Oftel logo Layout image Contact Oftel What's new Publications Consumer Information Industry Information Industry Groups Useful Links Press About Oftel
Layout image
  Oftel Publications Numbering
Layout image
Layout image Layout image Layout image Layout image Layout image Layout image Layout image Layout image
Layout image Layout image Layout image Layout image

NUMBERING DIRECTIVE: NUMBER PORTABILITY REQUIREMENTS

Layout image
Layout image Layout image Layout image Layout image
Layout image Layout image Layout image Layout image Layout image Layout image
Layout image Layout image Layout image

A statement issued by Oftel

January 2000

Contents

Summary

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Annex A Summary of Responses and Oftel views

Annex B Issues surrounding Number Portability

Annex C Implementing Regulations

Annex D Licence Modification

Annex E Glossary


Summary

This Statement sets out the conclusions from the October 1999 Oftel and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) public consultation on the draft implementing legislation (Regulations and licence modification) for the number portability requirements for fixed numbers of Directive 98/61/EC, the Numbering Directive. It also sets out how Oftel intends to enforce the implementing legislation. The Numbering Directive amended Directive 97/33 EC (the Interconnection Directive).

What the Directive Does

Number portability for fixed services has been available in the United Kingdom for a number of years where telephone companies have chosen to provide it. The Directive and implementing legislation make an important change in that it allows customers taken on by telephone companies to require them to provide number portability.

The implementing legislation requires that subscribers or customers should be able, if they wish, to keep their telephone numbers when they change the operator providing their fixed telecommunications services ie telephone services using geographic numbers (ordinary telephone numbers of subscribers at a fixed geographic location) eg numbers beginning (01 or 02) and services using non geographic numbers eg freephone numbers (080), local and national rate numbers (0845 and 0870), personal numbers (070) and premium rate numbers (090). Only those customers that remain at the same address will be able to change operator and keep their geographic number under this new portability regime (some telephone companies may, on a voluntary basis, provide a service to allow customers to change operator and address at the same time). Mobile and paging numbers are not covered by the implementing legislation. Numbers for mobile services are however, already portable between mobile operators in the United Kingdom.

Responses to Consultation

There was general support for the Oftel and DTI position set out in the consultation document from BT and more guarded support from one or two other larger operators. There was strong support from some Advisory Committees and other bodies representing consumer interests. Many operators sought to limit the situations where operators are expected to have a portability facility in place, particularly for non geographic numbers. There was a general concern that a requirement to provide number portability for non geographic numbers may act as an entry barrier to new entrants and be over burdensome for existing smaller players. Apart from BT and some consumer groups there was some lack of understanding that the Directive confers rights on consumers to require number portability of any company that takes them on.

The consultation document stated that Oftel would regard the Directive as requiring that, where operators market or offer their services, they would have to have a portability facility in place. While falling well short of requiring all operators to have a portability facility in place with all other operators, Oftel recognised that this was a substantial requirement. Operators, particularly those offering non geographic services, felt that this would still require them to negotiate a significant number of portability arrangements in advance against the prospect that they might take on a customer from another operator. They argued that this was disproportionate and went beyond the obligations in the Directive.

In light of consultation Oftel’s view is that there should be few problems in providing number portability for geographic numbers: operators know the other companies providing geographic services in the area (usually BT). For non geographic numbers, many more operators are providing services so any requirement to put portability facilities in place with all operators providing such services in advance of customer requests for number portability would be significant.

Having carefully considered all the responses to the consultation document Oftel has come to the view that telephone companies marketing or offering services should at this stage proactively seek to put portability facilities in place with other telephone companies but that a portability facility must be in place when they contract with a customer. In order to meet this obligation operators and service providers will need to have made all appropriate arrangements to establish a portability facility with those companies involved eg the customer’s existing telephone company, by the time they contract with a customer. In such circumstances the provision of number portability after a contract is agreed should not significantly add to the time it would normally take to provide a service where number portability was not requested.

Implementation

The implementing legislation was laid before Parliament on 29 December 1999 and came into force on 19 January 2000.

There was one small amendment to the draft licence condition to reinstate a clause to allow operators to request a Determination as to the reasonableness of a request for portability, taking account of particular technical and operational characteristics of the relevant systems. Oftel expects all operators to be able to provide portability to another operator so is only likely to grant a determination that portability should not be provided where exceptional technical or operational problems exist eg with a particular exchange or switch. In the event of such a determination being granted it is likely be provided on a temporary basis only. The reinstatement of the licence clause will make it more transparent that operators can seek Oftel guidance where exceptional unforeseen problems arise. This clause does not negate the absolute obligation to provide number portability to any customer taken on by an operator who requests it. If there is no portability facility in place the operator or service provider cannot contract with a customer to provide a service.

Telephone companies that operate under a Telecommunications Act licence and who provide fixed telephone services to the public will be in breach of their licence if they do not comply with the number portability requirements set out in the implementing legislation (see Annex D). Other telephone companies ie those not running a telecommunications system (systemless service providers) and therefore not licensed under the Telecommunications Act, will be liable to enforcement action through civil proceedings by the Director General of Telecommunications if they do not comply with the portability obligations set out in the implementing Regulations (see Annex C).

For the avoidance of doubt it remains the Oftel and DTI position that the Directive requires that operators and service providers cannot take on a customer and refuse to provide them with number portability. This is reflected in the implementing legislation.

Oftel intends to monitor closely the implementation of these provisions. Customers are given important new rights by the implementing legislation and operators and service providers must have portability arrangements in place to allow them to exercise these rights. If operators and service providers are using delays in establishing porting arrangements to seek to persuade customers to transfer without porting, Oftel will take appropriate action. Oftel will review the progress in making number portability available in six months time.

Operators and service providers may, if they wish, set a reasonable charge for the provision of number portability to subscribers.

contents


Chapter 1

Background

1.1 In October 1999 Oftel and DTI issued a consultation document setting out the draft legislation that they considered necessary to implement the number portability requirements in the Numbering Directive (98/61/EC). This Statement sets outs the conclusions from the consultation exercise, the final version of the implementing legislation and how Oftel intends to enforce the new legislation. The implementing legislation consists of Regulations to set out the Directive’s requirements in UK law and to ensure those operators that do not operate under a Telecommunications Act licence comply with the number portability requirements contained in the Directive. The implementing legislation also contains a modified licence condition to make the existing fixed number portability condition contained in telephone operators’ licences consistent with the Directive.

What is Number Portability?

1.2 Number portability is a facility provided by telecommunications operators which enables customers to keep their telephone numbers when they change their operator.

1.3 Number portability is a key issue in the development of network competition. There is clear evidence that customers are reluctant to consider changing their network operator if it means that they have to change their phone number. Changing telephone numbers can be a major inconvenience for customers and a barrier which prevents them from exercising choice and taking advantage of growing competition in telecoms services. The absence of number portability therefore gives the incumbent network operator a significant competitive advantage.

Current Number Portability Arrangements

1.4 The United Kingdom has been at the forefront of the provision of number portability. Operators began offering numbering portability for geographic services (ordinary telephone numbers of customers located at specific geographic locations) in 1996 and for other fixed services in 1997. Number portability for mobile services became available in January 1999.

1.5 Number portability is currently provided between operators on a reciprocal basis. Where operators have decided to provide number portability their customers can benefit from this arrangement. However operators are not currently required to provide number portability to their customers. The Numbering Directive changes this position to enable customers taken on by a new operator to require the operator to provide number portability. This requirement applies to numbers for fixed services only.

The Implementing Legislation

1.6 The implementing legislation was laid before Parliament on 29 December 1999 and came into force on 19 January 2000. The implementing legislation will apply to all operators or service providers who provide fixed telecommunication services to the public using telephone numbers.

1.7 This means that all companies that provide telecoms services must allow customers whom they take on to keep their existing telephone number. Whenever the telecoms company intends to provide a customer with the required service it must be able to do so using the customer’s existing telephone number or numbers. This requirement applies where the customer wishes to keep his number and has signed a contract with the chosen company.

1.8 While some telephone companies might, under certain circumstances, be able to provide a facility to allow customers to keep their geographic numbers (ordinary telephone numbers of subscribers at a fixed geographic location eg numbers beginning 01 or 02), when they change their operator and address at the same time, the requirements of the Directive only apply to geographic numbers where the customer changes operator but remains at the same address. Telephone companies are still free, on a voluntary basis, to provide a service to allow customers to change their address and operator and retain their geographic number, referred to as mobility, if they want to. A more detailed description of number mobility can be found in Annex B. Number portability will be available for fixed non geographic numbers (see paragraph 1.10 below) where customers change both their operator and address.

1.9 The proposed new licence condition will be placed in those licences which authorise the running of fixed public telephone systems or the provision of fixed services to the public or both. The requirements of the Directive will also apply, using freestanding Regulations (see Annex C), to service providers that do not run a network or system of any sort – the so-called systemless service providers (examples of systemless service providers are those that resell the network services of a network operator eg NextCall).

Types of Numbers Covered

1.10 The Directive states " that subscribers who so request can retain their numbers on the fixed public telephone network… independent of the organisation providing services…". Oftel and DTI consider that all numbers for services predominantly provided over the fixed network are required to be portable : geographic numbers (ordinary telephone numbers of subscribers at a fixed geographic location eg number beginning 01 or 02) and non geographic numbers which include freephone numbers (080) local and national rate numbers (0845 and 0870), personal service numbers (070) and premium rate service numbers (090). Numbers for mobile (077, 078 and 079) and paging services (076) as ‘mobile’ services are not within the remit of the Directive.

Main Responses to Consultation Document and Oftel Views

1.11 Annex A sets out the issues raised in consultation and Oftel’s responses to them. The main issues were the obligation to provide portability and number portability, and the timing for the provision of number portability to customers.

Obligation to Provide Portability and Number Portability

1.12 There was strong support for the Directive’s requirements to give customers rights to require any company that takes them on to provide number portability from consumer groups and bodies representing consumer interests and a few operators.

1.13 The consultation document stated that Oftel would regard the Directive as requiring that, where operators market or offer their services, they would have to have a portability facility in place. While falling well short of requiring all operators to have a portability facility in place with all other operators, Oftel recognised that this was a substantial requirement. A number of operators considered that Oftel’s position would still require them to negotiate a significant number of portability arrangements in advance against the prospect that they might take on a customer from another operator. They argued that this was disproportionate and went beyond the obligations in the Directive. These operators also argued that Oftel’s position would lead to significant additional costs being borne by operators in certain markets, notably the non-geographic services market (that is the market for freephone, local and national rate and premium rate services).

1.14 In light of consultation Oftel’s view is that there should be few problems in providing number portability for geographic numbers: operators know the other companies providing geographic services in the area (usually BT). For non geographic numbers, many more operators are providing services making any requirement to put portability facilities in place with all operators providing such services in advance of customer requests for number portability significant.

1.15 Having carefully considered all the responses to the consultation document Oftel has come to the view that telephone companies marketing or offering services should at this stage proactively seek to put portability facilities in place with other telephone companies but that a portability facility must be in place when they contract with a customer. This is a clearer statement of companies’ obligations than proposed in the consultation document. In order to meet this obligation operators and service providers will need to have made all appropriate arrangements to establish a portability facility with those companies involved eg the customer’s existing telephone company, by the time they contract with a customer.

1.16 This position will allow operators to deploy resources where number portability will be required but still allow any customer taken on by a telephone company to require the operator or service provider to provide them with number portability. It also recognises the fact that most telephone companies in the United Kingdom are not required by their licence to take on new customers.

1.17 For the avoidance of doubt it remains the Oftel and DTI position that the Directive requires that operators and service providers cannot take on a customer and refuse to provide them with number portability. This is reflected in the implementing legislation.

Provision of Number Portability – Timing

1.18 Some operators raised concerns that the time frame quoted for providing number portability for a basic service might lead to customer confusion.

1.19 The consultation document referred to a 5 - 8 working day timeframe for providing number portability for a basic service. The intention behind the reference to this timeframe for the provision of number portability was to inform customers that did not have a detailed knowledge of industry portability time scales how long number portability for a basic service should take eg single line single number service, where a portability facility has already been put in place. Oftel considers that the timeframe referred to is appropriate.

1.20 Oftel understands that more complex service provision such as the provision of a complicated Direct Dial In (DDI) service will take longer to provide. Commensurate with the longer service provision timesacles Oftel acknowledges that for more complex porting arrangements number portability will take longer to provide eg where the porting of numbers for a complicated DDI service is involved it could take 22 working days to provide. In any case Oftel expects that operators will give customers a connection date that will take into account the time it takes to provide the service and the time to provide number portability. So timing for the provision of number portability should not be an issue where operators have put portability facility in place. As set out above a portability facility must be in place where operators or service providers contract with a new customer. In such circumstances the provision of number portability should not significantly add to the time it would normally take to provide a service where number portability was not requested.

1.21 In order to meet this obligation operators and service providers have to have made all appropriate arrangements to establish a portability facility with those companies involved eg the customer’s existing telephone company, by the time they contract with a customer.

Compliance

1.22 Licensed operators that do not comply with the requirements set out in the implementing legislation will be in breach of their operating licence. Systemless service providers that do not comply will be liable to enforcement action through civil proceedings by the Director General of Telecommunications.

1.23 Oftel will consider that any telephone company that refused to accept a new customer solely on the grounds that the customer wanted to keep his number might be considered to be deliberately frustrating the aims of the Directive and implementing legislation. Such behaviour may therefore lead to enforcement action. Given that there could be a number of legitimate reasons for refusing a customer Oftel will consider the relevant facts of each complaint before it commences any enforcement action considered to be appropriate.

Information to Customers / Availability of Number Portability

1.24 Oftel expects that operators and service providers will take steps to ensure that prospective customers are aware that number portability will be available on request from any company that takes them on. Oftel would normally expect operators and service providers to include information on the availability of number portability within their normal customer marketing approaches when the relevant services are being offered to customers. Oftel would also expect that they should make clear, when asked, customer rights to require any operator or service provider that takes them on to provide them with number portability and the time it will take to provide number portability. Oftel will be taking steps to ensure that customers are aware of their rights regarding the provision of number portability. The review described below will also consider the availability of information on number portability.

1.25 Oftel intends to monitor closely implementation of these provisions. Customers are given important new rights by the implementing legislation and operators and service providers must have portability arrangements in place to allow them to exercise these rights. If operators and service providers are using delays in establishing porting arrangements to seek to persuade customers to transfer without porting, Oftel will take appropriate action. Oftel will review the progress in making number portability available in six months time.

Charging for Number Portability

1.26 Operators and service providers may levy a reasonable charge directly on customers for the provision of number portability. Oftel would be extremely concerned, if any company set charges at a level that would act as a disincentive to the take up of number portability and would hope that any company trying to attract customers would consider carefully before levying any charges.

The following Chapter sets out how the new number portability regime is intended to operate.

contents


Chapter 2

Number Portability Regime

This Chapter sets out the general principles associated with the operation of the new number portability regime and how the modified licence condition will operate. The licence condition at Annex D will modify the current fixed number portability condition contained in most licences.

General Principles

2.1 The Directive and implementing legislation does not impose an obligation on operators and service providers to take on customers. It will be for them to decide on a commercial basis whether they wish to take on new customers. The only fixed network operators that are obliged to take on new customers, under certain circumstances relating to compliance with licence requirements on universal service obligations and the supply of services on reasonable demand, are BT and Kingston Communications.

2.2 In deciding how to provide a portability facility to allow customers to keep their telephone number when they change operator, operators may consider whether they should have a direct porting facility or interconnection between operators or alternatively arrange to make use of available transit products that allow the transfer of numbers between operators using another operator’s network.

2.3 Customers will, of course, before they change operators or service providers, need to satisfy themselves that the service and the terms of service offered by the new operator is acceptable. It is the number that is ported rather than the service associated with the number.

2.4 Subscribers, who are given rights relating to number portability by the implementing legislation, are defined in the Directive as " any natural or legal person who or which is party to a contract with a provider of publicly available telecommunication services for the supply of those services". In terms of ‘end users’ a Subscriber would be a customer that is supplied with a service by reference to a telephone number that has been assigned to him. This entity or customer might be an individual, company or service provider.

Operator or Service Provider Obligation

2.5 Operators and service providers that decide to take on a new customer must allow the customer to retain his existing telephone number if he wants to. Before an operator or service provider decides to take on a new customer it will have to ensure that it can provide service using the customers ‘old’ or existing number in providing a service to that customer. Equally, operators or service providers who have existing subscribers who are taken on by a new operator cannot refuse to allow them to take their number with them to the new operator or service provider.

2.6 In order to allow customers to keep their number when they change supplier of telecommunication services, operators and service providers must provide portability on request to each other. This will involve putting in place a facility to enable either the transfer of numbers to the ‘new’ operator or service provider or the reception of numbers from the ‘old’ operator or service provider. Systemless service providers may well have to contract with a licensed operator to be able to provide number portability to customers.

2.7 It is anticipated that operators or service providers who intend to enter into a service contract with a customer, who requests number portability will, before they contract with the customer contact the customer’s old operator or service provider to establish a portability facility to enable number portability to be provided within a reasonable time frame of the contract being signed. As set out above a portability facility must be in place where the operator or service provider contracts with the customer.

Cost Allocation

2.8 The current number portability regime basis of allocating costs associated with portability is cost sharing. This principle was derived from the 1995 Monopolies and Mergers Commission (MMC) recommendations and has since been supported by industry. This principle applies to both geographic and non geographic numbers. Given that this principle was supported by industry and has worked under the current number portability regime, Oftel considers that it should continue to be applied to the new portability regime.

2.9 The current cost sharing principles and those Oftel believes should be applied to the new portability regime are set out in the proposed licence modification, and are:

(a) charges shall be based on fully allocated costs of providing portability or incremental costs (if that is what BT’s charges are based on) unless the Donor and Recipient Operators shall have agreed another cost basis, or the Director shall have determined, following an application by either or both Operators, that another cost basis should be used;

The MMC’s recommendations were based on the principle that charges for portability should be cost-based. While BT’s charges are based on fully allocated costs it is appropriate for charges payable to other operators also to be based on such costs. BT’s charges are now set on an incremental cost base (following Oftel’s review of network charge controls). Oftel is currently working towards moving number portability charges to an incremental cost basis. They will then be a more appropriate basis generally for portability charges. However, the Licence condition recognises that the ‘old’ or Donor Operator and ‘new’ Recipient Operator may agree upon a different basis. For example, they may agree that charges should be on a reciprocal basis. In addition, one or both of the operators may ask the Director to determine the appropriate cost basis.

(b) The Donor Operator shall make no charge in relation to its System Set-Up Costs:

System Set-up costs are those incurred by each operator to ensure that its network and management systems can provide portability. The MMC concluded that "system set-up costs are an essential part of the investment which any operator needs to make in providing telecommunication services." Requiring the Licensee to bear its own system set-up costs in full will provide an incentive for cost minimisation. It will also reflect the wide distribution of benefits and promote effective competition.

(c) subject to the other cost allocation principles outlined in the licence the Recipient Operator shall pay charges based on the reasonable costs incurred by the Donor Operator in providing portability with respect to each number or block of numbers ;

The costs most directly applicable to those incurred with respect to setting up portability for each number or block of numbers should be borne by the operator to whom the number is being ported (the Recipient Operator) rather than the operator that is porting the number (the Donor Operator).

(d) The Donor Operator shall make no specific charge based on Additional Conveyance Costs;

Additional conveyance costs are the costs of conveyance of each call to a ported number additional to the costs of conveyance of non-ported calls. The Donor Operator may not charge the recipient operator a specific ‘portability’ charge for such additional conveyance. The cost of additional conveyance should be subsumed into the donor operator’s general network costs, spreading the cost over all calls on the network. Such an approach follows the principle of cost minimisation, by encouraging operators to minimise additional conveyance and thus adopt the most efficient routing method of providing portability. This approach also reflects the distribution of benefits: additional conveyance costs are incurred by calls to the ported number but the benefits of number portability accrue to all customers through enhanced competition. Moreover, as stated by the MMC, the provision of portability is an essential feature of a competitive telecommunication market: "It follows that the routing of calls to ported numbers should be regarded as a normal part of a telecommunication service and not a facility requiring special charging arrangements, particularly as telephone numbers are now a national resource and no longer ‘owned’ by individual operators."

2.10 Average Porting Conveyance Costs (APCCs) can be recovered, where appropriate. APCCs are the costs incurred by a Donor Operator acting as a transit operator for calls that originate on another operator’s network that are destined for a Recipient Operator. As set out in the March 1998 Oftel document, Determination of Non Geographic Number Portability Cost and Charges, the Director General considered that APCCs did not fall into the following categories; System Set-up costs, Per Line Set-up costs or Additional Conveyance Costs.

Determination of Reasonableness of Terms and Conditions

2.11 The draft licence condition set out in the consultation document has been slightly modified to include a provision for the Director General to make a determination on requests for portability.

2.12 In the event of a dispute parties setting up a portability facility will be able to request the Director General’s determinations of the ‘reasonableness’ of:–

  • a request for portability (taking into account the technical and operational characteristics of the relevant systems);
  • costs of providing portability;
  • the categorisation of costs;
  • the cost basis proposed;
  • the charges for portability.

2.13 This procedure is designed to apply equally to the ‘old’ or exporting and ‘new’ or importing operator: either party can request a determination of the reasonableness of any terms or conditions offered by the other. Oftel would normally expect other operators to reach agreement, and only request a determination as a last resort. Oftel will not proceed with a request for a determination unless it is satisfied that the requesting party has made full efforts to negotiate a settlement.

2.14 Oftel expects all operators to be able to provide portability to another operator so is only likely to grant a determination that portability should not be provided where exceptional technical or operational problems exist eg with a particular exchange or switch. In the event of such a determination being granted it is likely to be provided on a temporary basis only. The reinstatement of the licence clause will make it more transparent that operators can seek Oftel guidance where exceptional unforeseen problems arise. This clause does not negate the absolute obligation to provide number portability to any customer taken on by an operator who requests it. If there is no portability facility in place the operator cannot contract with a customer to provide a service.

The following Chapter sets out the main responses to the consultation exercise and Oftel’s views.

contents


Annex A

Summary of the Responses and Oftel Views

This Chapter discusses the main responses received during the consultation exercise and main issues raised.

A.1 There were 22 responses to the October consultation document. One response represented the views of a number of larger operators in the United Kingdom. There was one response on the responses received during the initial consultation period.

General Summary

A.2 There was general support for the Oftel and DTI position set out in the consultation document from BT and more guarded support from one or two other larger operators. There was strong support from the Advisory Committees and other bodies representing consumer interests. Some of the operators that have been active in portability process groups sought to limit the situations where operators are expected to have portability in place. Several operators were concerned that portability may act as an entry barrier to new entrants and be over burdensome for existing smaller players. Apart from BT and some consumer groups, there was some lack of understanding that the Directive confers rights on consumers to require number portability of any company that takes them on.

A.3 It was also clear from many of the responses that there are tensions between the new proposals and the existing processes to establish a facility to provide number portability which were set up by industry. These tensions are most apparent in the non-geographic services market.

A.4 Obligation to Provide Portability and Number Portability

Summary of Responses

There was strong support for the proposals to give customers rights to require any company that takes them on to provide number portability from consumer groups and bodies representing consumer interests and a few operators.

A number of operators considered that any requirement to implement inter-operator arrangements for number portability prior to evidence of actual demand for number portability between two operators to be a disproportionate regulatory burden. These operators considered that it would lead to significant additional costs being borne by operators in certain markets, notably the non-geographic services market (that is the market for freephone, local and national rate and premium rate services) – and would inhibit new entry.

A.5 The consultation document stated that Oftel would regard the Directive as requiring that, where operators market or offer their services, they would have to have a portability facility in place. While falling well short of requiring all operators to have a portability facility in place with all other operators, Oftel recognised that this was a substantial requirement. In light of consultation Oftel’s view is that there should be few problems in providing number portability for geographic numbers: operators know the other companies providing geographic services in the area (usually BT). For non geographic numbers, many more operators are providing services making any requirement to put portability facilities in place with all operators providing such services in advance of customer requests for number portability significant.

A.6 Having carefully considered all the responses to the consultation document Oftel has come to the view that telephone companies marketing or offering services should at this stage proactively seek to put portability facilities in place with other telephone companies but that a portability facility must be in place when they contract with a customer. In order to meet this obligation operators and service providers will need to have made all appropriate arrangements to establish a portability facility with those companies involved eg the customer’s existing telephone company, by the time they contract with a customer.

A.7 This position will allow operators to deploy resources where number portability will be required but still allow any customer taken on by a telephone company to require the operator or service provider to provide them with number portability. It also recognises the fact that most telephone companies in the United Kingdom are not required by their licence to take on new customers.

A.8 For the avoidance of doubt it remains the Oftel and DTI position that the Directive requires that operators and service providers cannot take on a customer and refuse to provide them with number portability. This is reflected in the implementing legislation.

A.9 Provision of Number portability – Timing

Summary of Responses

Some operators raised concerns that the time frame quoted for providing number portability for a basic service might lead to customer confusion.

A.10 The consultation document referred to a 5 - 8 working day timeframe for providing number portability for a basic service. The intention behind the reference to this timeframe for the provision of number portability was to inform customers that did not have a detailed knowledge of industry portability timescales how long number portability for a basic service should take eg single line single number service, where a portability facility has already been put in place. Oftel’s understanding is that the time frame referred to is appropriate.

A.11 Oftel understands that more complex service provision such as the provision of a complicated Direct Dial In (DDI) service will take longer to provide. Commensurate with the longer service provision timeframe Oftel acknowledges that for more complex porting arrangements number portability will take longer to provide eg where the porting of numbers for a complicated DDI service is involved it could take 22 working days to provide. In any case Oftel expects that operators will give customers a connection date that will take into account the time it takes to provide the service and the time to provide number portability. Therefore timing for the provision of number portability should not be an issue where operators have put portability facility in place. As set out above a portability facility must be in place where operators or service providers contract with a new customer. In such circumstances the provision of number portability should not significantly add to the time it would normally take to provide a service where number portability was not requested.

A.12 Number Portability as a Barrier to Entry

Summary of Responses

There were a number of comments that any requirement that all companies regardless of size must be able to port to any other company providing similar services would act as a barrier to entry for new operators and be over burdensome for existing companies, especially the smaller ones which did not benefit from economies of scale.

A.13 It should be noted that Oftel’s position on when operators should have a portability facility in place has been amended in light of responses to the consultation document. The consultation document stated that Oftel would regard the Directive as requiring that where operators market or offer their services they would have to have a portability facility in place. This position fell well short of the implied position that Oftel required all operators to have a portability facility in place with all others operators from the outset and does not therefore constitute the entry barrier implied. As set out in paragraph A.6 above having carefully considered all the responses to the consultation document Oftel has amended the position set out in the consultation document and now considers that telephone companies marketing or offering services should at this stage proactively seek to put portability facilities in place with other telephone companies but that a portability facility must be in place when they contract with a customer. This position clearly does not require all operators to have a portability facility in place with all other operators from the outset and therefore cannot be considered to be the entry barrier implied in the responses to the consultation document.

A.14 The amended position would allow operators to deploy resources only where number portability will be required but still allow any customer taken on by a telephone company to require the operator or service provider to provide them with number portability. It also recognises the fact that most telephone companies in the United Kingdom are not required by their licence to take on new customers.

A.15 Oftel’s understanding of the term ‘barrier to entry’ is that such a barrier, if it existed, would impose additional costs which must be borne by entrants but not by firms already in the industry. As the Directive requires that all companies providing fixed services to the public, that take customers on, should be able to provide number portability, the Directive would not appear to impose ‘barriers to entry’ under the definition set out above. Additionally, the legislation in the consultation document does not set out entirely new portability requirements, the new legislation builds on the existing number portability regime. All licensed operators providing telecommunication services to the public are already required by the existing licensing regime to provide portability to another operator on request, provided the requesting operator can provide the same extent of portability as that requested.

A.16 Oftel’s position for some years has been that number portability should be seen as standard service offered by all operators to all customers. It has also set out that numbers should only be allocated to operators where they can provide portability. As well as substantial direct benefits (eg customers do not have to incur costs of changing stationery; fewer wrong numbers are dialled), portability provides very significant indirect benefits, assisting greatly in the creation of genuine competition for all categories of customers, driving down prices, encouraging innovation and raising quality.

A.17 Charging Customers for Number Portability

Summary of Response

One operator wanted confirmation that companies could levy a direct charge for importing a number. If charging is allowed whether to charge should be left to the commercial judgement of each company.

A.18 Oftel can confirm that operators and service providers may levy a reasonable charge directly on customers for the provision number portability. This is reflected in the implementing legislation. We are however not aware of any companies providing fixed services that currently charge customers for the provision of number portability.

A.19 Oftel would be extremely concerned, if any company set charges at a level that would act as a disincentive to the take up of number portability and would hope that any company trying to attract customers would consider carefully before levying any charges.

A.20 Refusal to Supply Number Portability

Summary of Responses

Operators sought clarification on the Oftel approach to establishing that a company had refused to supply its services solely on the basis of number portability being requested. Whatever approach was to be used, some operators felt that it was essential that any investigation of this behaviour should be efficient and cost effective and a reasonable use of Oftel’s limited resources.

Another operator asks whether it was reasonable to ascertain prior to accepting new business, whether the customer wishes to port its number.

A.21 Oftel acknowledged in the Consultation Document that most companies could legitimately refuse to accept new customers but could not refuse to provide number portability to any customer taken on. Given that there could be a number of legitimate reasons for refusing a customer Oftel will consider the relevant facts of each complaint before it commences any enforcement action considered to be appropriate.

A.22 While Oftel believes that the vast majority of customers will want to keep their telephone number when they change operator it agrees that companies should be able to ask whether prospective customers want to keep their number. As noted above we would also expect that operators and service providers should make clear when asked, customer rights to require any operator or service provider that takes them on to provide them with number portability and the time it will take to provide it.

A.23 Oftel intends to monitor closely the implementation of these provisions. Customers are given important new rights by the implementing legislation and operators and service providers must have portability arrangements in place to allow them to exercise these rights. If operators and service providers are using delays in establishing porting arrangements to seek to persuade customers to transfer without porting, Oftel will take appropriate action. Oftel will review the progress in making number portability available in six months time.

A.24 Intelligent Networks

Summary of Responses

There was a recommendation that Oftel quickly moves to public consultation on the best approach and likely cost of introducing Intelligent Network (IN) based Number Portability.

A.25 An Intelligent Network (IN) based number portability solution may involve the use of a separate numbering information database to allow operators to determine, from the outset, where each call should be routed. This would minimise unnecessary conveyance involved in delivering calls to a number that has been ported. In turn this would minimise the need for portability arrangements between operators.

A.26 Oftel’s current position on the introduction of IN technology is that it is neutral as to the technology used by operators. Operators will no doubt consider the cost and benefits of introducing such technology against the costs of maintaining the existing system. There are several European countries that have already introduced an IN solution to provide number portability. Oftel will be examining the experience of these countries.

A.27 Determination on a Request for Portability

Summary of Responses

There was one question relating to the deletion of a licence clause that allowed operators to request a Determination in relation to the reasonableness of a request for Portability, taking account of the technical and operational characteristics of operators’ systems.

A.28 Oftel had considered that the basis for the new number portability regime is founded on operators requesting portability from each other in order to be able to provide number portability to customers. Operators have had considerable time to make their systems ready to provide a portability facility to another operator given that many operators have been providing number portability for a number of years. Numbers allocated by Oftel are provided on the basis that they should be portable. Additionally, there have been very few concerns raised regarding the technical and operational readiness of operators’ systems to provide number portability. On this basis all requests from operators or service providers to another operator to provide portability would appear to be reasonable.

A.29 Having considered this issue further the licence clause to allow operators to request a Determination as to the reasonableness of a request for portability, taking account of the technical and operational characteristics of the relevant operators’ systems has been reinstated. The reinstatement of the licence clause will make it more transparent that operators can seek Oftel guidance where exceptional unforeseen problems arise. As set out above Oftel expects all operators to be able to provide portability to another operator so is only likely to grant a determination that portability should not be provided where exceptional technical or operational problems exist eg with a particular exchange or switch. In the event of such a determination being granted it is likely be provided on a temporary basis only. This clause does not negate the absolute obligation to provide number portability to any customer taken on by an operator who requests it. If there is no portability facility in place the operator or service provider cannot contract with a customer to provide a service.

A.30 Rights to Port

Summary of Responses

A few companies acknowledged that where several telephone companies are involved in a ‘chain’ of service provision eg where numbers have been sub-allocated more than once, there may well be situations where there are competing views as to which company had the right to port the number involved.

A.31 The Consultation Document stated that Subscribers or ‘end users’ that have rights to port numbers are those that are supplied with a service by reference to a telephone number that has been assigned to the Subscriber. This entity or customer might be an individual, company or service provider.

A.32 Oftel acknowledges that the more parties involved in the provision of any telecoms service the more ‘competing views’ are likely to arise. Oftel is currently engaged in discussions with industry on ‘Rights of Use’ of numbers as part of its project of Developing Number Administration. The output from these discussions should provide useful guidance on this issue.

A.33 Information on Availability of Number Portability

Summary of Responses

Operators would like to understand Oftel’s expectations of the provision of information about number portability to customers.

There was particular concern from a consumer organisation that consumers should be informed of their new rights with respect to number portability.

A.34 Oftel would normally expect operators and service providers to include information on the availability of number portability within their normal customer marketing approaches when the relevant services are being offered to customers. We would also expect that operators should make clear when asked, customer rights to require any operator or service provider that takes them on to provide them with number portability and the time it will take to provide it. As indicated earlier, Oftel will consider the availability of consumer information during the review it intends to undertake in six months time on the availability of number portability.

A.35 Average Porting Conveyance Costs (APCC).

Summary of Responses

One or two operators have asked that we confirm, for the avoidance of doubt, that recovering APCCs is acceptable. APCCs are the costs incurred by a Donor Operator acting as a transit operator for calls that originate on another operator’s network that are destined for a Recipient Operator.

A.36 Oftel can confirm, for the avoidance of doubt, that APCCs can be recovered where appropriate. As set out in the March 1998 Oftel document, Determination of Non Geographic Number Portability Cost and Charges, the Director General considered that APCCs did not fall into the following categories; System Set-up costs, Per Line Set-up costs or Additional Conveyance Costs.

A.37 Exemption for Non Geographic and Personal Numbers

Summary of Response

One company argued that the Directive should not apply to non geographic numbers and personal numbers as they have no fixed location. It was also argued that personal numbers were already portable and that as Personal numbers were not fixed they should be exempt from the terms of the Directive.

A.38 The Directive is clear in that it requires that subscribers should be able " to retain their numbers on the fixed public network …..in the case of geographic numbers at a specific location and in the case of other than geographic numbers at any location". The Directive does not therefore require that non geographic numbers should be fixed. Personal numbers are non geographic numbers. The fact that personal numbers may be diverted to a mobile telephone does not suggest to Oftel that they constitute a mobile telephony service. Oftel does not consider that a credible case that personal numbers should be exempted from the terms of the implementing legislation has been made.

A.39 Obligations on Third Parties

Summary of Responses

While welcoming the fact that the implementing Regulations will place number portability obligations on systemless service providers some operators were concerned that Oftel and DTI appeared to be requiring licensees to place number portability obligations on entities that are not party to a contract with the licensee eg where the licensee sub-allocates numbers to a systemless service provider which in turn sub-allocates numbers to a third party.

A.40 Oftel set out in the consultation document that any operator that had been allocated numbers by Oftel that in turn sub-allocated numbers to another operator or service provider should ensure that they are portable. This reflects existing policy which states that any conditions that apply to numbers allocated to an operator must in turn also apply to any number that is sub-allocated. As all numbers that are allocated by Oftel to operators have to be portable this means that any sub-allocated numbers must also be portable. This principle is also covered in the Functional Specification (see Annex B).

A.41 Having considered this requirement further, Oftel considers that the obligation to ensure through contractual means that successive sub-allocations of numbers remain portable is no longer necessary for fixed numbers. The Directive’s implementing regulations provide for number portability on request to customers taken on by operators or systemless service providers and for the provision of portability between operators or systemless service providers on request. This ensures that fixed numbers are portable.

A.42 Oftel nonetheless hopes that operators will be responsible in the way that they sub-allocate numbers, and that they will not sub-allocate numbers to those entities that cannot provide number portability to any of their customers who may legitimately request it. For the avoidance of doubt the obligation to provide number portability to any customer taken on by an operator or systemless service provider is not affected by this intended change. Oftel will continue to allocate numbers to operators on the basis that they are portable. Oftel intends to consult operators on changes to the Functional Specification and other relevant legislation to introduce this proposed change in due course.

contents


Annex B

Issues Surrounding Number Portability

Functional Specification

B.1 Number portability must be provided in accordance with the Functional Specification. The Functional Specification is a document published from time to time by the Director General, following consultation with all Licensees, which specifies technical and other principles which are intended to enable the efficient implementation and utilisation of portability. The Functional Specification sets out the scope of the portability to be provided; specific rules relating to the processes to be carried out by operators and others to whom allocations of numbering capacity have been made, in order to ensure the efficient provision of portability; and some general rules concerning the efficient use of numbers where portability services are being offered. The latest version of the Functional Specification can be found on Oftel’s website under numbering publications. Personal numbers (070) will be added to the list of those numbers that are required to be portable.

Subsequent Portability

B.2 Once a number has been ported to one operator, the customer may wish to switch again to another operator, still retaining the original number. Provided the customer is not returning to the operator from whom he first obtained the number, these subsequent changes of operator are known as ‘Subsequent Portability’ in this consultation document. So far as the original operator is concerned, it makes no difference, in regulatory terms, whether the portability it is providing is an initial or a subsequent port: all calls will have to be routed over its network. Whilst there are certain rules to be observed between network operators when providing Subsequent Portability, there is no need for separate provision to be made in the Licence condition to cover it. Subsequent portability will involve a third party – a ‘new’ recipient operator. The regulatory obligations would be between the Licensee and the ‘new’ recipient operator. For regulatory purposes, the ‘previous’ recipient operator is not involved.

Number Mobility

B.3 Number mobility is a service offered by operators which enables a customer to retain their geographic number when they change address. This is sometimes confused with number portability. Geographic numbers are numbers that refer to a specific geographic area eg subscriber numbers beginning 0141 identify subscribers living in the Glasgow telephone area, and are used for delivering calls to the location where the telecoms network connects to the subscriber’s telephone or Network Termination Point (NTP) in that area. Oftel and DTI consider that should the physical location or address of the subscriber’s NTP change any service that allows the subscriber to retain his number would not come within the terms of the legislation implementing this Directive. Any service offered by operators to allow a customer to keep his geographic number when he changes address eg within the same local exchange area, will be up to the operator concerned. Such a service or facility will not be covered by this new number portability legislation. Operators are still free to provide mobility if they wish.

B.4 The Functional Specification does however include one rule on mobility: that, for a ported number, the recipient operator can only provide mobility within the service area of the donor operator. The Function Specification defines ‘service area’ in this context. This is designed to ensure that the customer can port his number back to the donor operator if he wishes, by restoring his connection to the donor operator’s network without ‘out of area’ processes being instigated. It also ensures that access to mobility is not affected by the operation of portability and that commercially provided mobility services that are not regulated by Oftel are not subsidised by portability services regulated by Oftel.

Retention of existing charging rates

B.5 The design and intelligence of many current telephone network billing systems means that for certain non geographic numbers only eg premium rate numbers (090) and personal numbers (070), number portability will have some pricing limitations. Numbers that have

been ported to another operator may have to keep the charging rate to the customers eg 20 p per minute, set by the original operator to whom the number block was allocated. This is because most billing systems are designed to examine a limited amount of digits of each telephone number in order to determine the appropriate charge rate for calls to that number.

B.6 Parameters for charge rates laid out in the Numbering Conventions for reasons relating to consumer protection and transparency of prices also limit the flexibility for charge rates for certain numbers. For example when calling a premium rate number (090) the prior knowledge that the call is likely to be expensive forewarns callers or in the case of local rate numbers (0845) that they are reasonably inexpensive.

B.7 Additional expenditure by operators on software and equipment, which is already happening, will allow operators to examine more numbers. However, until billing systems examine all the digits in a telephone number this limitation will remain to some degree.

Existing Contracts

B.8 The Directive requires that subscribers should be allowed to retain their numbers if they change to an alternative operator. It follows that contracts should not prohibit subscribers taking their telephone numbers to alternative operators. Should a subscriber, who has signed an agreement for the provision of telephone services for a specific period, want to move to an alternative supplier, the subscriber should be able do to, subject to any reasonable payments that might have to be made to compensate the existing operator for early curtailment of the contract.

Outstanding Debts

B.9 Oftel has also been asked for guidance on whether subscribers who owe money or are in dispute with their existing operator over a service bill should be able to port their number to another operator. Oftel considers that there are separate mechanisms to allow the recovery of any legitimate monies owed. Oftel does not therefore consider that this issue should prohibit subscribers from taking their telephone number to any alternative operator or service provider which is willing to take them on.

contents


Annex C

Implementing Regulations

C.1 The specific purpose of the Regulations is to implement the terms of the Directive in UK law. The Regulations ensure that the current fixed number portability condition in telephone companies’ Telecommunications Act licences reflect the requirements of the Directive. They also ensure that those telephone operators that do not operate under a Telecommunications Act licence comply with the number portability requirements contained in the Directive.

C.2 The Regulations are made under section 2(2) of the European Communities Act. They amend the Telecommunications (Interconnection) Regulations 1997, which will be available from HMSO’s website at http://www.hmso.gov.uk/. They also amend the Standard Schedules Regulations. The draft Regulations also make a number of other amendments to the Interconnection Regulations which are technical drafting amendments.

 

STATUTORY INSTRUMENTS

1999 No. 3449

TELECOMMUNICATIONS

 

The Telecommunications (Interconnection) (Number Portability, etc.) Regulations 1999

 

 

Made ------------------- 23 December 1999

Laid before Parliament 29 December 1999

Coming into force -

except for regulation 5 19 January 2000

regulation 5 1 March 2000

 

The Secretary of State, being a Minister designated [SI 1996/266] in pursuance of section 2(2) of the European Communities Act 1972 [1972 c.68]  in relation to measures relating to telecommunications, in exercise of the powers conferred on him by that section, hereby makes the following Regulations:–

 

PART I

PRELIMINARY

Citation and commencement

1. These Regulations may be cited as the Telecommunications (Interconnection) (Number Portability, etc.) Regulations 1999 and shall come into force as follows:

(a) except for regulation 5, these Regulations shall come into force on 19th January 2000;

(b) regulation 5 shall come into force on 1st March 2000.

Interpretation

2. – (1) In these Regulations–

"the Act" means the Telecommunications Act 1984 [1984 c.12];

"the Amending Interconnection Directive" means Directive 98/ 61/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council amending the Interconnection Directive with regard to operator number portability and carrier pre-selection [OJL No286 03.10.98,p37];

"the EEA Agreement" means the agreement on the European Economic Area signed at Oporto on 2 May 1992 as adjusted by the Protocol signed at Brussels on 17 March 1993 [OJL No1 03.01.94,p3];

"the Interconnection Directive" means Directive 97/33/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 June 1997 on interconnection in telecommunications with regard to ensuring universal service and interoperability through application of the principles of Open Network Provision [OJL No 199 26.07.97,p32];

"the principal Regulations" means the Telecommunications (Interconnection) Regulations 1997[SI 1997/2931];

"the Standard Schedule Regulations" means the Telecommunications (Licence Modification) (Standard Schedules) Regulations 1999 [SI 1999/2450];

"Systemless Sservice Pprovider" means a person who provides publicly available telecommunication services but who does not run a telecommunications system within the meaning of Section 4 of the Act by means of which such services are provided.

 

(2) Any expression used in these Regulations which is also used in the Amending Interconnection Directive has the same meaning in these Regulations as it has in that Directive.

(3) Any other expression used in these Regulations which appears in Schedule 1 to the Standard Schedules Regulations has the same meaning in these Regulations as it has in that Schedule.

(4) Except where the context otherwise requires and subject to paragraphs (1) to (3), any expression used in these Regulations which is also used in the Act has the same meaning in these Regulations as it has in the Act.

PART II

AMENDMENTS TO THE PRINCIPAL REGULATIONS

 

Definitions

3. Regulation 2(2) of the principal Regulations is amended as follows:

(a) in the definition of "European Public Operator" before the word "Directive" there shall be inserted the word "Interconnection";

(b) before the definition of "interconnection" there shall be inserted the following definition– "‘geographic number’ means a number from the national numbering plan where part of its digit structure contains geographic significance used for routing calls to the physical location of the network termination point of the subscriber to whom the number has been assigned;";

(c) after the definition of "interconnection" there shall be inserted the following definition–

" ‘Integrated Services Digital Network’ (ISDN) means a network evolved from the telephony integrated digital network that provides for end- to-end digital connectivity to support a wide range of services, including voice and non-voice services, to which users have access by standard multipurpose customer interfaces;";

(d) before the definition of "Universal service" there shall be inserted the following definition–

" ‘subscriber’ means a person who is party to a contract with the provider of publicly available telecommunications services for the supply of such services.".

Responsibilities of the Secretary of State and the Director

4.– (1) Regulation 6(3) of the principal Regulations is amended by the deletion of the words "the Director may intervene at any time, and shall do so on the request of either party, in order to make a direction" and the substitution of the words "the Director may make a direction at any time, and shall do so on the request of either party".

(2) Regulations 6(6) and (7) and 10(2) are amended by the deletion of the word "published" and the substitution of the words "made available".

(3) Regulation 6(11) is amended by the substitution of the letter "(e)" for the letter "(f)".

Data protection

5. Regulation 7(5) of the principal Regulations is amended by the deletion of the words "relevant regulatory provisions on the protection of data including the protection of personal data" and the substitution of the words "section 101 of the Act, the Data Protection Act 1998 [1998 c29] and the Telecommunications (Data Protection and Privacy) Regulations 1999" SI 1999/2093].

Numbering

6. Regulation 11(1) of the principal Regulations is amended by substituting for subparagraph (1)(c) the following subparagraph–

"(c) encourage the earliest possible introduction of operator number portability whereby subscribers who so request can retain their numbers on the fixed public telephone network and the ISDN independent of the organisation providing service, in the case of geographic numbers at a specific location and in the case of other than geographic numbers at any location."

Collocation and facility sharing

7. Regulation 10(1) of the principal Regulations is amended by the insertion after the words "use of property" of the words "in accordance with sections 34 to 40 of, and paragraphs 2 to 7 of Schedule 2 to, the Act.".

Number Portability – Systemless Service Providers

8.– (1) A Systemless Service Provider shall provide Number Portability on reasonable terms to any of its Subscribers who notify it in writing that they require it to provide them with Number Portability.

(2) A Systemless Service Provider shall provide Portability in relation to any request for portability made to it by an Operator or a Service provider (other than Mobile portability or Paging Portability) on reasonable terms, in accordance with the Functional Specification and as though the number portability condition set out in Schedule 7 to the principal Regulations applied to it.

(3) Without prejudice to any right which a subscriber may have, by virtue of this regulation or otherwise, to bring civil proceedings in respect of any contravention or apprehended contravention of the duty referred to in this regulation, compliance shall be enforceable by the Director by civil proceedings for an injunction or interdict or any other appropriate relief.

Modification of licences to include the Number Portability Condition

9.–(1) The definitions set out in Part I of Schedule 1 hereto shall be inserted in the appropriate places in alphabetical order or replace the existing definitions (as the case may be) in paragraph 1 of Part I of Schedule 1 to the Standard Schedules Regulations.

(2) The condition set out in Part II of Schedule 1 hereto shall be inserted as a new condition 28 in place of the existing condition 28 in Part 2 of Schedule 1 to the Standard Schedules Regulations and the reference to condition 28.7 in condition 64.10 in Schedule 2 to the Standard Schedules Regulations shall be replaced by reference to condition 28.5.

(3) Regulation 13 of the principal Regulations is amended by the insertion at the end of that regulation as follows:

"Each licence which, other than by virtue of incorporation of the Standard Schedules, contains a condition entitled "Number Portability" or "Fixed Number Portability" in respect of a fixed telecommunications service is hereby modified by the substitution of new definitions set out in Part I of Schedule 7 to these Regulations for the definitions of the same terms contained in the licence and the substitution of the new number portability condition set out in Part II of Schedule 7 to these Regulations for the condition entitled "Number Portability" or "Fixed Number Portability."

(4) There shall be added as Schedule 7 to the principal Regulations the Schedule set out in Schedule 2 hereto.

EEA Agreement

10. Consequent upon the extension of the Interconnection Directive to the European Economic Area by Decision no. 7/99 of the EEA Joint Committee [Not yet published in the Official Journal]  the references to "Member State" in the definitions of "European Public Operator" and "special rights" and in Regulation 6(1)(d) and (9) of the principal Regulations shall be interpreted as including a contracting party to the EEA Agreement.

Patricia Hewitt

Minister for Small Business and E Commerce,
Department of Trade and Industry
December 1999

contents


Annex D

Licence Modification

Schedule 1 Regulation 9(1) and(2)

INSERTIONS INTO STANDARD SCHEDULES REGULATIONS

and

Schedule 2 Regulation 9(4)

NEW SCHEDULE 7 TO THE TELECOMMUNICATIONS (INTERCONNECTION) REGULATIONS 1997 "Schedule 7

Part I

New definitions

"Donor Operator" means an Operator or Service Provider whose customer number(s) are in the process of being, or have been passed or ported to a Recipient Operator;

"Mobile Portability" means Portability relating to Numbers allocated for use with Mobile

Radio Telecommunication Services;

"Non-Geographic Portability" means Portability relating to Numbers allocated in accordance with the rules for the allocation of Number Ranges other than Geographic Number Ranges as provided for in the National Numbering Conventions but excluding Portability relating to Numbers allocated for use with Mobile Radio Telecommunications Services and Radiopaging Services;

"Number Portability" means a facility whereby Subscribers who so request can retain their number on a Fixed Public Telephone System and the integrated services digital network (ISDN), independent of the organisation providing the service at the Network Termination Point of a Subscriber at a specific location in the case of Geographic portability or at any location in the case of Non-Geographic Portability;

"Paging Portability" means Portability relating to Numbers allocated for use with Radiopaging Services;

"Portability" means any facility which may be provided by the Licensee to an Operator or to a Service Provider enabling any Subscriber who requests Number Portability to continue to be provided with any telecommunication service by reference to the same Number irrespective of the identity of the person providing such a service;

"Radiopaging Service " means telecommunication services consisting in the conveyance of Messages by means of Wireless Telegraphy where every message, apart from simple acknowledgement, is ultimately transmitted from Station for Wireless Telegraphy comprised in the Applicable Systems run by the Licensee to a Station for Wireless Telegraphy or Wireless Telegraphy Apparatus that is not comprised in those Applicable Systems

"Recipient Operator" is an Operator or Service provider to whom customer number(s) are in the process of being, or have been passed or ported from a Donor Operator;

"System Set-up Costs" means costs of the Donor Operator incurred –

in the course of making network and system modifications, configuration and reconfiguration, including adapting or replacing software;

in the course of testing functionality within the Applicable System and in conjunction with any Recipient Operator’s systems;

anywhere within the license area thereby establishing the technical and administrative capability to provide Portability".

PART II

New Condition

Condition 28

NUMBER PORTABILITY

28.1 The Licensee shall provide Number Portability on reasonable terms to any of its Subscribers who notify the Licensee in writing that they require it to provide them with Number Portability.

28.2 Pursuant to a request for Portability made to it by an Operator or a Service Provider, the Licensee shall provide Portability (other than Mobile Portability or Paging Portability) in relation to that request on reasonable terms in accordance with the Functional Specification and with the following provisions provided that any charges for provision of such Portability shall be made by the Licensee in accordance with the following principles:

(a) subject always to the requirement of reasonableness, charges shall be based, unless the charges made by British Telecommunications plc for the provision of telecommunication services under Condition 69 of its Licence granted under section 7 of the Act shall be incremental costs, in which case the basis for charges shall be incremental costs, on the fully allocated costs of providing Portability unless the Donor and Recipient Operator shall have agreed another basis for charges, or the Director shall have determined, following an application by either of them, that another basis for charges should be used;

(b) the Donor Operator shall make no charge in relation to any System Set-Up Costs; 

(c) subject to sub-paragraph 28.2 (b), the Recipient Operator shall pay charges based on the reasonable costs incurred by the Donor Operator in providing Portability with respect to each Number which, subject to sub-paragraph 28.2 (d) may be paid by way of specific elements of the provision of the facility;

(d) the Donor Operator shall make no specific charge based on Additional Conveyance Costs.

28.3 Where a request for Portability referred to in paragraph 28.2 has been given, the Licensee or the Operator requesting Portability may refer in writing to the Director for his determination any question as to the reasonableness of:

(a) the request for the provision of Portability, taking into account the technical and operational characteristics of the Licensee's Applicable Systems and, if relevant, those of the applicable systems of the Operator requesting Portability;

(b) the costs incurred in providing Portability (other than Mobile portability or Paging Portability);

(c) the categorisation of costs;

(d) the proposed use or use of a higher cost method in proposing to implement or implementing any aspect of Portability (other than Mobile Portability or Paging Portability) where a lower cost method could or ought to have been used;

(e) the charges to be made for providing Portability (other than Mobile Portability or Paging Portability);

(f) the basis for calculating such charges.

 

28.4 Before making any determination under paragraph 28.3 the Director shall consult with the Licensee and the relevant Operator and with Interested Parties and take into account any representations made by them.

28.5 If requested in writing by the Director, the Licensee shall provide to the Director a record of each Number in relation to which it is providing Portability (other than Mobile Portability or Paging Portability), specifying the relevant Operator or Service Provider in each case.

contents


Annex E

Glossary

DTI – Department of Trade and Industry

Donor Operator – An operator whose customer number(s) are in the process of being, or

have been passed or ported to a Recipient Operator.

Functional Specification – A document published from time to time by the Director General, following consultation with all Licensees, which specifies technical and other principles which are intended to enable the efficient implementation and utilisation of portability.

Geographic Numbers – Ordinary telephone numbers of subscribers at a fixed geographic location eg those beginning with 01 or 02.

MMC – Monopolies and Mergers Commission (The Competition Commission)

Non Geographic Numbers – Numbers that do not refer to a fixed geographic location eg freephone numbers (080), premium rate numbers (090)

Numbering Conventions – A set of principles and rules for the use and allocation of numbers

Numbering Directive – Directive 96/61/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 September 1998 amending 97/33/EC with regard to operator number portability and carrier pre-selection

Number Portability – A facility provided by telecommunications operators which enables customers to keep their telephone numbers when they change their operator.

Oftel – Office of Telecommunications

Operator – Any person authorised to provide telecommunications services not being prohibited from receiving any financial benefit from such provision of such services.

Recipient Operator – An operator to whom customer number (s) are in the process of being, or have been passed or ported from a Donor Operator.

Service Provider – Any person who is in the business of providing telecommunications services of any description.

Subscriber – Any natural or legal person who or which is party to a contract with a provider of publicly available telecommunication services for the supply of those services

System Set-up Costs – Costs incurred by each operator to ensure that its network and management systems can provide portability

Telecommunications Act – The Telecommunications Act 1984


Back to OFTEL home page

contents

Layout image
Layout image Layout image
Layout image Layout image Layout image
Layout image Layout image

© Copyright & Disclaimer