Monday, May 30, 2005

VON Europe 2005 Telecom Policy (Part 3) - Numbering Resources 

This part deals with numbering resources for VoIP:

The implementation of specific number ranges for personal nomadic usage for VoIP and for special purposes like ENUM should be encouraged. These number ranges enable new services, provide information to emergency services call takers and provide enough number space.

Nevertheless, VoIP providers require mainly because of customer demand (rational or non-rational) access to geographic number resources, both via porting-in and also with new number blocks. These geographic numbers should not only be available for residents, but also for non-residents.

There should be a consistent ruling at least within in Europe regarding access and obligations for geographic numbers, especially for multi-national or globally acting VoIP providers.

Arguments pro and con should also be backed by facts:
  • what is the current usage of numbers?
  • what are the current trends considering fixed to mobile migration?
  • what can be expected within the next five years if non-residentials are allowed?
Some problems are also caused be the current minimum blocksizes (e.g 10000). Can the block-sizes assigned to VoIP providers be reduced or can there be an bundled assignement to a group of providers? It is possible to assign these number ranges per user, so the whole number range can be assigned flat.

This requires either an All-Call-Query IN solution or an ENUM based solution. The number range 0780 is ENUM-based and has a "blocksize" of 1 number.

More creativity (and good will) is requested here.

One additional regulatory problem was not discussed yet, but is lurking in the dark of European regulation:

If fixed-mobile convergence providing one number (see Onephone for All Breakout Session on Tuesday) is to be taken serious, this would cause to have both GSM and Wifi access on one device reachable via one number.

This implies that you either use a fixed (or personal) number on a mobile phone or a mobile number on a fixed phone. It is then the customers choice to port a mobile number to a fixed network or a fixed number to a mobile network. This problem has not even been touched yet in Europe.

Note: US readers may not know what I am talking about, because the have already fixed-to-mobile number portability, simply because there ARE NO mobile number ranges. All mobile phones use also geographic numbers.

This is basically what ETSI TISPAN IMS NGN is all about, but nobody there has this recognized yet (but there are other more important issues they have not considered yet).

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