Few days ago, Will wrote about plans of the Mexican government to kill millions of cellphone lines in an anti-crime initiative. Well that ain’t gonna go that easy as we have the country’s regulator, Cofetel, extending the deadline for the prepaid mobile phone user registration. The reason is obvious – operators reacted, in a fear of losing millions of dollars in revenues.
The regulator said it will “allow operators to eliminate the latter phase of the registration process being handled by their technical teams and at the same time will give preference to processing applications received starting today.”
Last Saturday, almost 1.5 million Mexicans registered their prepaid phone numbers, bringing the number of registered users to 58.3 million, or about 70% of all phones in the country.
The question is whether this can help Mexico in its crime-fighting activities. It could help, though it’s important to add criminals could always register phones under other people’s identities, making the measure obsolete.
And for the record, Mexico’s two largest mobile operators, America Movil and Telefonica, tried unsuccessfully to have the deadline for disconnections extended by one year to April 2011.