QCOSTARICA – Starting as voluntary system, on March 1, it became mandatory for all active users of prepaid cell phone lines to register their number in a central database.
According to the Superintendency of Telecommunications (Superintendencia de Telecomunicaciones – SUTEL), the registration was created to protect users from was created to protect users of prepaid cell phone service against possible identity theft, extortion and fraud, like phishing.
Since March 1, almost 35.000 users have registered with the system. The actual number of users of the prepaid service is unknown, the last count was 5.8 million users, but that was back in 2013.
Users will be required to update their information on the website www.registroprepago.sutel.go.cr. Registration is mandatory.
The registry is different and separate of the records required to be kept by each operator, ie Kolbi, Claro and Movistar when activating a prepaid line.
According to the Sutel website FAQ’s, the registration of the line can be by the user – the person actually using the line, and not the person or company that made the original activation; the registration is for a period of one year, at which time the user is contacted to update the information; individuals can only register up to five (5) lines per cedula (national or residency) or passport number, (corporations up to one hundred – 100) prepaid lines; and, the system will generate an OTP (One Time Password) to be used by the user to access the system. User can remove a number from their database info, says the SUTEL.
The Base de Datos Prepago (Prepaid Database) information will be confidential and only know and used by the SUTEL and the operator, solely for “authorized purposes”, says the website.
[/su_pullquote]The SUTEL says that besides the security against identity theft and fraud, the user can receive the latest promotion from their operator, ie special pricing, etc., easily identify the operator* and easier when porting a number from one operator to another.
At a cost of ¢59 million colones, the SUTEL says the registry will be maintained by the Corte Inglés, the same company authorized for number portability.
* Before number portability, the first digit of the phone number identified the operator (8 for Kolbi, 6 for Movistar and 7 for Claro). With number portability, that is no longer the case.