The new mobile number portability process comes into force on Monday 21 May 2007 in Metropolitan France

Paris 16 May 2007

Number portability allows customers to switch operators while keeping their old phone number. This function is a key element in allowing consumers to fully benefit from competition. It must be quick and simple to implement if consumers are to effectively be able to exercise their rights.

The new mobile number conservation system to be launched Monday 21 May 2007 in Metropolitan France

This new system is the concretisation of a process initiated in 2004 as part of a review of the first mobile number portability process set up in June 2003. This process, which was too long and complex, was not a commercial success. Moreover, the length of the cancellation notice period made it impossible to improve the system.

Learning from this situation, Parliament then the Government modified the legislative and regulatory framework governing portability, establishing two major principles:

  • A single contact for customers. The new operator, chosen by the customer, takes charge of all necessary steps: taking out the new contract, making the number portability request, notifying the old operator of the contract cancellation
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  • A maximum period of ten days to cancel the old contract, and effect number portability. Contract termination between the customer and the old operator are concomitant and must take place within ten days, unless otherwise requested by the customer. In practice, this period will be seven days, excluding legal holidays.
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Thanks to this, the customer is no longer required to request contract termination directly from his old operator even when the contract stipulates it and even when special terms are required (i.e. registered mail with acknowledgement of receipt) or within specific time periods (cancellation notice of more than ten days, for example). In the case of simple termination, i.e. without portability, the customer contacts the operator he or she wishes to leave and confirms the request as stipulated by the contract.

Conversely, if the customer is still "committed" to the operator he or she wishes to leave by contractual requirements regarding a minimum contract period; these remain completely valid and may be opposed to the customer in the case of termination of portability. The operator may thus invoice amounts due under these clauses; for example, monthly subscription payments remaining due until the end of the contract term. Therefore, ARCEP invites customers to check whether they are subject to such terms of commitment before planning to switch operator by contacting free of charge the operator’s voice server information service (cf. useful numbers).

A new architecture in the metropolitan market of 50 millions of customers and among 15 mobile operators

In order to revamp the number portability mechanism all the information systems of the 15 Metropolitan mobile operators (three mobile network operators and 12 virtual mobile operators) had to be modernised in depth and a central information system created to be managed by an economic interest grouping "Entité de gestion de la portabilité" ("GIE EGP").

The "Metropolitan mobile number portability" commission, composed of the 15 mobile operators and GIE EGP, and which works under the aegis of ARCEP, confirmed the launch of the new system on 21 May with 12 operators representing more than 99% of Metropolitan mobile customers. The three remaining operators—CGBC Ten, Mobisud, Transatel—announced that they would be ready to initiate the final test phase for the compatibility of their information system with the GIE EGP and other mobile operators in mid June, and on this basis join the new portability system in the summer.

At a time when all players are approaching the critical launch and breaking-in phase of their new technical architecture for this new process, ARCEP congratulates mobile operators and the economic interest grouping "Entité de gestion de la portabilité", for the work done during the past two years so that this new mobile portability process, which has been eagerly anticipated by consumers, can finally see the light of day.

The process to be followed by customers beginning Monday 21 May 2007

1- Buying an offer with portability request

The customer contacts the new operator directly:

- to buy a new offer

- to ask to keep his or her old mobile number

- to authorise the operator to cancel the contract between the customer and the old operator he or she wishes to leave

The minimum time allowed to port the mobile number is seven days. This time may be extended by one to three days in case of legal holidays. The customer may request a porting date beyond this time.

The effective porting of the number results in the automatic cancellation of the contract between the customer and the old operator. The customer is no longer required to cancel the contract with the old operator.

On Monday 21 May 2007, the operators will open voice servers (with the sending of a confirmation SMS) which will inform every consumer of the following at no charge:

  • The operator identity number ("RIO") (unique number which better identifies the object lines of the request). The RIO will be required when a portability request is made
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  • The name of the contract holder. Only the contract holder or a person duly authorised by the holder may request number portability
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  • The existence of any remaining minimum contract requirement. This information will inform the customer of whether any early contract termination charges will have to be paid
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List of phone numbers and web sites from which customers of mobile operator can obtain their operator identity number (RIO):

Keys:

Abonnés grand public = Retail subscribers Businesses (information via invoice and/or customer’s personal web space)

Entreprises diffusion par facture et/ou espace web personnel = Invoice or web space, depending on the customer

(1): information voice server telephone number from which retail customers may obtain their "RIO"

(2): RIO information mode for businesses, invoice and/or customer web space

(*): the information voice server specific to number portability is freely accessible at no charge from the subscribers mobile number without any prior caller authentication

No customers for this information mode

The date of number porting

On the date on which the number will be ported, the subscriber may make and receive calls on the network of the new operator using the old phone number as soon as he or she has switched SIM cards. The maximum service interruption period is four hours.