New number sub-allocation rules in France – what do they mean?

by Herve Andrieu | | 4 mins read

If you’re currently providing telephony services in France, then ARCEP’s new regulations, first defined in decision n° 2018-0881 and updated in decision 2022-1583, affects you and the services you provide to your customers. These updates to the French numbering plan, which comes into effect in January 2023, aims to protect end users from spam, fraud, and abuse, optimize numbering resources, and ensure geographical numbers are allocated appropriately. 

What does this regulation mean for solution providers? 

Currently, communication and software solution providers who have been allocated with numbers can resell them to other companies for further use, such as reselling them to contact centres. Under the new numbering regulations, the reselling will no longer be possible. The new regulations require that the company that received the numbers from the regulator be in a direct relationship with the end-user of the numbers. 

This comes with further restrictions on:  

  • The amount of numbers that can be ordered at one shot. Given the relative scarcity of phone numbers, the regulator has decreased the minimum quantity of numbers assigned to telecom operators from 10,000 to 1,000.
  • Geographical numbers (01-05) are not region-specific anymore, which means that a person with an address anywhere in France can receive a number from any of these prefixes.
  • 06 and 07 cloud communications mobile numbers (long codes) will be reserved exclusively for use as secondary mobile numbers. They will require a proof of French residency, a proof of ownership of another French mobile number (linked to an actual SIM card), and the calls can only be delivered to a mobile device. For any other application a new range of SMS-enabled 09 numbers will be launched. This distinction will help consumers identify who is calling them.
  • Any form of automated dialing will require the use of specific number ranges. The numbers assigned for automated dialing are designated as multi-purpose verified numbers (numéros polyvalents vérifiés) and will exist in 01, 02, 03, 04, 05, and 09 ranges.

What steps do you need to take to ensure business continuity in France?  

If you are purchasing numbers for your company’s internal use, such as a customer support line, there is nothing for you to do. 

If you are reselling (sub-allocating) numbers to your customers, geographic numbers assigned before December 31, 2022 will remain compliant. However, any other number will require you to modify your processes in order to remain compliant. 

The best way to do so is to become a licensed carrier in France by registering with ARCEP and applying for your own number ranges which will be assigned by the National Regulatory Authority (NRA).  

Once you receive your ARCEP certificate with the confirmation of number allocation, BICS can host your number ranges. Our expert teams will take it over and guide you through the process so that you can stay compliant while continuing to deliver uninterrupted services to your customers.  

If you don’t want to get your number ranges from ARCEP, another option is to create a direct relationship between your end-user and BICS, through our tri-party contractual agreement. 

What are the benefits of hosting your numbers with BICS in France and beyond? 

BICS Global Hosting solution helps enterprises easily navigate this regulatory update and enables them to continue to do business in France by offering communications services to their subscribers in France. 

In essence, the key benefits are: 

  • Secure your business growth: Number sub-allocation will be prohibited in France starting from January 2023. Continue expanding your business and provide new services to your customers in France by implementing a regulatory compliant framework.
  • Expand your coverage: Our roadmap currently includes Belgium, Ireland, the Netherlands, UK, and we will continue adding countries to our Global Hosting solution as the regulation evolves.
  • Outsource telecoms complexity: With 20+ years of expertise in telecommunications and a fully-owned network interconnected with thousands of in-country operators around the world, BICS takes over the complex technical set up, with an:
    • Expert team in place to take care of the broadcast and technical implementation. While the process of implementation will directly reflect your business needs, we ensure your business can continue to operate as before and optimize the new setup.
    • Porting team ensures you can port-in numbers onto your own porting code without worrying about any of the technical requirements.
    • Intuitive number management platform. Continue managing existing or newly acquired numbers through our MyNumbers portal. This will include stock, number provisioning and customer assignment, porting, and emergency services

Get in touch with us today to receive the most up to date advice and compliant solutions on the regulatory landscape.