Paris, 23 February 2009
Fixed number portability is a right established by the Posts and Electronic Communications Code (CPCE) which allows all electronic communications service subscribers to keep their fixed telephone number when they switch operators.
Since its creation in 1998, the fixed number portability process lets consumers switch operators to take advantage of new offers while keeping their old number. The so-called "one-stop shop" simplifies the process for consumers since they need only contact their new operator to perform the entire switchover process. In 2007, a full 2.5 million fixed numbers were ported.
The primary goal of the draft decision being submitted for public consultation is to define short-term obligations aiming to automate inter-operator processes and to improve the quality of service when calls are routed to ported fixed or mobile numbers, to consumers’ benefit.
- Improving the fixed number portability process
Portability, originally intended for subscribers switching from the incumbent, has played an important role in the growth of alternative operators’ unbundling offers. However, the market is now moving towards a multi-operator switch dynamic: portability is no longer just from France Telecom to an alternative operator, but also from an alternative operator to France Telecom or between alternative operators. Consequently, operators need to develop and automate their processes in order to meet all portability requests, regardless of the operator or type of fixed number.
In this context, ARCEP wishes to clarify how fixed number portability is applied, in accordance with Article D. 406-18 II. of the CPCE, and to receive players’ opinions on the obligations it may be required to impose. There would be two types of obligation:
- individual obligations, imposed on each fixed operator, requiring them to inform subscribers on the means and consequences of keeping their number
- inter-operator obligations, concerning the time required for operators to transmit the information required to process the portability request, implementation times and the maximum service interruption period
- Guaranteeing good call quality to ported fixed and mobile numbers
The possibility for consumers to switch operators while keeping their old number must include the same reception quality for calls to their number. This is why ARCEP also plans to establish routing obligations for calls to ported numbers:
- operators receiving fixed ported numbers may be required to provide preliminary information allowing the implementation of portability
- fixed and mobile electronic communications operators may be required to guarantee quality of service for routing calls from their networks to ported fixed and mobile numbers
In this public consultation, ARCEP also asks players to express their thoughts on the usefulness in the medium term of putting in place operator identification linked to the fixed number in order to prevent wrongful portability requests, and on the long-term generalisation of "direct routing" for call routing.
Responses to this public on the draft decision must be received by 23 March 2009.