will send your contract details without requesting a PAC or switching code.

Alternatively, you can always call or visit your current service provider.

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