NMHH imposed a fine on Vodafone for infringement in data reconciliation

The official statement of National Media- and Infocommunications Authority (Nemzeti Média- és Hírközlési Hatóság, NMHH) of 27 August 2018 claimed that in 2017, Vodafone did not perform the data reconciliation of about one-third of its subscribers having prepaid phone cards as per the statutory provisions, furthermore, it disconnected unreconciled SIM cards only one week after the deadline. For the above infringement, the media authority decided to impose a fine of HUF 40 million on the telecommunication service provider. Vodafone filed an appeal against the authority’s resolution adopted in June, which was then upheld by the second instance authority on 24 August.

Due to the resolution, hundreds of thousands of Vodafone’s prepaid subscribers can expect new data reconciliation, as the telecommunication company performed this obligation earlier by using its own registered data instead of initiating a fresh data collection from its customers. This practice of Vodafone was the infringement of the prevailing laws, as the process of data reconciliation on the basis of former, already registered data does not allow the precise identification of the actual SIM card subscribers; hence, it was unsuitable to achieve the respective law’s targeted purpose.

The authority refused to accept the different legal interpretation offered by the telecommunication service provider. Furthermore, NMHH concluded that Vodafone had not even tried to meet the deadline set for the deactivation of unreconciled SIM cards (1 July).

The authority’s investigation also covered the related practices of the other service providers, but no infringement in case of Telenor Zrt. and Magyar Telekom Nyrt. was revealed.

In the opinion of NMHH, the use of this unlawful method had lessened the administrative burdens of Vodafone significantly and thus granted material advantage for the company compared to its competitors, who had involved considerable resources in order to comply properly with the obligation of data conciliation.

Differently from the uniform deadline of 30 June last year, from 2018 data reconciliation shall be carried out every year by the turnover date of the subscriber’s contract; hence, this deadline for data reconciliation will be different for each prepaid SIM subscriber. Data reconciliation may be completed online as well.