Paris, 22 December 2004
Number portability lets customers of telephone services switch operators while keeping the same telephone number.
On 30 June 2003, one year after the launch of portability, Autorité de régulation des télécommunications (ART) decided to review the implementation of mobile number portability (MNP) in Metropolitan France, in order to identify desirable changes and take necessary measures. With this aim it launched a public consultation.
- Summary of the public consultation
ART received 14 responses to its public consultation and is making the consultation summary public today. Contributions were received from operators, consumer associations, distributors and service publishers.
The responses strengthened ART’s conviction that a portability mechanism is needed which offers customers greater flexibility.
The objectives are to evolve the customer process towards a one-stop shop and, on a technical level, to directly route traffic to ported numbers.
ART is aware that these changes will require significant investments by mobile operators as well as in-depth discussions between market players and consumer associations.
In the short term, i.e. during 2005, ART will focus on the changes mentioned in the consultation that players felt were most relevant, in terms of technical constraints and the benefits expected for customers, consumers, business and public entities.
- ART’s decision subsequent to the public consultation: changes to be implemented in 2005
I. Elimination of the ineligibility clause based on invoicing disputes
Ineligibility based on invoicing disputes allowed operators to refuse a porting request made by a customer if the customer had outstanding payments at the time of the request.
ART considers portability to be a customer’s right. Therefore it cannot be subordinate to the payment of invoices, which falls under other laws and jurisdictions. Moreover, ART notes that this clause has caused problems for companies and public entities making porting requests for large groups of numbers. As a result, the ineligibility clause can no longer be used to oppose a porting request.
II. A single porting request for companies and public entities
The current MNP process requires a separate porting request for each number, which is cumbersome for large group of numbers (used by companies and public entities). The change desired by ART would allow this type of customer to use a single porting request for a series of lines covered by the same contract.
ART and operators have agreed to implement this change by end October 2005.
III. Reduction of contract termination and porting periods for post-paid offers
In order to be effective, the reduction in the porting period proposed by ART would have to include a reduction in the contract termination period with operators.
ART wishes to see these periods quickly reduced to less than one month. At this point, operators have responded unfavourably to this request.
Still, ART recognises the efforts made by operators: SFR and Bouygues Telecom have reduced their termination periods to exactly two months, whereas Orange France has maintained its current period of one and a half months on average (the shortest on the market).
IV. Reduction in porting times for prepaid offers
ART requests that the porting period be reduced for prepaid customers, from the current period of two months to one month.
This change will be implemented in the first quarter of 2005 for most offers.
V. Call termination pricing for routing SMS to ported numbers
ART reiterates that MNP must not hinder the routing of traffic (including SMS) to ported numbers. As a minimum, mobile operators must not bill other players for any surcharges resulting from inefficiencies of the current technical scheme.
In particular, undelivered SMS sent to a ported number must not be billed.