Alternative fixed line telco PrimeTel, which was awarded Cyprus’ third mobile licence in January 2014, is also opposing legislation relating to the identification of all pre-paid mobile SIM cards, recently under discussion in the parliamentary Communications Committee. Hermes Stephanou, CEO of PrimeTel, said that we would not want to follow the example of Greece after the introduction of identification of all pre-paid mobile SIM cards, which had led to a fall in turnover. The executive also pointed out that the legislation will bring none of the desired results, as applications on smartphones and tablets, such as WhatsApp, Viber and Skype, do not use prepaid SIM cards yet permit full communication. The company also points out that its view is supported by a recent report by the GSMA, which found that the identification process for pre-paid SIM cards does not positively affect the tackling of crime.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, legislation was drafted to enforce identity registration of all pre-paid mobile users in late 2009, but the plan was hampered by numerous obstacles, including conflict with existing personal data laws. The proposed new law provides for a one-year transitional period to give subscribers a chance to register their details, with the aim of curbing illicit or criminal usage of anonymously owned SIM cards. In January 2014 Cyprus Telecommunications Authority (Cyta), the owner of Cytamobile-Vodafone, the country’s leading mobile provider in terms of subscribers, voiced its concerns over the drafted regulation, and appealed to the Ministry of Communications and Works to renew discussions on the topic before adopting its final decision.