Paris, 13 August 2003
Since February 2003, an ad hoc working group created by ART and composed of operators and service providers, has been meeting to examine the means of developing competition on the directory enquiry services market, by sharing the digit "12", the "historic" generic number providing access to directory enquiry services.
Although some players favour the use of a single access digit such as "118XY", a consensus was reached on the interest of instituting a mechanism to share the digit "12", through pre-selection, from France Telecom. This mechanism will allow each pre-selection operator to choose an information service for its pre-selected clients, if they wish.
For pre-selected clients of an operator having opted for this sharing system, calls to the digit "12" will automatically be routed to this operator's directory enquiry services. These clients will obviously be able to access the directory enquiry services of their choice (including that of France Telecom), using a short number for the service in question.
Given the history of this number, ART feels that sharing the digit "12" must necessarily give access, at a reasonable price, to "basic" directory enquiry services, using data from the universal directory. This basic service could be enriched with value-added services, whose conditions of access-and primarily pricing-will have to be clearly explained to users.
In early August, ART launched a consultation of operators and consumer associations on this subject.