The Irish regulatory authority ComReg has issued a set of draft modifications to the National Numbering Conventions (Version 5.0 of the Conventions). The modifications are mainly intended to enable providers of VoIP-enabled services to use Irish numbering resources for the provision of their services.

Other issues are addressed as well (alterations to the Premium Rate Service numbering scheme, reserved text numbers, enquiry service numbers, etc.) but these are not discussed in this T-REGS news item.

Throughout the new draft National Numbering Conventions, modifications are proposed in order to allow service providers to have primary access to number resources, whereas previously this was limited to network operators.

Both geographic and non-geographic number ranges are available for the provision of VoIP-enabled services, consistent with the policy developed by ComReg since October 2004. For background information, please refer to previous T-REGS news items.

Use of geographic numbers

Geographic numbers may only be used within their designated geographic numbering areas and may only be allocated to entities located within those areas. Call forwarding is not considered to be a violation of the Conventions and "genuine and short-term nomadic operation" in the case of VoIP services is also allowed. 

Use of IP-based numbers: the 076 number range

The 076 number range is a range of IP-based numbers, which are designated for use with services in which termination to the user normally occurs using IP-related protocols but where an E.164 number is required for termination or in order to reach a gateway between the PSTN and another network.

The 076 numbers may be assigned by network operators and service providers to individuals as well as to termination points. IP-based ranges may be used over indefinite periods outside of Ireland (as opposed to geographic numbers) for VoIP or similar purposes...

Individual 076 numbers may be assigned to individuals, but block allocations of 076 numbers will only be made to undertakings based in Ireland. These are expected to allocate individual numbers to their subscribers. These subscribers should be based in Ireland or the undertaking must at least make sure that their end-users have "genuine associations with Ireland". The “distribution of inappropriate quantities of these numbers in a wasteful fashion” will be considered an abuse.

Calls to emergency services

PATS providers must provide access to emergency services, but ECS providers who have been allocated numbers form the national numbering plan must either assure that their users can call the emergency service numbers 999 and 112 or inform their end-users that the emergency service numbers are not available. These end-users should also be informed of any other limitation on service provision, “compared to what would reasonable be expected from a traditional PATS service”.

Number portability

Number portability (for geographic as well as non-geographic numbers) is obligatory for PATS providers. ECS providers may only apply for numbers from the national numbering plan if they accept the portability conditions specified in ComReg 04/103 for ECS (this is valid for all ECS services, also the ones comprising VoIP). However, number portability has been deferred until January 2007 for 076 numbers (unless substantial growth in use of those numbers occurs swiftly).

Transmission of CLI

The CLI transmitted with a telephone call should be the assigned a geographic or IP-based number for the calling party, except in clearly justified cases where permission has exceptionally been given by ComReg (Numbering Advisory Panel document NAP 80 (available from ComReg) and the ETP guidelines2)

The Irish Draft National Numbering Conventions can be accessed by clicking here.