The Spanish government agreed a temporary hold on number portability rules for mobile and fixed providers, to free operator employees for tasks deemed a priority in response to the ongoing public health crisis, Expansion reported.

Sources speaking to the business newspaper noted the move would make mobile operators’ call centre staff available to deal with other issues and prevent technical staff having to physically switch users between fixed suppliers.

It is part of efforts to mitigate problems caused by a raft of homeworkers and support demand for remote education facilities brought about by the ongoing Covid-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.

The move follows a joint letter issued by the country’s fixed and mobile operators on 15 March urging consumers to take a number of measures so network bandwidth is available for critical services and teleworking.

In the plea, operators suggested delaying video streaming and gaming to outside of peak working hours, use of landlines rather than mobiles for calls, avoiding video in work collaboration tools, and avoiding “massive emails” with sizeable attachments.

Providers noted IP traffic was up around 40 per cent, with mobile voice up 50 per cent over the preceding few days.

Expansion reported the majority of operators wanted to include advice around number portability in the public plea. However Masmovil, which has been a beneficiary of consumer switching rules, was against the idea so it was omitted from the letter.