0871 Numbers to become Premium Rate Regulated

The new chair of the FCS Numbering Group, Kieron James, is alerting all numbering suppliers and resellers to Ofcom’s proposals on the regulation of 0871 numbers.

As a part of its final statement, “NTS: A way Forward”, Ofcom is now proposing that 0871 numbers should be regulated by the Premium Rate Services regulator, ICSTIS, which will, in effect, mean that services using the 0871 number range will have similar obligations as those using 09 numbers.

ICSTIS has signalled its agreement in principle to extend the scope of its regulation through its approved Code to 0871 numbers and intends to consult on:

• the provisions of its Code of Practice that should apply to 0871 numbers;
• the funding mechanism; and
• whether a new ‘brand’ should be adopted for 0871 regulation.

ICSTIS hopes to publish its consultation by early 2007.

In order to implement this proposal, Ofcom will need to extend the definition of those services which are currently defined as Controlled PRS, as set out in Ofcom’s PRS Condition in order to ensure that it has equivalent backstop powers to enforce ICSTIS regulation of 0871 numbers. Ofcom intends to issue a consultation during the interim period setting out its proposals in detail in sufficient time to complete the consultation and implement the changes at the end of the interim period.

Once ICSTIS has finalised its new Code of Practice, Ofcom will also need to consult on whether to approve it.

The new FCS Numbering Group will be considering the implications of these proposals and how to respond to them at the next meeting of the group, which will be held on 16th May in London.

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