In Spain, more than four million prepaid customers are at risk of losing their mobile phone number forever. The new Law on the Conservation of Data Relating to Electronic Communications requires that, until the 9th of November, all telephone numbers must be registered, otherwise they will be deactivated.
The standard provides for the identification of all mobile numbers in use, in an attempt to avoid the use of mobile phones with pre-paid tariffs – which could be purchased without any identification of the holder being registered – for terrorist or criminal acts, as happened in the attacks. Madrid in 2004.
With the entry into force of the standard in 2007, all devices purchased with prepaid tariffs started to require the identification of the holder and a period of two years was given for customers and operators to regularize the situation of the numbers prior to the date .
In recent weeks, operators have been sending SMS and automatic calls with voice recordings asking all customers using prepaid tariffs whose numbers are not yet associated with the name and identification number of the holder (DNI, passport or residence permit) to the authorized agents to supply the data.
Although 74 percent of holders have already registered, at least 4 million have not yet registered. And there are those who argue that there are many more, if we take into account the fact that, for this count, it is assumed that all prepaid phones purchased after the standard came into force are registered, but there are still places where this does not happen .
The El Mundo newspaper gives the example of BicPhones, disposable phones already loaded and ready to use, which can be found for sale in places like gas stations, where customer data is not requested.
There is a possibility that many of the numbers to be identified are no longer being used, but if the deactivations of the nearly four million are confirmed, Spain will go from 53 million active lines, to 49 million after the measure is applied, according to data provided by local media.
Meanwhile, the Spanish association of mobile operators Redtel, which brings together Telefónica, Vodafone, Orange and Ono, has asked for an extension of the deadline or the possibility of recovering the number when people come forward for data registration, even after the 9th of this month, but the Interior Ministry has already announced that it will not postpone the deadline.