Communiqué de presse

ARCEP announces the results of the random draw for 118XYZ numbers to be used for directory services

Paris, 14 June 2005

This morning, the Autorité de Régulation

des Communications Electroniques et des Postes (ARCEP, formerly ART) held the draw for the 118XYZ numbers which will be used as access to telephone directory services.

Companies Cambio and Kelnuméro did not

attend. Meanwhile, Jonas Technology, ADP Télécom and two companies from the France Telecom group (Orange Caraïbe and Orange Réunion) withdrew their applications prior to the draw.

The list

of the groups (France Telecom, SFR and Free) and of the companies present, the order of number selections resulting from the draws and the numbers chosen by the candidates at each round are given in appendix of this press release.


have one week to make any observations to ARCEP. Within this same period, the groups must also inform ARCEP on how the numbers chosen will be allocated between the different companies within the group.

The final allocation

of 118XYZ numbers will be made following this period.



Review of the context

In 2002, a number of telephone directory service providers requested that ARCEP modify the national numbering plan so that the number "12" would no longer be used for directory services, and so that numbers with the same format could be used for directory services by all telephone directory service providers, whether telecommunications operators or directory service providers.

The number "12" was then reserved for telephone directory services provided by telecommunications operators (whether fixed or mobile) to their subscribers. It was shared by operators free of charge. Meanwhile, other telephone directory service providers could only provide their services using four-digit numbers allocated by ARCEP, which were subject to a fee.

In order to correct this distortion of competition caused by the use of different numbering formats, in July 2004, the Council of State called on ARCEP to define within six months the conditions for allocating numbers with the same format to all operators offering telephone directory services, to revise the national numbering plan accordingly, and following a potential transition period, to withdraw the usage of the number ‘12’ as directory service provided by the operators.

In accordance with the Council of State’s decision, ARCEP has chosen a single number format for all companies wishing to provide telephone directory services.

Following the ECTRA (European Committee for Telecommunications Regulatory Affairs) recommendation, the range of numbers beginning with 118 has been reserved for this use, as is already the case in a number of other European countries.

A six-digit number was chosen making 1 000 numbers theoretically available, although ARCEP did not allocate the 1181YZ range to directory services, reducing the total to 900 numbers.


  • Consumers will have access to universal directory data via 118


In order to make the new format as easy as possible for consumers to use and get used to, ARCEP has decided that every voice directory services using a 118 number will have to provide at least the universal national directory service (i.e. the equivalent of the white pages, including fixed and mobile numbers, as well as 087 numbers, used to call voice over IP setup boxes for example, and 3BPQ or 08 numbers used to call toll-free or paid services).

Services providers may, of course, offer additional services to the callers (international directory services, professional numbers, reverse directory, foreign language services, call forwarding, directory services via SMS or e-mail, etc.).


  • Key dates

    • 2 November 2005 :
      Earliest date for operational launch of 118 services.

    • 3 April 2006 :
      The number "12" and other non-118 existing numbers for directory services (612, 712, 222, 3200, etc.) will no longer be available: anyone calling these numbers will hear a pre-recorded message informing them of the migration of directory services to 118 numbers.

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    • 3 April 2007 :
      Definitive closure of the number "12" and other non-118 numbers for directory services, which can no longer be reached.


  • Consumer information


1/ On the implementation of 118 numbers

ARCEP is fully aware that replacing the number "12" by six-digit "118" numbers could be confusing for some consumers. This is why it is currently working with government services on the best ways to inform the public. Consumer associations will naturally be involved in this information process.

Moreover, once the new 118 numbers are working, ARCEP will conduct quality of service surveys of the various directory services; the measurements, which will be published on ARCEP’s web site, will also be made available to the press and consumer associations.

2/ How much will consumers have to pay for a 118 service?

As is already the case today, tariffs of directory services will stay free and will be set by the different providers, with the exception of the 118 number allocated to the universal service provision, which price will keep on being controlled.