Vodafone removes all time windows on pre-paid mobile phone cards
Vodafone Malta has removed time windows on all pre-paid mobile cards with immediate effect, Business Today has learnt.
The move followed the uproar caused by the introduction of pre-paid mobile cards without any time windows by new kids-on-the-block Melita Mobile when they launched their mobile service at the beginning of February 2009.
The decision to do away with time windows on pre-paid mobile phone cards was communicated to retailers in a message sent last Thursday, but had not been publicly announced by the mobile phone company.
Asked to state the exact date when Vodafone Malta removed the time windows on all existing pre-paid mobile phone cards, the mobile phone company spokesperson told Business Today that this “came into effect at the beginning of our financial year”, that is on 1 April 2009.
“All Vodafone’s top up vouchers are and will be without a time-window,” she told Business Today.
At the beginning of April, Vodafone became “the only local operator not to have time time-windows on any of its services,” the mobile phone company’s spokesperson added.
Asked as to what had led Vodafone Malta to take this strategic decision, the spokesperson explained how “a few numbers of customers had highlighted the need of an improved disconnection policy.
“In response, Vodafone looked into several other markets and introduced the simplest and most straightforward disconnection policy, that is, removing time-windows,” she told Business Today.
Vodafone pre-paid customers could now perform “one chargeable event per year – for instance send an SMS – without the need to top-up after a few months with no credit,” the Vodafone Malta spokesperson explained.
The latter made Vodafone’s disconnection policy “the simplest and most in-line with other markets within the European Union,” she told Business Today.
Asked whether the company had informed the Malta Communications Authority (MCA) prior to taking this decision and whether the MCA had given its assent to the Maltese mobile phone company’s decision, the Vodafone Malta spokesperson told Business Today that the company “did not inform the MCA” prior to making this move.