by AmardeepSingh Established Contributor
Established Contributor

SUN-110218-2155-EE-SIM-CARD-HIBERNATION-POLICY-ISSUES

SUN-110218-1933-EE-SIM-CARD-HIBERNATION-POLICY-ISSUES
I have partially read the following :
https://community.ee.co.uk/t5/Archive/Pay-as-you-go-Hibernation-Information-on-EE/td-p/392179 (long and states 'This page is no longer active':27-01-2016 TO 02-08-2017 British dating).  
https://community.ee.co.uk/t5/Pay-as-you-go/Inactive-sim/td-p/434985 (31-05-2016 TO 31-05-2016 )
https://community.ee.co.uk/t5/Pay-as-you-go/What-is-pay-as-you-go-hibernation-and-how-can-I-stop-it/... (31-08-2017 TO 02-01-2018)

I am aware that EE works hard to provide the service it does.  Nevertheless, I think that the following suggestions/comments are constructive.  Also, I note that not everyone is in a position to read the T&Cs when signing up to an EE SIM card and so not everyone will be aware of this clause.      

1) [EMERGENCY-SIM-CARD-SERVICE-SUGGESTION]: I think that EE should have some mechanism for allowing Phone-Numbers or SIM cards to be 'held in reserve' (ie: if someone is willing to provide their details, there should be some mechanism for an emergency/Backup SIM card to be kept on EE's system for several years, or as long as is physically possible).  Of course, I imagine that people would be willing to pay a reasonable cost for such 'Backup' SIM cards - and not everyone would likely want one.  There should be some functionality/method via which EE emails AND texts AND posts (where possible) any likely changes that will cancel the emergency SIM card provision, together with a method for buying a new SIM or updating a SIM so as to retain the Emergency SIM card provision (for as long as such provision could be maintained).  As things seem to stand, only SIM's that meet a minimum frequency threshold for use seem to be operational.  When a phone or SIM card is working, this level of SIM card operability/this-situation is fine - but in the event of loss, or other emergency situation in which the mobile network is still operational, not having an Emergency backup SIM seems unreasonable (for instance, if the original phone is stolen, but the backup phone is not, then having a backup SIM & phone will have been a wise choice).  I strongly believe that this point should be raised with management (you could argue that someone could try buying 2 contract phones, but this would clearly be an expensive option, especially when one of the phones is reserved for an emergency).   
2) [MOTIVATION BEHIND SIM-HIBERNATION POLICY]: There is the question of physical/technological necessity in having to hibernate, and then recycle, SIM's that do not meet the minimum threshold frequency of use.  Is EE doing this because otherwise management of the data would become unwieldly?  Or is EE doing this to make money?  Perhaps EE is doing this because there are security concerns associated with having old SIM's that are not used for a prolonged period of time?   Some explanation of the factors that motivate this policy would likely help people overcome confusion.  EE should be aware of the possibility that, in some very unlikely cases, there will be people who made provision for a backup SIM card (ie: for emergencies) who will then find, upon materialisation of that emergency, that they cannot use their emergency/backup SIM card.  This is clearly an eventuality that we should be aware of AND which EE might want to provide some (at least basic) statistics for (ie: how many SIM cards/phone numbers are deactivated according to the current EE policy).  
3) [SIMS PURCHASED BUT NOT REGISTERED FOR A PROLONGED TIME PERIOD]: What is the current situation in regards to EE SIM cards which are purchased BUT NOT registered for a long time?  Eg: I purchase a SIM card, but leave it in its packaging thinking that it will turn out to be handy in an emergency.  Will the number associated with that SIM card be recycled?  If the number is recycled, does that mean that the SIM card effectively becomes useless?  Or is there the theoretical possibility that someone could have their mobile phone number 'cancelled' or 'hijacked' when the dormant SIM card is registered?  It sounds like the SIM card would become deactivated BUT this is not made explicitly clear on this post.  
4) [THE NECESSITY OF MULTIPLE METHODS OF FOREWARNING BEFORE HIBERNATING A SIM]: I should emphasise that it would be a good idea to send email/text/posted alerts (basically using as many communication methods as practically possible) when a SIM card is in danger of being de-activated.  These alerts should be sent to the number in question, a NOMINATED number AND a provided email address.  This would clearly require such information to be provided upon SIM card registration - which can happen via call-centre or via an online website set up for this purpose.  
5) [*IMPORTANT*-EMERGENCY-CALLS-DETAIL]: Will it still be possible to make EMERGENCY CALLS using a SIM card deactivated according to this policy?
6) [EE-TERMS&CONDITIONS-DOCUMENT]: I would like to confirm that the PDF file at :
https://ee.co.uk/content/dam/ee-help/Help-PDFs/EE-PAYM-Network-Terms-v02.pdf  (Version 02 dated March 2014-Created:19-02-2014@1223, Modified 30-09-2015@1427) is the most up to date set of Terms and Conditions.  I note that it does not indicate a 'Likely Date of Policy Updating' to timetable when New T&Cs will be provided.    
7) [DATA-MONITORING-AND-RECORDING-FOR-UNUSUAL-OR-SUSPICIOUS-BEHAVIOUR]: I am sure that EE monitors mobile phones and sends emails/texts in certain cases where unusual (though not necessarily suspicious) mobile phone behaviour is observed.  In some cases, EE could call unusual phones to periodically confirm identity WHEN suspicious behaviour is detected.  Of course, this would cost resources in terms of time & money, but it would also reduce costs in terms of any fraudulent or criminal activity.  Clearly, smartphone cameras can be used to confirm identity.  Likely EE would maintain records in those circumstances where unusual activity is detected.  

Of course, the physical situation determines many things including how many phone numbers there are, and data management issues (which occur within the physical situation) determine how long phone numbers can be kept dormant for (though with modern information technology systems, these constraints should enable a very long time period of retention for phone numbers).  

I hope EE does its level best to address the points I have indicated.

4 REPLIES 4
by Ace Contributor
Ace Contributor

Re: SUN-110218-2155-EE-SIM-CARD-HIBERNATION-POLICY-ISSUES

Hello @AmardeepSingh.

 

  1. If you top up an EE PAYG SIM card or use it at least once every 5 months then the number will stay active and you are basically paying to retain the number.
  2. OFCOM put pressure on the networks to recycle existing numbers instead of purchasing new blocks of numbers all the time to prevent a number shortage.
  3. Most EE PAYG SIM cards come with an expiry date on the packaging.
  4. They do. They text you to warn you the number is about to be disconnected and what to do to prevent it.
  5. No. The SIM card will display no service or SIM registration failed and no calls or texts can be made or received.
  6. EEs up to date PAYG terms can be found here:

 

http://ee.co.uk/help/accounts-billing-and-topping-up/terms-and-conditions/ee-terms-and-conditions/pa...

by Brilliant Contributor
Brilliant Contributor

Re: SUN-110218-2155-EE-SIM-CARD-HIBERNATION-POLICY-ISSUES

You kind of answered your own questions.

 

Everyone should read the T&Cs before purchasing. They are there for a reason and no company can list out before buying. That's why there are T&Cs.

 

Here are answers to some of your points.

 

1. This is just not possible and goes against the hibernation process.

 

You have 3 months after first deactivation to gain your number back.

 

2. Hibernation is there because there is not an infinite number of phone numbers. As all mobile numbers have to start 07 and then networks have their own prefix like mine 0759 for example is O2. So if I were to leave mine to go into hibernation my number will not go to EE to hibernate and then reuse. It will go back to O2.

 

3. Sim cards you purchase have an expired date own them. Thesis clearly marked on the packaging.

 

4. You are fore warned. It's in the T&Cs which every one should read before hand. 


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by AmardeepSingh Established Contributor
Established Contributor

Re: SUN-110218-2155-EE-SIM-CARD-HIBERNATION-POLICY-ISSUES

MON-120218-1701GMT-FOLLOWUP-QUESTIONS-SIM-CARD-HIBERNATION-POLICY1

I will develop 2 scenarios in the below.  
The responses I have received so far deal with Scenario (2), but I wish to confirm that this Scenario is explicitly catered/indicated within an integrated Terms and Conditions document.  The T&Cs document indicated by tm90 is located at:
https://ee.co.uk/content/dam/everything-everywhere/documents/PAYG-TCs-01B.pdf
I note that the filename itself is not dated, and this would probably be a good idea.  
The document is reasonably long, does not have a contents page or index for quick viewing and does NOT feature the word 'hibernation' when a wordsearch for this term is carried out.  Basically, I think that ALL of EE's current policies (ESPECIALLY in terms of 'Hibernation') should be explicitly indicated within an integrated T&C document.  Of course, I am mindful of the practical difficulties of doing this BUT I hope that it can be done.  As  

Scenario (1):[HASSLE-FREE-BUT-EXPENSIVE-SCENARIO]: IF someone were willing to pay for a 2nd mobile phone contract (ie: buying a second contract SIM card for emergencies, BUT not using it EXCEPT when such an emergency or unforeseen event arises), does the Hibernation Policy Apply to the second 'emergency' SIM?  Or will the Backup SIM/emergency SIM be allowed to be dormant for as long as possible (even, potentially, several years?).  Of course, if there were a network phase out (such as planned, eventually, for 2g and 3g) THEN (IF the backup SIM card were of the 'phased out' technology type) the SIM card would presumably be deactivated.  BUT, otherwise, I cannot see any technical reason in this situation for why a SIM card would be Hibernated/Recycled.  I raise this point for confirmation.  I note that the debiting of a bank account on an EE SIM card contract ought to be a 'chargeable action' that keeps the SIM card number reserved.  
The COST of this option is APPROXIMATELY £150 per year (a slight underestimtae) based on knowledge of 4g SIM card plans.    

Scenario (2):[HIGH-HASSLE-LOWER-EXPENSE]: 'tm90' states "If you top up an EE PAYG SIM card or use it at least once every 5 months then the number will stay active and you are basically paying to retain the number."  I have seen the figures of 120 days (circa 4 months), 179 days for Hibernation (circa 6 months) and 273 days for Recycling (circa 9.1 months) on https://community.ee.co.uk/t5/Archive/Pay-as-you-go-Hibernation-Information-on-EE/td-p/392179  
This is presumably counted from the day of last 'chargeable action'.  I can see why a 5 month frequency of 'renewal' is reasonable, but (technically) would I be able to get away with a 170 day time period given the information on https://community.ee.co.uk/t5/Archive/Pay-as-you-go-Hibernation-Information-on-EE/td-p/392179  ?
I note that the 120/179/273 days information was given in 27-01-2016.  I think it would be a good idea to confirm whether this is still the correct number of days.  IDEALLY, this information would be made explicit within an integrated EE T&Cs document (perhaps one document could cover BOTH contract and PAYG SIMs?)  

The cost, using the 5 month recommendation, is £5/(5 months) * 12 (months) = £12 BUT it requires timely 'renewal' of the SIM card.  

CLEARLY OPTION 2 SEEMS TO BE CHEAPER, BUT MORE ANNOYING.  

Side-Comment) Of course, I imagine that OFCOM have to operate within some (likely tight) constraints (as per the 'Telephone Numbering Plan').  There is the possibility that, if OFCOM had the ability, it could be possible to revise the 'Telephone Numbering plan' to create more numbers (obviously 1 more decimal digit increases the number of numbers by a factor of 10, though once everyone is moved over to smartphones, the use of letters could be considered - I am, however, uncertain of whether the population of the UK would ever be great enough to necessitate this).  There is the possibility that, by integrating Telephone identities with Email identities in some way, emergency numbers for large numbers of people could be reserved somehow (however, I have not considered this possiblity, and don't have technical details). 

Highlighted
by Ace Contributor
Ace Contributor

Re: SUN-110218-2155-EE-SIM-CARD-HIBERNATION-POLICY-ISSUES

  1. The hibernation process only applies to PAYG accounts if you took out a PAYM contract it would carry on until you canceled it.
  2. The hibernation process is not exact. It is around 180 days give or take a bit. To be absolutely sure it is best to top up or use the phone once every 3-5 months to avoid approaching the 180 day trigger.

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