17 Sep 2 Value Added Service numbers and other service numbers
2.1 Location of residence of VAS clients
1.8.2018: Premium rate numbers may only be assigned to customers residing in the EEA or EFTA.
1.8.2018: Toll-free numbers can be assigned to customers regardless of where they are registered.
2.1.2 Main implications
The prohibition to allocate premium-rate numbers to non-European residents requires premium-rate service operators to make an immediate inventory of those of their customers who are in this situation and to offer them under a very short deadline to set up a permanent establishment in a European country or to have their numbers cancelled. The publication of the premium-rate service reverse directory (infosva.org) makes this situation immediately visible, in particular by DGCCRF, the Fraud Office, which will carry out checks and inflict penalties in the event of improper filling of the data appearing in the premium-rate service reverse directory.
2.2 Accessibility of all Value Added Services from the French Overseas Départements
1.8.2018: SVA numbers must be accessible from the entire national territory (including overseas départements and territories administered by ARCEP).
2.2.2 Main implications
SVA operators will be required by their transit operator, including Orange Wholesale France, to collect calls from overseas départements and territories managed by ARCEP. Those who have not yet done so will have to implement transit costs specific to these call originations.
2.3 Prohibition of the pooling of services accessible by the same VAS number
1.8.2018: Prohibition of the sharing of VAS numbers between several services
- In particular with regard to the consumer protection objective provided for in Article L. 32-1 of the Code of Posts and of Electronic Communications, and
- In order to facilitate the identification by the competent authorities of authors of fraud or abuse based on the use of premium-rate numbers and
- To be able to suspend the numbers concerned without impacting the other services provided via these same numbers,
it is appropriate to provide that each premium rate number may be exclusively and permanently assigned only to a single legal or physical person and for a single service.
1.8.2018: ARCEP entrusts ACPR (Agence de Contrôle Prudentiel et de Résolution, the financial service regulator) with the task of determining how to use Premium-Rate services outside the telecom exception provided by the PSD2 (Payment Service Directive #2)
In the event that an operator wishes to let special and short numbers with premium rates offer uses other than those expressly mentioned in I of Article L. 521-3-1 of the Monetary and Financial Code, accessible from his network to his end-users, it will be up to this operator to contact the French Authority for Prudential Supervision and Resolution (ACPR) to confirm whether, with regard to the service concerned, it must obtain the expected approval.
2.3.2 Main implications
ARCEP crosses the t’s and dots the i’s concerning the prohibition of the mutualisation of a VAS number between several services. This will raise the question of how the service is defined. According to DGCCRF (the Fraud Office), an access-code-issuing number must only give access to the digital contents of a single publisher. It would be appropriate for ACPR, as ARCEP invites them to, to quickly confirm the DGCCRF’s point of view.
2.4 Affirmation of the marginal nature of the use by an operator of numbering resources for own purposes
1.8.2018: The use of numbering resources (excluding 118XYZ – DQ – and 10YT – Operator Assistance numbers) by an operator for its own needs (as opposed to those of its customers) must remain marginal.
2.4.2 Main implications
This measure, which applies to virtually all numbers, originates from a phenomenon encountered primarily in value-added services. Many publishers have chosen to become operators to have their own numbers. ARCEP recalls the exceptional nature of this dual status. While the adoption by resellers of the status of operator puts them in legality, the fact for a simple publisher of services to become operator is considered by ARCEP as a distortion of the status of operator.
2.5 Accounting for convictions in the allocation of resources
1.8.2018: ARCEP intends to take into account as an award criterion, when examining applications for the allocation or renewal of resources in numbers, the final convictions and the administrative penalties of which the where applicable, has been the subject, for less than five years, of the applicant operator and its managers for acts of fraud or unfair commercial practices relating to the use of numbering resources likely to justify refusal of the application allocation.
2.5.2 Main implications
Such a measure, applicable to all types of numbers, has its origins in the abuses in value-added services. The public nature or otherwise of the fines imposed by the DGCCRF on VAS may therefore play a determining role in the subsequent obtaining of new VAS numbers, by certain VAS operators or by companies newly created by their directors.
2.6 Pricing of 118XYZ directory query services
1.8.2021: Submission, as of August 1, 2021, of the 118XYZ numbers to the general VAS rate pricing system: Thus, this decision provides that, as of August 1, 2021, the telephone information numbers having chosen a ” premium rate “must comply with the following tariff ceilings:
|Number format||« C » component rate||« S » component rate|
|Per second billing||Per call billing|
|118 XYZ||Banalisé||S ≤ €0.80 per minute incl. VAT||S ≤ €3.00 per call incl. VAT|
In addition, as with other special and short numbers, directory query numbers will now have to choose a billing mode, either on a per-minute basis, with no call setup charge or with a set-up charge without a per-minute component.
2.6.2 Main implications
The operators of directory query services accessible via a 118XYZ number enjoy a freedom of tariff setting for three more years, followed by a brutal return to the general pricing regime of Premium Rate Services on August 1, 2021. ARCEP has therefore chosen the “cliff edge” rather than a glide-path tariff evolution. For most operators of 118XYZ numbers, this will represent a drop of 75 to 80% of their revenue overnight. ARCEP claims to have left telephone operators three years to adapt to the common tariff rule applicable to other value-added services, but the brutality of the price fall makes adaptation particularly difficult. It is likely that these services will survive only at the cost of near total automation, which means reaching a particularly high level of performance in voice recognition of the voice of unknown speakers.
2.7 Onward connection services through dynamic numbers: opt-in requested
Premium-rate numbers may not be assigned to a natural or legal person, even temporarily, to call this person without having first explicitly and explicitly obtained the consent of this person to be reached by such a number.
2.7.2 Main implications
Onward connection services offer the answer to the search, from a website, for the telephone number of a professional by allocating a premium-rate number dedicated, for a few minutes, to the request, by a particular user, of the number of a given professional. By calling this number in the minutes following his/her request on the web, the user is connected to the professional in question. Some professionals having protested against being reachable by a premium rate number while this was not their choice, ARCEP had in 2012, with a one-year notice period, already imposed that the professional gives his/her prior and explicit consent. At the end of this notice period, in 2013, the SVA+ trade association had managed to convince ARCEP to tolerate an opt-out mechanism for professionals who did not want to be reached via onward connection services, instead of the opt-in mechanism mandated by the Decision. ARCEP decision 18-881 incorporates the terms of the 2012 decision, with no adjustment period for actors. There are two possibilities for onward connection service publishers: to obtain the opt-in from professionals or particularize each request in another way.
2.8 Special deadlines for the allocation of 11X general interest numbers
1.1.2019: As of January 1, 2019, applications for the assignment of General Interest Numbers 11X must be submitted one year and four months in advance. No freeze period applies after return or withdrawal of the resource.
2.8.2 Main implications
Only four numbers of this type are available (110,111, 113 and 117). In view of the delays in cabling numbers by operators, public bidding organizations will have to plan their annual campaigns at least 18 months in advance. Campaigns involving the use of a general interest number 11X may last up to 7 days.