Iridium Prepaid Voucher Expiry Changes Dec 2013

On Dec 17th 2013, Iridium will change the details of prepaid airtime expiry. The affect of these changes should generally be small and few customers will be materially affected, but it's important that we clearly communicate the effect of these changes so that customers are appropriately informed.

The substance of the change is that prepaid vouchers will no longer roll over indefinitely, but will now expire after a definite interval. In summary most prepaid vouchers will now have an explicit expiry of 3 years, with the 3K/5K min vouchers having an explicit 4 year expiry.

Prepaid Expiry Policy:

  • Prepaid units which have been carried over for more than three years will expire on a daily basis from prepaid account balances.
  • For any customers who have purchased a 3k/5k e-voucher since December 17th 2009 and going forward, a four-year expiry period on units will apply.

Expiry Information:

  • Details of expiring vouchers will be available through the normal balance check process, ie by calling 2888 or sending an SMS to 2888 from their Iridium handset.
  • Until Dec 17th 2013, prepaid subscribers will be given the total number of units that may expire if not used before December 17th 2013.
  • After Dec 17th 2013, users will be given the balance of units that may expire if not used within the next six months. This message will be based on the oldest e-voucher purchase activity and units that are subject to expiry within the next six months, if applicable.

Understanding the Changes

To understand what has changed, it helps to look at how the system worked before this change, and use that to illustrate the effects of the change:

Previously there was a very clear split between "expiry" or "line rental", ie the ongoing fixed cost to have an Iridium on the network and receiving incoming calls, vs the topup of vouchers to make outgoing calls. So it was (theoretically) possible to do the following:

  • In (say) 2001, purchase a 50 min voucher to make outbound calls
  • Over the years from 2001 to 17th Dec 2013, purchase additional extensions of "30 days line rental" to roll those 50 mins forward indefinitely (or until you use them up by making 50 mins of calls)
  • In this example we are assuming for some reason the customer makes no calls at all for these 12 years, to illustrate the point...

With effect from 17th Dec 2013, the following happens:

  • Vouchers (for minutes) which are over 3 years old (4 years for 3K/5K) will be expired automatically on a daily basis (ie historically and going forward)
  • In our example above, this means that the (hypothetically, 12 year old) 50 mins voucher will be expired on 17th Dec 2013
  • Going forward, if you keep purchasing "30 days line rental" topups then incoming calls will still work, but your balance for outbound calls would have decreased due to the voucher expiring (in our example here we now have zero balance, hence we need to purchase more to make outbound calls)

In practice it should be unusual that customers purchase minutes which sit unused for 3 years, and we would expect most customers to be using up purchased minutes within that time interval. As such it's not anticipated that this change will affect the majority of customers.

However, it could affect customers who have a device more for "standby" and have been rolling historic minutes forward. Therefore if you are more an "emergency only" type user, then please be sure to test the device and check the balance on a periodic basis to ensure you do still have valid vouchers for outbound calls.

Please contact mailasail sales if any of these changes are unclear?