Vodafone to cut off inactive phones, take credit

22 Feb 2010

Vodafone is set to disconnect infrequently used accounts and take any unused credit on those phones.

The move is part of Ireland’s largest mobile phone operator tightening up its terms and conditions. Vodafone has said it’s changing its terms from next month in an effort to recycle old mobile phone numbers that are no longer in use.

Therefore, customers who don’t top up their pre-paid mobile phone within eight months will have their accounts disconnected and will lose any remaining credit on their phones. They also risk losing their numbers if it isn’t reactivated within six months.

Vodafone, in a statement, said there was a regulatory requirement to recycle the pool of mobile phone numbers. It said it chose an eight-month recycling rule as the “overwhelming majority” of customers whose accounts aren’t topped-up within that time frame become completely inactive, the Irish Independent reported.

However, Vodafone said, the company “is mindful of the concerns of the very small number of customers who may consciously omit to top up their accounts for a prolonged period of time for specific reasons. 

“For this reason, there is a carefully considered step-by-step contact process before disconnection which involves texts sent to customers to remind them to top up to keep their account active,” Vodafone added. 

“In addition, customers have the opportunity to reinstate their number for six months after disconnection. Any customer whose account falls into disuse and is disconnected with remaining credit can contact us for reactivation at any time within that six-month time frame to be reinstated with their old balance completely intact.”

Vodafone has outlined its process:

– Following six months, no top up:  A text is sent to the customer reminding them to top up within seven days in order to keep their account active. Following seven days, if there is no top up, the phone is deactivated, however, customers can still receive incoming calls.

– Following 8 months, no top up: A text is sent to the customer informing them that the account will be disconnected if it is not topped up within seven days. If the account is disconnected because it was not topped up, the customer then has six months from the disconnection date in which time they can reactivate that number.

– Following 14 months, the number is recycled and reissued.