Code of Practice for numbers in 'closed' ranges
The Code of Practice (CoP) governs the provision of service on number ranges in use but not open for new business, eg 0500 and 0800 6-digit numbers. It also covers numbers in migration ranges that are closed to new business, eg parts of the 0845 and 0870 number ranges. The CoP is to be observed by operators with allocations of numbers in closed/migration ranges and by operators in receipt of numbers ported from such ranges.
The CoP comes into force on 1 December 2001.
Purpose of the CoP
The CoP is intended to make clear circumstances where operators may transfer ownership of numbers, or permit provision of service on numbers, in closed/migration ranges. By observing the CoP, it is believed that operators can abide by the Numbering Conventions, whilst also being able to assist customers who are in genuine need of transferring ownership or having service provided on numbers in closed ranges. If a number in a closed/migration range is not in service/reserved for another customer, and an operator is approached by a customer requesting provision of service or transfer of ownership of that number, the operator can use the CoP to decide whether the customer's request is permissible.
Putting the CoP into effect
In the spirit of co-regulation, Oftel expects operators to observe the CoP and make case by case decisions without the need for prior agreement from Oftel.
Operators with numbers (allocated to them or imported) in ranges covered by the CoP should maintain a record of activity conducted in accordance with the CoP. Oftel may request sight of the record as part of the Annual Numbering Return (Audit) or randomly, should it need to assess activity on numbers in closed ranges.
In addition to the CoP, operators are reminded to observe the Non-Geographic Number Portability End-to-End Process Manual. Section 9.5 of Version 7.1 states that 'under the rules of NGNP, if a customer ceases service on a ported number, the recipient operator must return the number to the range holder'. Operators should refer to the Process Manual for details on when a number can be re-assigned.
Closed number ranges
Non-geographic number ranges that do not conform to the 10-digit UK Specified Numbering Scheme are no longer open for provision of service. The ranges are not consistent with the Numbering Conventions, which state that the national numbering scheme is a 10-digit scheme (excluding the national dialling prefix '0') and has specific S-digits to identify each numbering range, e.g. 08 for Special Services and 09 for Premium Rate numbering.
Number ranges allocated for migration purposes
Although in open number ranges, operators are reminded that some numbers allocated for the purpose of migration as part of the National Code and Number Change were allocated with the condition that the numbers should only be used for migration purposes and not for new business. Such blocks are shown on the Specified Numbering Scheme as 'Allocated for Migration only'. Unless Oftel agrees to the change of use and amends the status of the number block to 'Allocated', operators are not permitted to allow provision of service for new business. Should a customer request provision of service on a number in a migration range, it should be handled as a number in a closed range and be dealt with according to the provisions in the CoP. Operators may facilitate a change of ownership.
Circumstances where provision of service may be permitted
Provision of service on numbers in closed/migration ranges may be permitted in the following circumstances:
- Where a customer advertises incorrectly an unallocated number in a closed range, the operator may provide Changed Number Announcement (CNA) for12 months or the life span of the publication, whichever is shorter. Should the number be for a facsimile service, the operator may provide live service for a maximum of 3 months;
- Where a customer advertises incorrectly an unallocated number in a migration only range, the operator may provide live service for a maximum of 3 months;
- Where a customer ceases a number in a closed range in error, the operator may allow a 3-month window during which the customer, upon becoming aware of the error, may request resumption of live service. Between 3-6 months following a cessation in error an operator may, at a customer's request, grant CNA for a limited period of up to 12 months, but may not re-provide live service;
- Where a customer terminates a geographic number, on which a number in a closed number range terminates, and the operator then terminates the closed range number, the operator may allow a 3-month window during which the customer, upon becoming aware of the error, may request resumption of live service. Between 3-6 months following a cessation in error, an operator may, at a customer's request, grant CNA for a limited period of up to 12 months, but may not re-provide live service; or
- Where the situation is one of national security or one that could be potentially life threatening, for example, a wrongly advertised emergency number to report gas links, the operator may permit the provision of live service on the number. Written evidence of the nature of the service must be provided to the operator.
Circumstances where transfer of ownership may be permitted
The transfer of ownership of numbers in closed number ranges may be permitted in the following circumstances:
- Where a company who's advertising has been managed by a telemarketing bureau wishes to end that relationship and transfer the number(s) into its own name or the name of an alternative bureau;
- Where a controlling interest has been acquired in a customer's business and trading is continuing, the numbers may be transferred into the name of the holding business;
- Where a business changes name but the long term user remains the same; or
- Where the businesses are part of the same company group (a parent undertaking and its subsidiary undertakings as defined in Section 262(1) of the Companies Act 1985);
'Cease and re-provide' orders may not be granted on numbers in closed ranges unless one of the above conditions is met. Therefore, services that require numbers in closed ranges to be ceased and re-provided, such as aggregation of numbers, must also meet the conditions in the CoP.
In order for transfer of ownership to be permitted, the operator should ensure that it is in receipt of written authority from the original renter of the number, has evidence of the long-term use of the number and is in possession of any other relevant documentation that justifies the transfer.
Circumstances outside the parameters of the CoP
Cases with circumstances that do not fall within the parameters the CoP, but which have particular merits that cause operators to believe that they should be treated as special cases, should be brought to the attention of Oftel prior to a decision being made by the operator.
Administration of the CoP
Queries regarding the CoP and circumstances beyond its parameters should be addressed to the Numbering Unit. Oftel may review the CoP from time to time, either on its own initiative or upon request in writing from an operator.
Issue1:1 December 2001