Vodafone Ireland will cleanse its base of accounts that have been inactive for eight months. Outstanding credit on accounts will be claimed by Vodafone and not returned to the account holder.
Vodafone plans to change its terms and conditions next month to include the new restrictions. It is understood to want to recycle old mobile numbers no longer in use.
Suspended accounts can be re-activated within six months of close, and customers will be able to claim their number and any credit. Thereafter, numbers will be recycled.
A Vodafone spokesperson said: “The changes are expected to have negligible customer impact. Based on careful analysis of customer usage patterns on inactive accounts there are only very few cases where an account is reactivated following eight months with no top-ups. But Vodafone Ireland is mindful of the concerns of a 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 UK is not to run a similar scheme, but said it observes Ofcom requirements to be “economical with the issuing of phone numbers.”
A spokesperson from Vodafone UK said: “If a phone hasn’t been used for 90 days, we assume the number is no longer wanted so it goes into ‘quarantine’. At this stage, the phone can usually be reactivated by the customer simply by making a call. After a further 90 days in quarantine, the number is disconnected. Up to this point, we can reconnect the original customers if they contact us. We then wait another 90 days before reusing the number. If a customer has lost credit throughout this process, we will of course look into it for them.”