More on the Cell Phone Debacle

Many Mexicans were surprised that there was no ‘prorroga‘ (extension) on the deadline for registering your cell phone; in fact, anyone who has lived in this country for any length of time knows that any new law requiring anything to be done on the part of the populace, ends up getting postponed and those who rushed to comply on time feel foolish, cheated and are laughed at by the more seasoned pros who knew that the deadline was not really that firm.

You might remember when former president Fox announced his ‘borron y cuenta nueva‘ tax program, essentially forgiving fines and back taxes on those who had not paid their federal taxes. Those of us who did pay their taxes felt like a bunch of idiots as the tax cheats laughed their way to the bank.

Water bills? Same thing. The JAPAY regularly forgave debt in order to invite customers to get back on track. While some of these folks might have had real economic troubles, a great number of them did not and simply abused – and continue to abuse – the system.

Well, everyone expected the deadline for the cell phones to be extended and were indeed surprised when it was not. Lineups at TelCel offices were long and the whole RENAUT system collapsed under the pressure of so many people doing last minute registering via text message.

Meanwhile, the question of whether this idea was really that great in the first place has come up. Turns out that a good number of people registered their cell phones in the name of Felipe Calderon (president) and many more registered them in the name of someone else (read more on this here). You perhaps? You’ll never know, unless a crime is committed somewhere with that phone and you get the knock on the door – if they are polite; if not, they will kick it in, to use a phrase by our illustrious governor.

And now, the major player in the cell phone market in Mexico, TelCel, has announced that it has in place an ‘amparo‘ which is essentially a legalistic delay tactic that permits them to NOT cancel any unregistered cell phone accounts, as the law dictates it should. Telef├│nica, another cell phone provider here is in the process of doing the same. It is difficult to imagine the “powers” that be telling Carlos Slim what he can or cannot do, so it will be interesting to see how the government handles this.

Aren’t you glad you took the time and trouble to register your phone? I know I feel good about it.

7 thoughts on “More on the Cell Phone Debacle

  1. well, chalk one up to another experience teaching me how to live in Mexico. since it didn’t take that long to do, i guess i dont regret doing it.

    but knowing that you could register in anyone’s name… makes you wonder. what exactly was the point anyway?

  2. Hi William.

    We just arrived in Merida from Vancouver and got a cell with TelCel, registered it with them by showing my passport, that was it.

    On another note, we have moved here as I just retired. Can’t wait to take our dogs for a walk in Centro as I suspect we have the biggest dog in town, English Mastiff.

    Hope to run into you one of these days to chat.


  3. Ray – I will look for a big dog and introduce you to my better half who wants to retire in Vancouver after living here 20 years. She is from here of course! Maybe you can talk some sense into her ­čÖé

  4. The point was to fight crime (extortion and frauds, scams via telephone) or at least to be seen as doing something. Someone had this idea, no body really thought it out, and it was passed as law by a bunch of lazy pols. The fact that you could register a phone in my name and I in yours seems a rather gigantic loophole, doncha think?

  5. Please send an email and we can connect, will certainly help on the Vancouver thing as its not what people think it is, lots of crime, taxes and no culture IMHO.

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