Prepaid SIM card owners only have three days left for reconciliation

Published: 27 June 2017

Since there is only a few days left until the 30 June deadline, the National Media and Infocommunications Authority (NMHH) calls upon all those concerned to reconcile their data with their mobile service providers as soon as possible if they have not done so yet. Based on the information received by the NMHH, reconciliation has been completed for 60 percent of prepaid SIM cards.

The deadline for reconciling data for prepaid SIM cards purchased prior to 2017 expires on Friday, 30 June, so subscribers have only a few days left to contact their mobile service providers or any of the hundreds of the post offices of Magyar Posta online, by phone or in person. Pursuant to the decision of the Hungarian Parliament, anyone who fails to reconcile their data by the end of the month will have their subscription cancelled.

The information available to the NMHH shows that subscribers had so far around 60 per cent of SIM cards verified with the operators in charge of reconciliation, i.e. Telekom, Telenor and Vodafone.

Consequently, on 1 July, operators will have to deactivate prepaid cards for which data is not reconciled. However, notwithstanding all is not lost even after the expiry of the deadline as, in the NMHH’s view, there is no legal impediment for terminated contracts to be concluded again and thereby for phone numbers and balances to be recovered. Both Telekom and Telenor have already announced that they will make this possible; further details will be provided by the operators.

When assessing the situation, it must be acknowledged that there may be a lot of people who deliberately choose not to reconcile the data of their obsolete SIM cards that have been inactive for a long time as they do no longer want to use such cards, as is assumed.

From the date of entry into force of the relevant Act, the NMHH has been continuously monitoring data reconciliation practices of operators and supporting them with legal interpretation. After the expiry of the deadline, the NMHH will verify whether operators have performed data reconciliation as required.

International outlook

Data reconciliation has been introduced in other EU Member States as well. To the NMHH’s knowledge, legislative amendments were proposed, for example, in Belgium and the Netherlands (where it had been previously legal to use anonymous SIM cards) at the end of last year in order to require the compulsory recording of personal details for prepaid subscriptions. This amendment was passed in Belgium; however, in the Netherlands, it was not. In Belgium, the subscribers concerned (owners of 3.4 million prepaid SIM cards) had six months to provide proof of their identity, the deadline for which passed on 7 June 2017. Operators there blocked nearly 12 percent of the cards concerned, i.e. 400,000 SIM cards in total, at the end, but subscribers also have the option to get back their phone numbers and balances if they fulfil their obligation to provide proof of identity.