The Government has decided to pardon the telephone booths, which were scheduled to disappear from January 1 to stop being part of the benefits included in the universal telecommunications service. Finally, the Council of Ministers will approve tomorrow a royal decree that eliminates the obligation of both telephone directories and the telephone consultation service on subscriber numbers, but maintains the requirement that there is a certain number of public telephones according to the population of each locality .
The previous executive of the PP granted an extension of one year until 2019 pending the amendment of the law that regulates the universal telecommunications service that requires the State to maintain both benefits throughout the national territory. But the socialist government has merciful of them and has decided to keep them until the next transposition to Spain of the European Code of Electronic Communications (for which there is a period of two years) "to make a more complete and comprehensive analysis on how to withdraw benefits universal service of telephony, "according to Efe, citing industry sources.
The decision has caused surprise to the operators since both the National Commission of Markets and Competition (CNMC) and the draft royal decree draft of the Ministry of Energy, Tourism and Digital Agenda eliminated the consideration of the telephone booths of the universal service of telecommunications, informed this newspaper in sources of the companies.
Competition considers that cabins and guides have fallen into "disuse" and "there are no current market reasons to continue guaranteeing their provision as part of the universal service". According to your data, 88% of Spaniards have never used a telephone booth and, in addition, the cost of maintaining them has been increasing in recent years to stand at 2.07 million euros in 2015.
Awarded to Telefónica
Currently, not wanting to take charge of any operator of this service, the Government requires Telefónica to provide the services of guides and cabins, until December 31, 2018. In the case of the number information service, Telefónica was awarded This service for a period of three years -from January 1, 2009 to December 31, 2011-. After that date, no contest has been called to designate the provider of this service, since it is considered that it is already being guaranteed by the market.
It is estimated that Telefonica loses about five million euros per year to keep the cabins that are still in operation in service, which does not compensate for what it receives from the universal service paid for by all the operators. As regards the guides, only 304 copies of the printed guide were requested from Telefónica in 2017.