How to navigate changing number regulations in France

How are you solving for changing number regulations?

Are you currently providing telephony services in the French market? Is France on your global expansion strategy for 2023? Are you looking for a provider to help you navigate the complexities of constantly changing number regulations?

Help is on the way! 

Listen to the Bandwidth team unpack frequently asked questions for the 2023 industry changes in France, along with Bandwidth’s new Global Number Hosting product. You’ll learn:

Don’t have time to listen? Check out the script below:

Navigating French Market Changes in 2023

Eric: Hello, Hello! My name is Eric Hewell, a Solution Marketer here at Bandwidth. And today, I have Riley James, one of our product owners, and Amalia Guliman, from our regulatory team, here with me today to dive into a hot topic when it comes to expanding to the French market in 2023.

So today, we are going to have a conversation around the frequently asked questions regarding new French numbering regulations and how Bandwidth can help you make sense of the telecomplexity and compliance. Let’s dive in!

Eric: So first thing, Amalia I think this is for you, what exactly is happening in the French market from a regulatory standpoint?

Why is the French regulator changing number allocation laws?

Amalia: Yeah, thanks Eric. In an effort to promote a more efficient use of numbering resources, as well as lay out a foundation for other regulatory initiatives on the correct use of numbers, such as the implementation of a mechanism to combat robocalling, the French regulator has decided to amend their numbering plan.

While the new numbering plan contains several changes, one of the most significant ones is that the French regulator (ARCEP) will be prohibiting sub-allocation on geographic numbers as from 2023. Number sub-allocation occurs when an operator that has been directly allocated with numbers assigns these numbers to another operator for further use, rather than directly to an end-user.

Therefore, in complying with the new French numbering plan, effective January 1, 2023, you will no longer be able to purchase new services on French geographic numbers for the purpose of further reselling to your end users in France. That being said, you will continue to be able to purchase these services, if they are for your own use.

Eric: Awesome. So to take a step back, you actually mentioned something called ARCEP earlier, can you explain more about that regulator?

Amalia: Sure! ARCEP is an independent French agency in charge of regulating electronic communications. Their mission includes defining the regulations that apply to the electronic communication sector and allocating numbering resources to operators that need such numbers in order to provide services in France. It can be somewhat compared to the FCC in the United States.

Eric: Okayinteresting! Do you think surrounding countries will implement similar regulations?

Amalia: I think so. It is likely that surrounding countries will enforce similar regulations in the future. Now, the Bandwidth Regulatory Team is constantly reviewing the regulatory landscape of our coverage and we update our customers about these changes through periodic compliance newsletters.

Eric: Huh, okay, so these changes sound like they can really complicate our customers’ global expansion strategy, especially for the French market right now. What options are there for our customers to continue providing French services?

What you need to do to continue offering French services

Riley: Existing services on already assigned numbers will not be affected by this change. However, if customers want to continue offering new services on French numbers, we have a product, Global Number Hosting, so customers can host their own French numbers with Bandwidth services.

Eric: Way Cool! Can you actually explain more on Global Number Hosting and how it helps solve [for] our customers who either provide French services now or are looking to provide services in France in 2023? Like, what do customers need to do to benefit from this product?

Riley: Absolutely. We’re really excited about our new Global Hosting offer. This product will enable you to continue offering communications services to your French subscribers just as you would with the services you purchase today from Bandwidth. In other words, you can bring your own French number ranges to Bandwidth and we will host them for you!

Amalia: From a regulatory standpoint, this means that customers who wish to purchase this hosting product from us must have their own numbering ranges from ARCEP. This also implies that customers must inform ARCEP of their intention to provide number based electronic communication services in France and follow a simple process of applying for an operator code, which is a unique identifier assigned to you by ARCEP and then of course apply for number ranges.

How to navigate these changes with Bandwidth

Riley: Yeah, To support customers with this, we have prepared an online article outlining the steps to request your own number ranges from ARCEP. This can be found on our global portal help center.

Once you apply for the numbering ranges and obtain the confirmation of numbers allocated from ARCEP, this confirmation is in the form of a numbering certificate. You can log in your account at Bandwidth and upload the certificate into our platform. You will then be able to manage and configure your numbers in the same way as you do today with all other services you purchase from Bandwidth.

Each time you obtain new number ranges from ARCEP that you want to host with us, you can upload the respective number certificates on the portal and we will take care of the rest!

Amalia: This online article is actually not a substitute for legal advice, so we encourage you to seek such advice from your own legal team before you engage with ARCEP.

Eric: Understood. Okay great, so what are some of the benefits of being registered as a National operator and hosting your numbers with Bandwidth?

Riley: So the key benefit of obtaining your own numbers from the regulator and hosting them with Bandwidth is that you will be able to continue providing new services to your end users in France. As number sub-allocation is going to be prohibited from 2023, you will not be able to sub-allocate numbers from any provider, hence the need to host your own ranges.

Another big benefit is the cost reduction for having your own numbers instead of paying a DID charge to Bandwidth. When you host numbers with Bandwidth at a large scale, it’s actually far more cost effective. From a numbering management perspective, it is also beneficial since you’ll also have larger consecutive number ranges dedicated to your end users.

Eric: Ah okay, so what happens if I offer electronic communication services in France today and I don’t obtain my own number ranges. Effectively, I do not become a national operator in France – what happens there?

Amalia: If you do not become a national operator in France by January, 2023, you will not be able to offer services on any new French numbers after this date. You would be limited to the services on numbers that you have procured prior to the regulations going into effect.

Riley: This would complicate your French market growth strategy. So, Bandwidth’s number hosting platform enables you to host your numbers and leverage the Bandwidth interconnected network to reduce the complexity of offering French services in the long run.

Eric: So the Hosting Product sounds like it could simplify services for everyone. Is this product available in other countries?

Riley: Currently number hosting is only supported in France. Bandwidth plans to support an additional country next year, and more countries in the future. We’ve designed the Hosting product with guidance from the regulatory team to make it easy for customers to expand to additional countries, once we support them in the future.

Eric: Alright, well I think that’s a good point to wrap things up, we have gone through a lot of information today! I’m sure these FAQs only scratched the surface of the questions our listeners might be thinking. So, Riley and Amalia, where can the customers go from here to get further details?

Amalia: You can always check our French Hosting Product support article on our website. Of course, you can always get in touch with ARCEP, the French regulator, if you have any questions about the new numbering plan.

Riley: Feel free to reach out to your Bandwidth Account manager for any further questions about our new Global Hosting product!

Eric: For sure. Well there we have it everyone. The inside scoop on all things hosted numbers and the french market. We hope you found this helpful, and we look forward to diving in further with you in the future. Thanks for listening!