ART opens a new series of numbers allowing competition on France Telecom's "Azur" and "Indigo" numbers and "Audiotel" services

5 January 1999

In its decision dated 23 December 1998, following the public consultation held in the summer 1998, Autorité de Regulation des Télécommunications (ART) opens a new series of non-geographic telephone numbers, beginning with the digits "08".

This decision will allow the development of new offers on the added-value voice services market. This market is expected to grow strongly in France, as it has in some other countries.

There are two objectives:

- to provide telecommunications operators with numbering resources under quantitative and qualitative conditions which favour the development of innovative offers and of competition

- to ensure greater offer clarity for the consumer, especially with respect to pricing, and thereby to encourage their use, especially on the residential market

The first three or four digits of telephone numbers will be linked to a category of services or to a maximum price per minute.

Thus, the series of services accessible by numbers beginning with 080 will eventually be free. This means that the current series used by France Telecom for its "azur" (0801), "indigo" (0802 and 0803) numbers, where the cost of the call is shared by the caller and the person called, will have to be abandoned.

Services allowing access to information services ("Audiotel") will be accessed via numbers beginning with 089.

Transition measures will accompany this change over a period of three years, in order to migrate old number series to the new ones.

ART emphasises that efforts for transparency with respect to consumers must not be restricted to the clarity offered by the access number, but that rules of professional conduct should also be included in these initial efforts. In particular, ART recommends that, beyond a certain level, the caller be informed of the price of the service via a free voice message at the beginning of the call.

Numbering resource application files can be submitted to ART starting 28 January 1999.

Linked documents

 Decisions no. 98-1046 (pdf - 32 Ko)  (regarding changes to the numbering plan for non-geographic numbers with the format 08ABPQMCDU),  no. 98-1047 (pdf - 19.97 Ko)  (dedicating access numbers to virtual private network services and regarding the format of their corresponding calls) and  no. 98-1054 (pdf - 26 Ko)  (modifying decision no. 98-75 dated 3 February 1998 approving the management rules of the national numbering plan)