How to change ownership of your mobile number
You can only get away with leeching off your parents' bill for so long. Here's what to do when the free data fountain dries up.
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What you need to know
- Changing the ownership of a mobile number requires consent from both the current account holder and the person taking ownership.
- Both parties need to provide sufficient proof of identity to authorise the change of ownership.
- You can initiate the change of ownership online, in-store or over the phone.
Getting your phone number transferred into your own name can be a painful process if you don't go into it fully prepared. If you rock up to a telco store expecting to reclaim your number without the original owner or sufficient identification, you can fully expect to be shown the door.
Different providers have different change of ownership (commonly known as CHOWN internally) processes, but in general, here's what you will need.
- At least 70 points of identification from the current account holder (your parents in this case)
- At least 100 points of identification from the new account holder (you)
- Account number and service number (mobile number)
How do I start the change of ownership process?
Traditionally, you needed to visit a physical store and fill out a paper form to initiate a change of ownership. While this option is still available, most mobile providers now let you do it all online or over the phone.
To begin the online or phone transfer process for Telstra, Optus or Vodafone, simply follow the links below:
If you'd prefer to handle the transfer in-person, it's a good idea to print the necessary Change of Ownership forms and fill them out in advance as it will speed up the transfer process. Don't worry if you don't have access to a printer since most stores should carry plenty of copies for you to fill out once you get there.
You'll find links to relevant Change of Ownership forms below:
As long as you have all the necessary identification photocopied and all the forms filled out, you shouldn't need the previous owner (your parents) present when you transfer the service, but it's always good to check with your local store before heading in. Also, your parents can't perform the change of ownership without you present. It's 100% up to you as you're essentially signing up for a new service and keeping the same phone number.
What makes up 100 points of identification?
Each Australian state defines its own rules for how many points different forms of identification account for. As an example, here's how New South Wales' Roads and Maritime Services allocates points:
For more information on accepted identity documents, please visit the official RMS New South Wales website.
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Important considerations for new account holders
After taking ownership of your mobile number, you may want to consider purchasing a new plan that better meets your needs. There are a number of factors to consider when comparing mobile plans, and we've listed some of the most important below:
- Credit score. First and foremost, you will have to pass a credit check before being accepted for a 24-month contract. A 24-month phone plan is essentially a line of credit and like all credit applications, you have to prove you have a clean history before being approved. We'd recommend checking your credit score with our free tool before diving in.
- The network in your area. Sure, Optus might have a reasonably priced plan with loads of data, but if your area doesn't get great Optus reception, you'll be pulling your hair out for the next 24 months just trying to send a text. Most providers have a coverage map on their website but these aren't always the best indication. Geographical obstructions (such as living in a valley) can have a huge effect on your service. If possible, it's always good to ask your friends and family in the area what provider they are with and whether they're happy with their service.
- Data/dollar value. This one seems like an obvious one, but it's always good to compare mobile plans with the same data amount side by side. For example, if you're after a plan with 10GB or more, you can use our comparison engine to filter out plans containing 10GB or more.
- Additional handset costs. Let's say you're shopping for an iPhone 11. Optus and Vodafone may offer it on plans that include close to or the same amount of data for a similar price, but Optus might charge $20 per month extra and Vodafone may charge $15, lowering your total minimum cost significantly. Our mobile comparison engine shows the total price, including the monthly base plan price and any additional handset costs when you select a phone.
Ready for a new mobile plan? Compare your options below
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