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Number Issuance Monitor: ACM’s interventions result in increased availability of mobile phone numbers

14-04-2020

For the first time in years, the percentage of mobile phone numbers (06 series) that are currently in use has fallen below 90 percent. This is one of the conclusions of the Number Issuance Monitor that the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) published today. Through various interventions, ACM withdrew numbers that had not been in use, thereby alleviating the pressure on the number of available mobile phone numbers in the future.

ACM has analyzed the use of 06-numbers (in the Netherlands, mobile phones are assigned 06-numbers) that were issued to telecom operators. It turned out that they still had scores of numbers in stock. At the request of ACM, these operators returned approximately 1,460,000 numbers. After a ‘cooling-down period’, these numbers will become available again for ACM to reissue. This period prevents a new number user from being called by people who are trying to reach the previous number user. When these numbers become available again after one year (the ‘cooling-down period’), the issuance rate will, for the first time since 2012, fall below 90 percent.

Stricter oversight over directory assistance services

The amount of directory assistance numbers (for subscribers and those for the general public) that is in use has been decreasing for years now. ACM conducts strict oversight over the assignment of these numbers to make sure that the right number is used for the right service. In 2019, ACM published Guidelines on the prevention of misleading practices with regard to directory assistance services. In these guidelines, ACM provides a detailed explanation as well as recommendations on how directory assistance providers are able to prevent misleading practices vis-à-vis consumers. Requests for numbers in the 090x series and 18xy series, both of which are used for directory assistance services, are assessed on the basis of these guidelines.

ACM’s role

ACM manages the supply of all phone numbers in the Netherlands, and, upon request, assigns numbers such as directory assistance numbers, business numbers, and numbers that operators can give their customers. In the number plans of the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy (EZK), it has been laid down what number series should be used for different applications. A limited amount of numbers is available for each category. ACM conducts oversight over the use of these numbers. The Number Issuance Monitor is an annual monitor in which ACM reports on the trends and developments regarding the issuance of numbers. The purpose of this monitor is to provide insight into the availability of number so that the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy is able to respond in a timely manner to potential shortages, and to make changes to a number plan, if necessary.

See also

14-4-2020 Number Issuance Monitor 2019 (in Dutch)