Spanish government orders 3 million disconnects

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Compulsory registration of pre-pay mobiles comes into force in Spain today, all mobiles must have been assigned to a formal ID document. The move is in reaction to the Madrid train bomb attacks of 11 March 2004 in which such phones were used to detonate the explosives. Between three and four million active SIMs have this morning been cut off from for all use except emergency 112 calls. €25m in credit could vanish at a stroke.

The huge number of remaining unregistered SIM cards has led to a last-minute reprieve. Agreement was reached between government and telcos to provide a final chance to register. Customers can reconnect during the next six months by supplying their full details. Any lost credit will then be reimbursed.