MADRID (Reuters) - Siesta has always been a serious matter in Spain. Telecom operators have just acknowledged that by agreeing not to poach each other's clients for an hour after the famously late Spanish lunch.
The new code of ethics signed by telecom operators, including Telefonica, Vodafone and Orange, which updates a 2010 version, said all operators are committed to give clients time to rest by not placing commercial calls between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m.
Spaniards traditionally lunch between 2 p.m. and 3 p.m.
They also intend to delay to 10 a.m, from 9 a.m., the starting time to call potential clients with new offers.
The measure will be in place from January 2022 at the latest, according to a joint statement signed by the five main telecom operators of the country, and will be open to others.
"We telecommunication operators all through the years have adapted our actions to consumers' habits," said Jean-Francois Fallacher, chief executive of the local unit of Orange, in the statement.
Spanish operators - squeezed by years of vanishing margins and high costs as they race to provide a new generation of mobile services - have engaged in aggressive campaigns to capture clients from rivals.
With the new code of ethics, clients cannot be bothered after 9 p.m during the weekdays. Weekends and bank holidays are also off limits.
The operators committed to calling a given number no more than three times a month if the client does not pick up and to wait three months before calling again if a client rejects an offer.
(Reporting by Emma Pinedo; editing by Inti Landauro and Bernadette Baum)