Paris, 10 June 2005
The purpose of portability is to allow clients to switch operators without having to change their telephone number. As indicated by ARCEP in opinion 05-0197 dated 22 March 2005 which it has submitted to the Minister Delegate for Industry, this feature is becoming increasingly important in competition on the French market in its current state.
This is a recent but growing development in fixed telephony, because of unbundling and alternative telephony offers on cable networks. In mobile telephony, the entry of MVNOs on the market also leads to the same need for a simple and rapid portability mechanism. Moreover, portability’s technical architecture will have to be modernised because of expected growth in the number of ported numbers and the development of new multimedia uses.
This is why ARCEP felt it necessary to review portability in its entirety.
ARCEP launched works with sector players today
Fixed and mobile number portability will likely follow a common logic. This is why ARCEP will ensure that the two processes are coherent.
Still, the implementation timetables for changes will not be the same for fixed and mobile given the degree of advancement of works already initiated in mobile portability.
- Mobile Number Portability (MNP):
ARCEP reviewed mobile number portability one year following its July 2003 launch in Metropolitan France. This review showed that while portability was a technical success, it was a commercial failure.
Following a discussion phase, operators implemented short-term changes such as a reduction of termination periods, multi-line porting for businesses, the elimination of the ineligibility clause for overdue payments and a reduction of the porting period to one month for pre-paid plans.
For the longer term, a one-stop process was put in place to allow direct traffic routing through the use of a centralised routing data base ("target solution").
Works will begin in June 2005 with mobile operators and MVNOs. They should initially lead to a draft decision which, following a public consultation in October, will be submitted to the Minister for approval.
In overseas départements, MNP was launched in Reunion on 31 March and work is underway in Antilles-Guyana.
- Fixed Number Portability:
To date, no complete review has been performed for fixed telephony.
For this reason, ARCEP will launch a discussion process with players in July. After that, a public consultation will be held to examine fixed number portability in Metropolitan France, as has been done for mobile numbers.
Practical information on the "target solution" and on related works will soon be available on ARCEP’s web site