ARCEP to revise number management rules in France again

ARCEP has launched a public consultation with a view to further amending number management rules, in particular to reduce the constraints applicable to geographical numbers. This easing is good news for operators which have been facing a much stricter regulatory framework since summer 2018.

On 24 July 2018, ARCEP adopted an in-depth reform of the numbering plan and its management rules (Decision 2018-0881) by, for example, shortening the duration of number allocation (2 years by default), tightening the conditions for making numbers available to third party operators and requiring them to be assigned to users block by block of numbers.

Less than a year after this upheaval in the rules on the allocation and use of numbers, the regulator intends to continue its project to modernize the national numbering plan in order to meet the new uses and needs of users and operators. In particular, ARCEP plans to adopt the following measures, among others.

  • Easing of the geographical constraints of numbers 01 to 05: At present, these numbers are associated with one of the 412 Elementary Numbering Zones (ENZ). Operators can only assign them to a user located in the ENZ attached to the number and the number cannot be kept by the user when moving out of this zone. ARCEP is considering lifting these restrictions. This decision would be good news for operators for whom monitoring compliance with these rules is complex, and for users who could eventually keep their fixed numbers when they move within mainland France, even if outside of their original ZNE, as is already the case for non-geographic numbers (09).
  • Modification of the eligibility conditions for number transfer requests (between operators); the maximum notice period required to request or authorise a transfer has been extended from 2 to 3 months in response to requests from operators.
  • Simplification of the calculation of tariff ceilings for special and short numbers;
  • Implementation of a number authentication mechanism to protect users against spoofing.

Operators and users (consumers and businesses alike) can make their voices heard on these measures by responding to ARCEP's consultation until Friday, 7 June, 2019