Fixed telephony

Number Portability

Arcep launches a second public consultation to facilitate both fixed and mobile number portability, for consumers and businesses alike


Users in France cherish the ability to keep their phone number when switching operators: in 2021, more than 3 million fixed subscribers and more than 7 million mobile subscribers chose to keep their number when changing operators. Essential to safeguarding market liquidity, number portability is governed by two Arcep decisions: one regarding fixed numbers[1] and the other regarding mobile numbers[2].

Mindful of the feedback it received, Arcep fine tunes its plans to updated the current framework to factor in the particularities of business markets

Drawing on the many reports logged on the “J’alerte l’Arcep” platform by users who had experienced issues when porting their number, Arcep held an initial public consultation on its Draft Decision to update the methods for implementing fixed, mobile and value-added service number[3] portability, with the particular goals of:

  • improving existing processes;
  • simplifying portability processes and reducing turnaround time for consumers;
  • streamlining number portability in the business market and the value-added services market, to increase competition;
  • unifying inter-operator processes.

During this consultation, most of the stakeholders drew the Authority’s attention to the need to consider the particularities of the business market, notably with respect to number classification (geographic, multi-purpose or mobile) and the type of telephony product (number groups with one main line or independent numbers). They also stressed the need to increase the security of operator identity statement (“RIO”) recovery mechanisms, to prevent the easier access to “RIO”, proposed in the draft document, from leading to increased fraud seeking to hijack customers’ numbers.

Widespread use of “RIO” and a more secure recovery mechanism

To take these remarks fully into account, in this new consultation Arcep proposes a timeline for the progressively widespread enforcement of the obligation to use “RIO” operator identity statements for all telephone numbers, along with proposals for making the process of recovering these identity statements more secure.

Arcep invites all of the affected stakeholders (operators, consumer associations, service providers, concerned citizens) to comment on this Decision. The deadline for receiving contributions is 11 July 2022.

What is an RIO?

The operator identity statement, or RIO (relevé d’identité opérateur) is a unique identifier assigned to each telephone number. Subscribers must recover their RIO from their old operator and transmit it to their new operator when switching service providers. This helps secure the number portability process.

Associated documents:

 


[1] Arcep Decision No. 2013-0830 of 25 June 2013

[2] Arcep Decision No. 2013-0830 of 25 June 2013

[3] Arcep press release of 28 June 2021