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Personal Numbering - guidance on the acceptable use of 070 Numbers Layout image
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Oftel has produced these guidelines to provide range holders with further clarification on what it considers to be acceptable use of 070 numbers. They do not fetter the Director General's discretion in dealing with future cases involving the use of the 070 range.

Comments on these guidelines are welcome and, if appropriate, may be reflected in any future revision.


1. This guidance provides further clarification on what Oftel considers to be acceptable use of 070 numbers. It does not replace the National Telephone Numbering Plan, nor Condition 17 of the General Conditions, but provides additional guidance for range holders and their sub-allocatees in response to recent cases and enquiries about whether a particular service is acceptable.


2. This guidance covers:


The National Telephone Numbering Plan

3. The National Telephone Numbering Plan ('the Plan') states that there are three essential requirements re use of 070 Telephone Numbers:
- A Personal Number is defined in the 'Definitions and Interpretation' Section of the Plan and Part A1 states that 070 is set aside for Personal Numbering
- Part B3.2 states that the numbers from the 070 range must not be used for Premium Rate Services (defined in the 'Definitions and Interpretation' Section of the Plan); and
- Part B3.2 further states that those adopting Personal numbers must not share with End-Users any revenue obtained from providing a Personal Numbering Service (End-User is defined in Part 1 of the General Conditions - see paragraph 8 below).


Acceptable use of 070 numbers

4. The 070 range shall only be used for Personal Numbering Services. A Personal Number is defined in the Plan as a Telephone Number "assigned by a Personal Numbering Service Provider, which allows a Subscriber to receive calls or other communications at almost any Telephone Number, including a Mobile Number"

5. Previously the Numbering Conventions had stated that 070 numbers were "suitable for users who habitually move location", but this was not a requirement or prohibition so this phrase does not appear in the Plan. Additionally, the length of time for which an 070 number is active is not a relevant consideration in deciding whether or not it is a legitimate Personal Numbering Service.


Criteria for assessing appropriate use

6. Recent examples of services that do not fit the traditional model but that Oftel considers to be legitimate Personal Numbering Services include:
· 070 numbers allocated to users of Internet chatrooms who want to talk to new acquaintances without divulging their real phone numbers.
· 070 numbers allocated to hospital patients so that they can have their own number for the duration of their stay.

7. Oftel has identified the following criteria which it considers are shared by all Personal Numbering Services. In addition to the rules set out in the Plan, Oftel will use these criteria to judge whether a service being offered on an 070 number is a Personal Numbering Service for the purposes of the Plan.


A Personal Numbering service benefits the person being called

8. End-User is a term defined in the General Conditions, but for the purposes of Personal Number it is the person being called, and not the caller, that is relevant. Personal Numbers can be used to offer a variety of services. What these different uses have in common is that they offer a service to the person being called.

9. Services which allocate 070 numbers with the intention that the calling party sets the number to be called, rather than the receiving party, are not therefore Personal Numbering Services. If the end user is not aware that he or she has been allocated an 070 number, benefit does not accrue to the person being called but to the caller and this is not an acceptable use of the 070 range as defined in the Plan.


The end user must be in charge of the destination number

10. Although Personal Numbers were originally designed for people who habitually move location this is not an essential characteristic.

11. However, what all Personal Numbering Services have in common is that it must be the called party who decides which destination the 070 number is routed to. Additionally, if the service that is being offered is the facility to be reached at any chosen destination then the end user must be in charge of changing as well as allocating the destination number.


Promotional material

12. Promotional material must reflect the key characteristics of a Personal Numbering Service as set out above.

13. For example, it is not acceptable to promote 070 numbers as a way of making (as opposed to receiving) international calls.

14. Promotional material or instructions for use may determine whether a particular service constitutes a Personal Numbering Service. In other words, the difference between appropriate and inappropriate use may hinge on the way it is advertised.

15. If the service has the functionality to be used as a Personal Numbering Service, but users are not aware of this functionality, then they will not be able to use it as such. It cannot therefore be considered a Personal Numbering Service. If the service is designed for people who move location, for example, service providers must ensure that instructions for changing the destination number are clear and that every customer receives them.


Management of Personal Numbers

16. The use of 070 numbers for administration of individuals' Personal Numbers does not constitute a Personal Numbering Service in itself.

17. It is not acceptable for service providers to use a single, generic 070 number (ie where everyone dials the same 070 number to access the service) for allocation or management (ie changing the destination number) of other 070 numbers. For generic access to a Personal Numbering Service, an 070 number must not be used. Other ranges (08, or 09, depending on price point) or geographic numbers should be used.

18. Considering the two principles set out above, the benefit (ie being able to receive a Personal Number or change a destination number) accrues to the calling party and not the end user. While it may be argued that the end user has control over the destination number - the other of the key criteria - Oftel does not consider that the range holder or sub allocatee can also be the end user of an 070 number.

19. However, service providers may enable each customer to manage his 070 number (ie changing the destination number) by calling the same 070 number, ie his individual number. In this case, the calling party and the end user are actually the same person. Therefore the benefit of this service does accrue to the end user of the number, and the end user is in control of the number. As it meets both of the criteria above, Oftel considers that this use constitutes an element of a legitimate Personal Numbering Service.


Responsibility for sub-allocated numbers

20. Condition 17.8 of the General Condition states that:

"The Communications Provider shall take all reasonably practicable steps to ensure that its Customers, in using Telephone Numbers, comply with the provisions of this Condition, where applicable, and the provisions of the National Telephone Numbering Plan."

21. Therefore, if sub-allocatees or resellers are not complying with rules it is the range holder's responsibility to ensure that this is remedied. It is therefore in range holders' interests to ensure that resellers are aware of these obligations or to demonstrate why it is not reasonable for them to so do. This should be clear from the Numbering Plan that range holders are required to have by Condition 17.4.


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