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Vodafone to seek judicial review of NMHH decision

The local unit of U.K. telco Vodafone will request a judicial review of a decision by Hungaryʼs National Media and Infocommunications Authority (NMHH) concerning its data reconciliation practices. A second-instance authority upheld the NMHH decision, taken in June, to fine Vodafone HUF 40 million.

Hungarian lawmakers tightened rules on pre-paid SIM cards in 2016 amid concerns they could be easily resold to criminals or terrorists, recalled national news agency MTI on Tuesday. The rules required telcos to check and confirm the personal data of all pre-paid subscribers by the end of June 2017.

On Monday, the NMHH said a second-instance authority had upheld its decision to fine Vodafone and require it to reconcile properly the data of several hundred thousand subscribers. It noted that Vodafone had used subscriber information from its own database, rather than information provided by subscribers, as the starting point for reconciling the personal data of about one-third of its pre-paid subscribers. In addition, the NMHH said, Vodafone waited several days past the July 1 deadline to deactivate SIM cards for which subscriber data could not be reconciled.

Asked for comment on the NMHH decision, Vodafone said it did not agree with the authorityʼs interpretation of the law and would ask for a judicial review.

"In the course of the data reconciliation, Vodafone employed a procedure that was appropriate from a legal point of view and complied with all regulations in force, while taking into full consideration the comfort and interests of customers with the aim of avoiding unnecessary queueing and easing customersʼ administrative burdens," the telco declared. 

NMHH probes of Hungaryʼs other mobile telecommunications service providers revealed that a procedure launched against Telenor was unjustified, while a case against Magyar Telekom was closed and no fine levied because measures the telco took to comply with NMHHʼs directive were sufficient, MTI reported on Monday.