British Telecom: SIM codes

1 minute read

tl;dr summary

If you’re with a broadband provider other than BT, ask for the SIM code when you’re moving your telephone line.

Long version

British Telecom have a habit of making things unusually difficult for their ‘cheap’ customers. Not only do they try and foist every single one of their sodding services on you when you only wish to make an enquiry, but they’re (deliberately or otherwise) quite adept at being very inconveniencing when it suits them.

If you don’t have broadband with them and you’re moving home, you may need a SIM code (simultaneous provide code) to transfer your broadband smoothly. Failure to obtain this code means you can’t kick off the broadband transfer in parallel, meaning a much longer time period of downtime. After arranging my phone line transfer, I phoned up BeUnlimited (an ISP I can thoroughly recommend) and was informed that I need a SIM code to move the broadband quickly.

I then entered the catacombs that is BT’s cavernous automated phone system. After much swearing and several dead-ends (note: companies should NEVER tell me to hang up when I reach a dead-end – there should always be a ‘to speak to a human being, press 1’ option), I managed to get through to someone.

Anyway, it turns out that various BT operators don’t seem to know what the SIM code is and will gropingly state things like, “no, you mean a MAC code; I can arrange some broadband with BT for your new home, Mr. Simpson”, as you patiently try to explain that you have placed an order, and you wish to retrieve the SIM code associated with it as your existing broadband provider is asking for it.

After much gnashing of teeth and stalling, the operator revealed that I cannot get the SIM after an order has been placed – it is generated once and discarded; they don’t take a note of it or mention its existence. I was told I had to cancel the order, wait 24 hours and then re-order, then explicitly ask for the code during the order process next time around (as they don’t provide it as standard).

What an absolute shambles. Can you imagine them doing the same thing to me had I been with BT for all services? Not on your life.