In a last minute decision on the fate of unregistered pre-paid phone lines, the Spanish government has given a time period of six months to the users who will be affected by the deactivation to register their phone numbers and recover them. The government had earlier said that all such numbers would be switched off forever.
All unregistered pre-paid mobile phones are scheduled to be deactivated at midnight on Sunday for all calls except those made to 112, the emergency number.
According to a report by El Pais, the decision to grant a six month grace period was taken by the Interior Ministry on Saturday after talks with the mobile phone companies’ officials. The remaining credit will be retained on those pre-paid cards which would be switched off. The estimated value of the credit for all such phones amounts to 25 million €.
The switch off comes as a part of the Law for the Conservation of Data in Electronic Communications, which has been in effect since October 2007, as a result of the Madrid train bombings. Under the law, all mobile companies are required to keep records regarding the origin and destination of all calls in addition to the identities of the people involved in the conversation.