Numbering Plan

Consumer protection, changing uses and innovation, efficient number management: Arcep launches a consultation on a draft decision amending the national numbering plan

Today Arcep is publishing a draft decision for consultation, whose purpose is to update the framework governing the assignment and use of numbering resources in France. This draft decision includes measures to better protect users against fraud and abuse, to foster innovation and support new uses, as well as improving the management of scarce numbering resources. It also brings changes to multiple numbering plan provisions following the transposition into French Law of the latest European Electronic Communications Code [1].

Encouraging innovation and supporting new uses

Forever mindful of changing uses, Arcep wanted to amend its regulation to embrace innovations and new consumer practices. To take new mobile uses into account, but without creating a dearth of mobile 10-digit numbers, the draft decision being published for consultation contains measures designed to open the way for innovative communication solutions between a mobile subscriber and a “technical platform,” by reserving a new category of numbers starting with 09 for that purpose. These numbers could, for instance, be used to establish text-based conversations between a shop and its customers, or for the very brief use of telephone numbers for one-time contacts via a platform (parcel delivery person, ride-sharing drivers, etc.).

At the same time, and to give subscribers clarity, Arcep is also proposing to reserve the use of mobile numbers starting with 06 or 07 – which in everyone’s mind are attached lastingly to a specific individual – exclusively for interpersonal communication services based on numbering, and so to associate this type of number with operators’ supply of the basic services which are calling and texting. As a result, the non-interpersonal use of these mobile numbers will be switched over to other number categories, such as the new 09 category mentioned above, or to that of longer mobile numbers.

Better protecting users against fraud and abuse

To limit the nuisance that end users experience when receiving unsolicited (spam) calls and messages, in July 2018 and July 2019 Arcep adopted a set of measures on calls originating from abroad that use French numbering plan numbers. These measures are now contained in Article L. 44 of the French Postal and Electronic Communications Code (CPCE).

The Act of 15 November 2021 on reducing the digital environmental footprint in France [2] gives Arcep the power to specify the number categories that can be presented to the recipients of calls or messages generated by automated systems. Arcep is thus consulting with stakeholders on the measures for protecting customers against the many spam calls and texts coming from such systems.

Achieve more efficient number management, to avoid their exhaustion and satisfy French businesses’ growing needs

Requests for numbering resources are soaring, especially in a bid to keep pace with new uses. To support French businesses’ growth, Arcep is proposing a series of measures designed to manage these numbering resources more efficiently, by further streamlining:

  • Resources assigned by the Authority: Arcep is proposing to assign new numbering resources with a minimum granularity of 1,000 numbers instead of the existing 10,000 numbers;
  • Number management: Arcep is proposing that the numbers assigned to French users be assigned for a minimum 12-hour period, and that the period during which an operator may not reassign the number to another end user be reduced to between 45 and 90 days (instead of the current three to six months).

Arcep invites all of the concerned stakeholders (operators, consumer associations, publishers, consumers) to comment on this draft decision, either directly or through their representatives. The deadline for receiving contributions is 18 February 2022.

To find out more:

“Numbering” – Core issues on the Arcep website: main texts, history of Arcep decisions, number portability and directory services…

Associated documents:

The public consultation

The latest Arcep decision on the numbering plan, following the Conseil d’Etat nullification on 12 February 2021




[1] Directive (EU) 2018/1972 of the European Parliament and Council, of 11 December 2018 establishing the European Electronic Communications Code

[2] Article 24 of Act No. 2021-1485 of 15 November 2021