The Dutch regulatory authority OPTA has today opened the 088- number range to companies and administrations. These organisations (i.e. end-users rather than operators) can, from today, request the assignment of numbers from this range (which is officially named “number for access to undertakings and administrations - nummers voor toegang tot ondernemingen en instellingen").

The usage conditions of the new number range make it possible to use the same “area code” in different locations, i.e. it is no longer necessary to use a geographically significant prefix, which is intended to increase customer recognition and caller comfort. It is also allowed to use this numbers for mobile applications (i.e. the numbers can be implemented by a mobile operator). With regard to this application, there is however an alleged problem vis-à-vis the termination of SMS messages.

The numbers can only be requested by end-users (i.e. they are not accessible to private consumers and operators cannot use them to provide services to third parties or for resale), and an undertaking or administration can only request numbers for the organisation itself (third party requests are not allowed).

The request form (in Dutch only) can be accessed by clicking here.

OPTA will start to assign the requested numbers on 21 Oct 2004. There are 10 million numbers available. If there are (directly or indirectly) overlapping requests, the numbers will be assigned by means of an auction procedure to which the requesting parties will be invited. The auction method used will be a closed-envelope “second-price right-to-choose”, whereby the numbers will go to the highest bidding party, but this party only pays the price bid by the second-in-running.

The detailed rules regarding the auction procedure (in Dutch only) can be accessed by clicking here.

A model bidding card (in Dutch only) can be accessed by clicking here.

The auction procedure will only be applicable for the first six months following 21 Oct 2004. After this period, overlapping requests will be settled through a lottery.

The charge for the assignment of 088-numbers is 45 Euro one-off (assignment) for a batch of 100 numbers and an annual fee of 20 Euro will be applicable to cover the administration costs. The numbers will be allocated in batches of 100 consecutive numbers (in principle, but exceptions may be requested; these will be evaluated by OPTA). Parties requesting less than 100 numbers will be allocated a batch of 100 numbers regardless. Participation in an auction or lottery will be subject to an administrative fee of 200 Euro.