UPC email addresses extended for another three months following negotiations between NMHH and Vodafone

Published: 2 February 2021

Vodafone Magyarország Zrt. has extended access to UPC webmail for users of the service by three months, and it will provide support with creating new email accounts and backing data up, after intervention by the National Media and Infocommunications Authority (NMHH) and the Media and Infocommunications Commissioner. The company acquired UPS Magyarország Zrt. in the summer of 2019, but as the legal successor of the email service it cannot maintain it going forward since it has no entitlement to use the IT infrastructure of the email addresses and the UPC mailing system. Both Vodafone and the NMHH are striving to cause the least inconvenience for subscribers with the termination of the service, but neither the authority nor the commissioner can stop the cancellation of the service.

Numerous complaints were submitted to the NMHH and Edina Kastory, Media and Infocommunications Commissioner, after Vodafone notified its clients in November 2020 following the UPC acquisition that it would be terminating the UPC webmail service as well as the related email and web storage service as of March 2021. Among other things, the customers criticised the company for creating extra difficulties since many have been using these email addresses as official contact details, but others expressed concern about losing their emails dating back several years, and that the backup and migration might lead to data loss and breaches of personal data. Detailed information on the transition was another factor many people lacked.

As a result of the complaints, the infocommunications authority and the Commissioner’s Office initiated consultations with the service provider, which resulted in Vodafone extending access to the email accounts and the content stored on the web storage space until 31 May, while terminating the email services as of 1 March. This way, users will have enough time to back up stored data, open new email accounts, set the new email addresses for used services and to notify their partners. In addition, the company has published a more detailed user guide for saving emails, and they now also provide technical support via their customer service, by email or on the phone, for creating new email accounts or backing up emails. Face-to-face support is not possible due to the pandemic. What is more, the company will be contacting those who previously submitted complaints to them, the NMHH or the Commissioner.

Why is the service being terminated?

Vodafone informed its customers and the authority about its inability to maintain the service as the legal successor of UPC because it will not be entitled to use the upc.hu and other UPC-related domains along with the underlying IT infrastructure. Neither the NMHH, nor the Media and Infocommunications Commissioner has the right to block a process based on a service provider’s market decision, i.e. to stop the termination of the service.