The French telecoms regulator Arcep has published a press release reminding all mobile operators who are members of the EGP-EIG (the body responsible for managing mobile number portability [MNP] in the country) of their non-discrimination and transparency obligations regarding portability. The regulator notes that since the arrival of fresh competition in the shape of Free Mobile on 12 January, EGP-EIG and mobile operators alike have been contending with an upsurge in MNP requests, which have increased from an average 12,000 a day in 2011, to 40,000 today – the current system’s maximum capacity. Indeed, Arcep reports that on 13 January it informed EGP-EIG of ‘the urgent need to implement all of the means necessary to handle this exceptional surge in the number of portability requests’.

The regulator has therefore welcomed a joint announcement from the cellcos and EGP-EIG on Friday 27 January that they have agreed in principle to increase the system’s processing capacity to 80,000 portability requests per day, in an incremental fashion to avoid putting the MNP system in France in peril. Arcep has also invited operators to increase the capacity of their respective information systems proportionately. Furthermore, the chairman of the regulatory authority has sent a memo to all concerned, reminding them that, in accordance with the applicable rules, they must ‘ensure compliance with the principle of non-discrimination and provide consumers with clear and transparent information on how mobile number portability requests are processed’.