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Consumer protection, changing habits and innovation, efficient number management: Arcep consults on a draft decision on modernising the national numbering plan 

Paris, 17 May 2018

Today, Arcep is publishing a draft decision for consultation, with the aim of modernising the framework governing the assignment and use of numbering resources. This draft decision includes measures designed to protect users against fraud and abuse, enable and encourage innovation and support new uses, and to better manage the scarcity of numbering resources.

Offering users better protection against fraud and abuse

Arcep has seen practices emerge that have created tremendous dissatisfaction amongst users (bill shock, spam calls, inability to call certain numbers from Metropolitan France or from the overseas territories). To curtail these practices, which consumer protection associations are also criticising, Arcep is proposing a series of measures, including:

- Supervising the price of directory enquiry services which has skyrocketed over the past 10 years, with the average price of a call increasing by more than 400% between 2005 and 2016. Arcep proposes setting a maximum rate that is the same as the one that applies to other short and special numbers: €3.00, including VAT, per call, or 80 cents, including VAT, per minute.

- Supervising caller ID spoofing practices, which enable enterprises to provide streamlined customer support, while organising their call centres in different locations. Having ascertained that this practice resulted in number spoofing, Arcep is proposing a set of measures aimed at governing its use, and has established a series of recommendations for operators, including the implementation of measures that make it possible to immediately interrupt calls or messages using spoofed numbers.

- A reminder of the obligation for all special and short numbers to be accessible across the whole of France, having observed that operators have deliberately made some of these numbers inaccessible, particularly to callers from the overseas departments and territories.

Encourage innovation and support new uses

Keeping a constant watch on how habits are changing - notably through its Digital market barometer, which it produces annually with the Economic General Council - Arcep wanted to adapt its regulation to help usher in innovations and new consumer habits. Its draft decision proposes the following measures in particular:

- Relax the conditions under which users can have several mobile numbers attached to their mobile phone (e.g. separate personal and professional numbers), even if the phone can only house a single SIM card.

- Allow fixed numbers which, up until now, were only dedicated to calling services, to now be made available to SMS and MMS services, and thereby enable businesses to use these methods to communicate with their customers.

- Authorise operators to assign their longer mobile numbers, designed for the Internet of Things (IoT) market, to customers located around the globe, and no longer only in France.

- Substantially increase the availability of MNC (Mobile Network Codes) to support the development of 4G (LTE) technology in professional mobile radio (PMR) networks and superfast wireless networks. Together, Arcep's proposals must make it possible to increase the number of available codes from 100 to 10,000.

More efficient number management, to avoid a dearth and to meet the growing demand from French businesses

Spurred by new uses, demand for numbering resources is growing. To support the growth of French businesses, Arcep is proposing a series of measures to achieve more efficient management of these numbering resources:

- Further streamline number management, as demand for these resources from French users continues to increase: Arcep is proposing assigning all new numbering resources for a default period of two years, and to plan on assigning numbers to users on a block by block basis, to avoid fragmentation and companies' temptation to use only the most attractive numbers.

- Introduce new eligibility criteria for numbering resource assignments, to make market stakeholders more accountable: Arcep is proposing that requests for number assignments from market players that have not paid the taxes they owe on their existing resources be deemed ineligible, as well as those coming from players that have not provided Arcep with their annual report on the use of their numbers.

- Simplify some of operators' procedures, notably by encouraging them to submit their requests electronically, through an extranet, and by shortening their annual report.

Arcep invites all interested stakeholders (operators, consumer associations, publishers, individuals) to share their feedback on this draft decision, either directly or through their representatives. The deadline for submitting comments is 20 June 2018.

Linked documents

Available only in French
The documents being published for the public consultation that will run from 17 May to 20 June 2018 include:
→ The draft decision
Annexes 1 (numbering plan) and 2 (management policies)
→ The questionnaire 

Other press releases





Linked documents

Available only in French
The documents being published for the public consultation that will run from 17 May to 20 June 2018 include:
→ The draft decision
Annexes 1 (numbering plan) and 2 (management policies)
→ The questionnaire