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.

Remember when you used to stay up all night on YouTube and Snapchat, burning through gigabytes from your family's pool of shared data? Those were happier days. But it was bound to come to an end when a pesky telco rep let your folks know that 90% of the account's usage was coming from one mobile number, yours.

Now you've been kicked to the kerb, exiled from the promised land of unlimited calls and bountiful data. Where to next?

Things you need to know before requesting a change of ownership

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)

Some telcos allow you to perform a change of ownership online, but the traditional way is filling out a form and taking it to a store.

What makes up 100 points of identification?

New South Wales' Roads and Maritime Services has a strict guide for the point value of each type of identification. Here's a quick guide to get you on your way.

For more information on accepted identity documents, please visit the official RMS New South Wales website.

Can I change ownership of mobile numbers online or in-store?

Optus has an online Transfer of Ownership, whereas Vodafone and Telstra still have physical forms that you must fill out. While providers usual keep a healthy supply of change of ownership forms in their brick and mortar stores, it's still a good idea to come prepared with your forms filled out and photocopies of your identification.

Here's a list of Change of Ownership forms from popular providers:

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.

woman on mobile phoneThings to consider in switching to a new plan

If you do have regular work and you're confident in your ability to pay off a monthly mobile plan payment, we'd recommend comparing your plans side-by-side. There are a lot of things to consider when comparing a mobile plan. Here are a few things to research before committing to anything long term.

  • 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 will 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 8. 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.

Mobile phone plans comparison

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