The ARCEP decision enables new uses of phone numbers, presenting significant challenges

On February 2, 2023, Legos organized a round table with telecommunications industry experts to discuss the new opportunities offered by the ARCEP’s new numbering plan. Participants examined the challenges and consequences of the new numbering plan on the French market, highlighting the use of versatile 09 numbers for medical appointments, public transportation, delivery, and integration with CRM systems and call centers. Elsa Bembaron, a Grand reporter for Le Figaro, chaired the round table, where various industry players, including the af2m, legal professionals, Cloud Telephony, CPaaS, CX, telecom integrators, MVNOs, incumbent operators, and OTTs, contributed to the discussion.

Pascal Prot, Founder of Legos, welcomed this development as Legos covers the entire range of numbers in the French market. However, the new regulation implies detailed segmentation of its customers’ needs according to their use cases. It is therefore essential for operators to move away from a number interconnection-centered approach to focus more on the use cases associated with them.

Christophe Collier, Regional Director of Sinch, stated that the clarity provided by the numbering plan would allow the voice and SMS uses to multiply by enabling companies to confidently consider deploying new uses. He also mentioned that the market would self-regulate over time, and they would continue to detect and curb potential fraudsters.

Willy Mikalef, Counsel at Bird & Bird, expressed his hope for the success of the new regulation, but he also highlighted the challenges that small innovative players could face in selling their services. He mentioned the need to ensure that users are aware of the associated changes and that market players acquire a common understanding of the new concepts and rules resulting from the latest revision of the numbering plan.

Frédéric Durand, CEO of Diabolocom, emphasized the importance of verifying users’ identity to ensure reliable and trustworthy services. This new numbering plan will prohibit the use of mobile numbers (06/07) with automated systems and eradicate “pirate” behaviors. Cold calling campaigns will be replaced by targeted calls to qualified leads to improve profitability and consumer acceptance of telemarketing.

During the discussion, audience participants addressed different aspects of the new numbering plan. It was mentioned that the ARCEP is not concerned with the costs associated with the new numbering plan and that disputes would be settled post facto. The rise of OTTs and its impact on rates was also discussed. It was noted that operators are sovereign over the collection rate and that the market determines prices. There was a discussion about the evolution of SMS costs and the differences between the offers of different operators. Participants also discussed the need for greater transparency and exchanges between operators.

In conclusion, the round table discussed the impact of the new regulation on the market and highlighted the challenges and opportunities for industry players. The ARCEP’s new numbering plan brings clarity to the market and offers new perspectives on multichannel. However, it remains to be seen how industry players will adapt to these changes. Companies must be close to their customers to better understand their context and anticipate opportunities to seize.