Anacom launches consultation for new numbering for VoIP services

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Anacom has just announced the launch of a public consultation on Voice over IP (VoIP) services where it addresses a series of concerns that have been raised by national service providers and that have also been in the sights of international regulators. Among the main issues under consultation, the possibility of opening a new numbering range, with the indicator 30, stands out, distinguishing the numbers of VoIP services from landlines and designating the first as «nomadic use services».

Anacom justifies this option by the fact that the numbering range «2», used in the fixed network, is restricted to a fixed location, being, for example, 21 for Lisbon, 22 for Porto and 275 for Covilhã. VoIP service providers are prevented from using a range of geographic numbers, even with redirection guaranteed by another telecommunications operator, which is considered highly harmful by these companies.

Among the preliminary positions put forward by Anacom in this consultation is also the mandatory forwarding of calls to emergency services (112). It is recalled that this is an issue that has generated a lot of controversy in the United States due to the new e911 standard, which indicates the geographical location of those who call for emergencies and that must be ensured by VoIP operators.

Other sensitive issues, also in consultation, refer to the interconnection, integrity and security of the network, quality of service and information that VoIP service providers must provide to end users – namely with regard to the use of numbering -, portability of number, access and possible limitations to emergency services and quality of service.

In a statement, Anacom admits that VoIP services are already a reality in Portugal, contributing to greater competition and diversity of services. With the consultation, the regulator «intends to ensure a regulatory approach to VoIP consistent with the regulatory objectives enshrined in the law, namely, the promotion of competition, the incentive to the development of innovative, diversified and quality services, the defense of the interests of users ( highlighting, in particular, the guarantee of providing users with correct, relevant and updated information) and the effective use of numbering resources «, the same document also states.

The consultation will continue for thirty days, during which sector stakeholders are invited to submit their comments.

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