A Wake Up Call for How Dependent I am on my UK Phone Number.... And a (sort of) solution!

in LeoFinance10 months ago

My UK phone company recently texted me to say they'd be suspending my service in a few weeks because I'm in breach of their 'fair use abroad policy' - which states you can only use their service abroad for 60 continuous days in any 12 month rolling period.

I guess I've been lucky that I've been able to use it for 18 months here in Portugal.

I was initially in something of a panic about this, thinking immediately of Whatsapp being linked to that number, several accounts which have my phone as the second layer sign in security and simply all the people and companies who have this number in their contact details.

I've had this number for well over a decade, and I'd be looking at several days of solid work 9-5 to to trawl through ALL my contacts and make sure everyone had my new number, not to mention that some online services might not recognise a Portuguese number as a verification destination for logging in (Binance was fine, that's the first thing i changed!)

I was contemplating going back to Britain and getting a new contract - I pretty much immediately cancelled my existing UK contract and got my PAC code, thinking it wouldn't be too bad to go back for a week and make a switch.

But before that I put a query out on Facebook and got some interesting responses...

Several people saying all of the following companies had served them fine in Portugal for a year to three years, no problems:

  • Vodafone
  • Three
  • GiffGaff
  • O2
  • Tesco Mobile.

And just as many warning me that opening up a new contract now would have different T and Cs, and a few saying they'd had the same as me around the same sort of time being abroad.

The most useful sources I got were for 'expat apps' which are sim free but allow you to transfer your UK number over and you can use the app just as a UK mobile - crucially you can get those verification texts if you need them!

One such service is Devyce, another is Swytch - the former is more expensive but has much better reviews - and even that is only $9.99 a month for a full number transfer.

Screenshot 2022-05-04 at 21.50.25.png

I'm going to trawl through my most frequently used applications and see if I can transfer some of the authentications at least to Google Authenticator and/ or my Portuguese number then I'll switch over the Devyce.

I've also got a friend on the case buying me a cheap Tesco pay as you go Sim and posting it to me, just in case that app doesn't work - £10 as a back up is worth it.

For my contacts I think I can easily just switch over Whatsapp to my Portugues number, that shouldn't be a problem!

I'm glad I found a solution, but it's a wake up call about how dependent I am on just one number!

Posted Using LeoFinance Beta


Can't you buy a dual sim phone and have one local sim and your old sim? I've had my number out here in Thailand for 10 years on EE without issue but I only turn it on in the phone when I actually need to use it. That way, I guess it doesn't look like continuous usage but they still send me almost daily texts telling me it's 1.80 a minute. I also buy 10quid of credit for it every size months or so just to keep it topped up.

Ah those tricks are too late for me, I've heard tales of some people getting hassled like me, others going years like you!

So I dunno, I can port it to an app for the same cost anyway, so no problem!

I just realised, its on contract? Probably different for people on Pay as you go I guess.

dual sim and adhoc usage been working for me the last year and a half, hoping it continues!

Bloody hell! It's a ghost. How the devil are you fella? Still living the life I hope :-)

I've been doing this dual sim thing for 11 years now with no problem. The only problems I've had have been regional changes on my Google and Microsoft accounts but I now run different payment profiles so it's a bit of a pain but not too bad.

My Thai SIM is post-paid but the UK SIM which is EE is pre-paid and I only top-up online 10 quid a year .

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It's crazy how many things are actually tied to your phone number. I worked in telecom for 8 years and it was the number 1 reason people would decide not to do certain things with their accounts.

Posted Using LeoFinance Beta

It makes sense, it's been a lot of effort getting ready to change my number!

Hard to believe how much of a hassle it is.

Posted Using LeoFinance Beta

It is crazy actually how dependent we can be on that. Here in the Netherlands, my phone number is tied to pretty much everything - as we have a system (that uses 2FA) that brings us access to.. well, everything. Taxes, university, pension, healthcare. Extremely convenient (ever since I moved here, I feel SO spoiled compared to everyone else from other countries, life's too easy), but if you lose your card and it happens during a holiday or so, you're unable to fix things for a while.


I feel that is a very dangerous way to be so dependant on a phone (number) for everything in life. Really really bad for where we are heading in the world right now.

Yeah losing my SIM would be a pain, that's maybe an upside of switching to an app?!?

Yeah not just you, literally everyone are dependent on numbers. I'm glad you could transfer your data without loosing any of them.

Posted Using LeoFinance Beta

I haven't done it yet, one for the weekend!

Oh, let's just hope for the best.

Not me my friend, i have ditched my smart phone for about a year and a half now. I rarely use my number, rarely need things like internet banking or anything to do with a smart phone.

Okay, you are lucky then😅.

About a year and a half ago i ditched the Iphone, of course along the way i lost contact with most people over night as people don't want to call me, but rather text me (so then why not call me???)...and over an app at that.

I don't use whatsapp or signal or any of these mainstream messenger apps tied to a number....i dont like being tied to a number....i now use element.io for most of my communications. Can be installed on a smartphone or computer system if need be. Check it out yo.

Hey that's interesting - I will have a look!


What I do is save my numbers to my Gmail and then backup my chats and every thing,

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