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data point - anonymous E.164 number usage

  • From: Michael Haberler < >
  • Date: Thu, 26 Feb 2004 20:39:03 +0100

In the context of validation of numbers for ENUM, I have tried to estimate the amount of mobile users which have totally anonymously bought a prepaid SIM card, or in other words, users of E.164 numbers which have no trace at all in a phonebook or other records.

In the EU, all countries except Germany, Hungary and Italy permit totally anonymous purchase of prepaid SIM cards. This indicates that about 65% of the EU population have access to anonymous mobile service (even in Italy, just a taxpayer code is needed which is not subscriber data but allows to track down a user for law enforcement - but lets leave that out for the sake of argument; in France I understand a record is made for purposes of recovering a lost SIM card but not for proof of identity).

There are about 400 Million mobile users in Europe, and penetration of prepaid is about 40%. Assuming that nobody registers if he doesnt have to, and multiplying those figures a ballpark estimate is that there are about 100 Million E.164 numbers in use in Europe without any subscriber data just through the use of prepaid SIM cards.

-Michael




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