Handling Carrier Deactivations

Learn about publishing reports with the various states.

The functionality supporting deactivated phone numbers are applicable only for the US region. A deactivated phone number is the one that a carrier has taken out of service for an end user, because of one of the two reasons:

  • A user has switched his carrier
  • They have closed their account

The numbers eventually get recycled and are reassigned to new users. Carriers frequently publish deactivation reports that contain a list of phone numbers that are deactivated within their networks. The reports help maintain compliance with regulatory laws. The deact reports should be processed on a daily basis so as to stay up to date with the compliance and avoid risk of sending messages to a new user who never opted for receiving messages in the first place.

Various carriers publish the reports with the following 4 states:

StateConsent for Messages
DEACTChanges to opt out
TRANSFERChanges to opt out
SUSPENDNo change
RESUMENo change


When a user’s phone number is deactivated, his number is put in the DEACT state and his consent immediately changes to opt out. That means, the user will be removed from all the groups.


When a user continues with the same mobile carrier but changes their phone number from an old one to a new one, it is considered as a Transfer state. In this case, the original number will be marked to be in the Deact state and their consent immediately changes to opt out and they will be removed from all the groups.


When a user ports to a new mobile carrier without changing their phone number, their original number is published as a DEACT record in the old carrier deact file. For example, a user moves from the AT&T network to Vodafone network by retaining their existing phone number. When a user changes their carrier, a carrier lookup request is performed to determine if the user has ported out to a new carrier. The system performs a discreet check to avoid any incorrect event mapping. If the system returns a “true” value when this check is performed, the user’s phone number remains active and they will be part of all the groups. If the carrier lookup returns a “false” value, it is treated as a DEACT record and their consent changes to opt out.

Carrier Lookup Service

If the Carrier lookup service is down, Contact policy system retries the Carrier Lookup service for a particular number upto 3 times within 24 hours. If there is no response from Carrier Lookup service even after 24 hours, the Contact Policy system will add a number to a separate list with Unknown status.