Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Mexican Cell Phone Debacle March 2010


Mexico, in it's eternal wisdom and optimism,
has decided that since narcos, extortionists, and kidnappers use
cell phones in the planning and commission of crimes. . .
it makes perfect sense to mandate that by April 10th
every cell phone in Mexico must be registered 
and each registration must contain the phone owners
CURP number as well as their PERSONAL information.

A CURP number is the equivalent of a US Social Security number.
Mexicans are issued their CURP# on their birth certificate.
Foreigners don't have a CURP number but must get issued one
in order to register their phones. 

There's a fly in this ointment.  
No, there's a whole herd of them.

According to my newspaper, The Guadalajara Reporter,
after this date, users who have not registered their phones
with the 
National Registry of Cell Phone Users
may have their service suspended.

There are four cell phone companies here in Mexico 
and 83.5 million cell phone users.  
Of that 83.5 million phones, only 38 million have been registered.
Those would be the phones belonging to the cartels, no doubt,
as they most assuredly rushed to comply.

The Reporter goes on to say that if the remaining
45.5 million phones do not get registered,
and are subsequently disconnected on April 10th, 
it could mean that the service providers would lose
243 million pesos — EVERY DAY.

(Psssst, the numero uno World's Richest Man happens to own 
the biggest cell phone company in Mexico.)

This situation is being compared to the effect that the
Swine Flu had on the Mexican economy!

Ooooh, here's a fly. . .The GR goes on to say that CURP#s
have been found to be duplicated!
And, this could make it difficult for the comparison of data and 
might result in the wrong persons having their cell phones 
suspended due to systematic inconsistencies.
Ya' think?
Nevertheless, they say, despite these irregularities Article 64 
of the Federal Telecommunications Law stipulates that all 
cell phones must be registered.

Now for my personal experience regarding complying
with this law.
In my usual fashion, when it comes to burro-cracy,
I wait until the laaaaaasssst minute to make sure that 
it MUST be done and no one was 'just kidding'.

I called a friend of mine in the cell phone business:
¡Hola, amigo.  Hey what's this about registering our cell phones,
do we really have to?
Si.  He said.
Are you sure?
Si, but just bring in your phone and I'll help you do it.
Ok, cool.  Thanks.  Do I really have to have a CURP#?
I don't have one.
No problem, you can use mine!!!

I rest my case.


  1. I think you can register at the Telcel office by bringing your passport, you don't need a CURP.

  2. Sometimes I wonder if Mexico creates this legislation in order to appear 'progressive' and modern to the U.S. and other first-world nations, because they have the resources (or desire) to really enforce laws. This is fine with me, as I love the freedom, but I find the charade a bit annoying sometimes. Like you, I don't think I will worry about registering unless I lose phone service.

  3. Oh, h***, you mean I really have to register mine?

  4. Leah's point is well-taken. This strikes me as another attempt by the central government to show it is in charge -- as every government has since, well, since the first people treked down the Pacific coast. When it becomes evident that compliance on this issue falls somewhere between compliance with the speed laws and the income tax law, it will all be forgotten. Meanwhile, we inherently law-abiding NOBers will bend over backwards to comply. Not like we have any choice. After all, we can be asked to leave. My neighbors can't. Or you can do what I did several months ago: dump the cell phone. I lived for 40 years without one. I can do it again.

  5. I agree, Leah, it's the charade that gets old.

    Just got word, from a reliable source, that the deadline has been extended 6 months to Oct 10. This too shall fade off into the sunset. Gracias a dios.

    BTW, other report besides the phone extension is that starting sometime in April a prescription will be required for antibiotics. That is a good and huge step in the right direction! Bravo!

  6. Getting a CURP is easy, and if you´re intending to make Mexico home, it´s advisable to get it.

  7. Getting a CURP is easy! Except for the misinformation from the office of the registrar.
    First visit: You will need a copy of your birth certificate.
    Second visit: No, no, you don't need this copy of your birth certificate. You will need copy of phone/CFE bill, copy of face page of passport, and copy of the receipt of your FM3 renewal.
    Third visit: Not done.

    Felipe: Why is it advisable to get it? This IS my home, I've lived here 6 years without a CURP so far. . .

  8. I have to say that I have seen people get scammed out of money and scared by people sending threats via the cell phone. So anything they can do to try to tack down these people Im ok with. To be honest I think its a good thing and at least they are doing something. As with any regulation (even in the US) people will try to find their way around it and mistakes are going to happen.
    Oh and I have a CURP with my FM3 and my phone is already registered its really easy all you have to do is call a number.