Changes for mobile phone users in Spain

12 million mobile telephone users in Spain in danger of losing their connection if they do not register themselves before 7th November 2009

Up to 12 million mobile users could lose their mobile connection and their mobile numbers due to the lack of success of initiatives launched both by operators and the Home Office for ‘Pay as You Go’ mobile users to register their name, identity card number and address with their mobile companies as set down by law.

Mobile telephone operators have told the government that at the present rate of this group of users registering themselves it will be impossible to meet the requirements stipulated in a law passed in October 2007 which states that ‘Pay as You Go’ mobile users will lose their mobile connection if they do not register themselves with their operators before 7th November 2009. The law was passed in response to the 11th March 2004 bombings in Madrid in which bombs were activated using mobile telephones.

The Home Office launched a campaign under the slogan ‘Identify Yourself’ in March this year to inform these users of the need to register with their mobile operators.

However, as the campaign was based solely on the Internet it has not achieved its desired result. In fact, since the initiative was put into place out of the 15 million ‘Pay as You Go’ mobile users in Spain only 3 million have registered their details which means that there are 12 million users who still need to register themselves before November this year.

Operating companies have tried to contact their users be means of text messages to ask them to register their details but without success especially amongst user groups such as the young or the retired. In addition, some smaller operators do not possess the sufficient resources to deal with large numbers of people registering themselves in person.

In the face of this situation operating companies have asked the Home Office for help in order to launch a new campaign to inform ‘Pay as You Go’ users of the need to register their details. However, so far they have received no response from the government. Furthermore, operating companies hold the opinion that it is the government not the companies themselves which should foot the bill for such a campaign.

In order to register with an operator a user should go to their nearest branch with their identity card or passport whilst the operating companies need to demonstrate their official fiscal identification document. From the 8th November operators have the obligation to cut off any ‘Pay as You Go’ mobile users who have not registered with them as stated in the law passed in October 2007.

Nevertheless operating companies are reluctant to cut off millions of ‘Pay as You Go’ users in the middle of a recession.

Movistar, Vodafone and Orange have estimated that it could cost up to 50 million euros in lost revenue if they comply with the requirements set down by law.