The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM), the Dutch telecom regulator, has received reports that Dutch 097-numbers (or +31-97 with the international code for the Netherlands) in other European countries can be poorly reached. Several providers outside the Netherlands do not recognize these numbers, and are under the impression that these are premium-rate numbers. This situation harms Dutch businesses and consumers, and is also in violation of European laws.
With the information below, ACM seeks to inform non-Dutch providers about Dutch 097-numbers.
What are 097-numbers?
097-numbers are used for data applications, for example navigational systems or mobile broadband dongles for laptops, also referred to as machine-to-machine (M2M). 097-numbers always have 12 digits.
Why do these 097-numbers exist?
Until 2014, the Netherlands used the 06-prefix for mobile telephony and for data applications. In recent years however, mobile telephony has grown tremendously, creating a shortage of these 06-numbers. In order to prevent the supply of 06-numbers from depleting, the 097-numbers were introduced. Since 2014, Dutch telecom providers have been required to use 097-numbers for mobile-data applications with automated applications. The 06 prefix can only be used for mobile handheld connectivity and calling.
Are 097-numbers premium-rate numbers?
No, 097-numbers are similar to 06-numbers. In many countries, telecom authorities use the 09(x)-prefix for premium-rate numbers. As a result, operators sometimes prevent calls made to numbers starting with these 09(x)-prefixes. However, Dutch numbers with the 097-prefix should not be regarded as premium-rate numbers, and should be made accessible, just like other, regular number series from the Netherlands. Under Article 28 of the Universal Service Directive, any number starting with the 097-prefix must be accessible from any network in the EU.
What can you do?
As a roaming partner of a Dutch operator, you can set up a voice and SMS connection towards prefix +31-97 in the same way as you have done already with the +31-6 series. Numbers in the +31-97 series are two digits longer than numbers in the +31-6 series, for example: +3197012345678. As numbers in the +31-97 series can be used for emergency applications, such as wearables for children and elderly people as well as for eCall systems in cars, you should enable your systems for voice telephony for the numbers in the +31-97 series.
If you have any further questions, please contact your Dutch partner. The Dutch Telephone and ISDN Services Numbering Plan can be found on the website of the Dutch government.