5. Measures specific to new mobile uses

5. Measures specific to new mobile uses

5.1 Explicit authorization to send SMS and MMS to and from fixed numbers

5.1.1 measures

1.8.2018: ARCEP decision #18-0881 no longer limits the use of geographic, non-geographic numbers, free-of-charge and standard rate short numbers and special numbers to voice services only, but explicitly mentions SMS / MMS messaging services.

The ARCEP decision states that it is not a matter of imposing on carriers using geographical, non-geographical, short tariff free and special numbers with free or standard tariffs the provision of an SMS / MMS messaging service for users who use such numbers. but to allow them to offer such a service, if they wish, and to negotiate SMS / MMS interconnection agreements for these numbers with operators, including mobile ones, whose users already have a messaging service by SMS / MMS.

Although fixed SMS solutions have not met with the expected success in the past, ARCEP estimate that this measure will allow innovative players to propose new solutions potentially adapted to specific market segments, in order to enable them to exchange messages. SMS / MMS with other users by keeping their current fixed number, instead of subscribing to a mobile offer and having to broadcast a new number.

For all intents and purposes, ARCEP remembers everyone that the provisions governing the management of automated SMS / MMS call and sending systems apply also for sending SMS / MMS messages to these numbers.

5.1.2 Main implications

Fixed numbers can be used from widely different access types : PSTN with analog terminals, PSTN or ISDN with digital terminals (eg DECT), SIP trunks. This heterogeneity makes it very difficult to introduce new services, which are understandable by some terminals and not by others. It would be possible to develop directories (according to the eNum standard for example) that indicate in real time the profile of services supported by each number, but French operators have not taken action in this way. Some mobile operators have developed default systems that convert SMS to fixed numbers into voice messages. It is clear that mobile operators will have to develop differentiated routing of SMS and MMS according to the capacity of the terminals attached to each number. It would be regrettable if these operators did not pool the functional capabilities attached to each fixed number within a common database.

ARCEP suggests that the first uses of fixed SMS and MMS will concern customer support centres, in dialogue with mobile terminals. There is an opportunity there that all providers of customer relationship solutions should seek to grasp.

5.2 Secondary mobile numbers

5.2.1 Measures

1.8.2018: Third party mobile number authorization for VoIP services on mobile phones

In order to allow users to receive their personal and business calls on the same telephone or to have temporary numbers, ARCEP decision #18-0881 extends the conditions for the use of mobile numbers in order to allow end-users to use additional mobile numbers, called “secondary” numbers, on their mobile access in addition to the “main” number assigned to access mobile operator who provides this mobile access. This “secondary” number may be provided by an operator other than the one providing mobile access to the end user but may be used to send or receive calls or SMS / MMS messages only from an access mobile, for example via the use of a VoIP software (also called “softphone”) installed on a mobile phone.

5.2.2 Implications

ARCEP by this measure breaks the monopoly of mobile operators (including MVNOs) on voice over mobile numbers. ARCEP offers an opportunity for over-the-top VoIP providers to access the mobile dial plan without being obliged to use it.

Together with the previous measure (SMS on fixed numbers), this measure allowing for secondary mobile numbers is one of the few measures opening new possibilities in a decision which mostly restricts many possibilities in order to prevent abuse.

5.3 Removal of territorial conditions on extended mobile numbers

5.3.1 Measure

1.8.2018: Decision removes any territoriality restrictions on the Extended Mobile Number Assignee. The only remaining requirement for these numbers is to locate the relevant point of interconnection offered to other operators to route calls (SMS or MMS calls) to these numbers in the territory corresponding to their country code.

5.3.2 Main implications

Extended-length mobile numbers are typically used in vehicles or other items marketed and used well beyond the national territory. This measure is therefore common sense.