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Don't worry, we speak : Español (Spanish), too!

After being made useless overnight, 10 dígitos wants to save Mexican’s contact lists

Don't worry, we speak : Español (Spanish), too!

Contxto – Last Monday (3) I tried to call someone from my cell phone but I got rejected. Not by the person I was calling mind you; by the Mexican Government.

After a year’s worth of a “period of co-existence”, all prefixes that once upon a time differentiated mobile, landline, and collect call numbers have been eliminated. Now, you need only dial 10 digits to make your call.

But, of course, who the hell dials anymore?

Nowadays, everyone has their contacts stored in their phone (or more wisely in the cloud) making this rather banal policy change a massive headache.

Instead of just calling someone, you now have to manually edit every single number beforehand to get rid of the 044, 045, 01… prefixes you had stored initially. 

I’ve had to do it twice already and I already feel like I’m going mad.

Count to 10 and crunch the numbers

Before you huff and accuse me of being a typical millennial, take into consideration that the average person has hundreds, if not thousands, of contacts at any one time.

Now, multiply that by the more than 115 million people that are being affected by this seemingly trivial issue. That’s a lot of human-hours we could be wasting on Instagram!

Then again, we were forewarned a year ago. And, while most of us did nothing, a pair of enterprising Mexicans saw a golden opportunity.

Jorge Himes, Horacio García Corral, and a team of programmers used the time to create 10 dígitos.

This app will help users to automatically update their contacts without having to do it one by one. With it, they will be able to avoid their calls being cut, and at the same time they will be protecting their data.

A great timesaver and apparently it will only cost a one-off fee of MX$19 (just shy of a dollar) to download. 

So, great for the user and exactly the sort of innovation one wants to see in the tech world: Timely, affordable, and unpretentious. 10 dígitos didn’t reinvent the wheel to come up with its solution, yet it solves a clear—in somewhat novel—issue.

One hundred million people’s trash, a startup opportunity

The problem is that this solution, though techy in nature, does not like a sustainable model for a startup. So, what gives? Well, the clues behind what seems to be the real business model are scattered all around the announcement sent to Contxto by the app:

Apart from “cleaning” your contact list […] the app looks after your data so as not to give access to publicity and other apps that could gather your information.

Therefore, I believe that this app—a bit like the prefixes it cleanses your phone of—is simply a temporary hook to assure broad appeal. The idea may well be to get some serious onboarding done before presenting users with a broader suite of security solutions. 

Let’s hope that’s the case since, by the looks of their social media accounts, the folks at 10 Digitos are spending all the time they’re saving people, walking them through what seems to be a bit of a confusing interface.

A well worth investment if the real money maker emerges from this app. 

-AG

Alejandro González Ormerod
Historian, writer, and editor from Mexico City. He was a book publisher, academic, and cheesemonger before joining Contxto. Still deciding on which Latin American country to visit next; food and fun are the main criteria.

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