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Sufficient numbers for mobile phones still available despite continued increasing demand

In the Netherlands, mobile phones are assigned 06-numbers. The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) expects that sufficient 06-numbers will still be available over the next few years. However, the number of assigned 06-numbers continues to increase. In 2014, the percentage of 06-numbers that have already been assigned rose from 90.0 percent to 90.7 percent, which corresponds to over 53 million numbers. In addition, the share of fixed telephone lines that are in use also increased in 2014, from 23.1 percent to 23.9 percent. These are some of the conclusions of ACM’s 2014 Scarcity Report (in Dutch: Schaarsterapportage). Henk Don, Member of the Board of ACM, explains: "ACM wishes to discourage improper use of 06-numbers. Those that use an 06-number for devices other than mobile phones such as payment terminals or vending machines should actually use an 097-number instead. In that way, we can prevent a shortage of 06-numbers."

097-numbers

From now on, telecom providers are allowed to use 06-numbers for mobile phones only, otherwise they will run out of these numbers too fast. For machine-to-machine applications, they will have to use 097-numbers. These numbers are available for devices that exchange data using an internet connection. Such devices include tablets, GPS navigation devices, and underground waste containers. According to ACM, applications like these are expected to continue to grow rapidly. This could put too much pressure on the number of available 06-numbers. From now on, ACM will check whether telecom providers use 097-numbers for such devices instead of 06-numbers. ACM will launch a campaign this fall, promoting the proper use of 06-numbers and 097-numbers.

Telecom providers do not need to switch existing contacts to 097-numbers. They only need to change an 06-number to an 097-number when the consumer or business customer in question takes out a new contract with them or when they renew their current contracts.

About the Scarcity Report

In the annual Scarcity Report, ACM reports on the numbers it has issued, and gives an overview of the availability of numbers. ACM manages the supply of phone numbers in the Netherlands. The number plans of the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs specify which number can be used for which purpose. Based on these number plans, ACM assigns numbers, and oversees the use thereof.