New Ofcom Rules for Number allocations

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Ofcom introduces its consumer protection test for future allocation of telephone numbers

Ofcom has today set out new restrictions in the way it will issue telephone numbers to communications providers.

The Consumer Protection Test for telephone number allocation will prohibit the allocation of 070 personal numbers, 0871/2/3 special service higher rate numbers and 09 premium rate numbers by Ofcom to anyone who appears on either of two lists.

The lists, which will be published on the Ofcom website, will name companies and individuals that have in the past used telephone numbers to cause serious or repeated harm to consumers or are involved in cases that we are currently investigating.

In compiling the lists, Ofcom will assess individuals and companies (including company directors) that have come to its attention by being subject to a decision from a relevant authority (such as PhonepayPlus, the Office of Fair Trading or the police) and where telephone numbers were central to the behaviour that led to the decision concerned.

Scams, frauds and other abuses carried out by individuals and companies using telephone numbers cause serious consumer harm and threaten confidence in certain numbers.

From 1 January 2009, the test will apply to numbers newly allocated by Ofcom to communications providers. Ofcom will allow communications providers to take a self-regulatory approach to introducing a similar consumer protection test in their own number allocation processes and strongly encourages providers to do so. Ofcom will monitor progress to see if this approach is sufficient and will consider additional regulation where necessary.

The full statement can be found at:

About Ofcom

Ofcom is responsible for managing the UK's telephone numbers and for ensuring that best use is made of this resource. Ofcom allocates telephone numbers to a broad range of providers who may then sub-allocate them to organisations, businesses and individuals to use themselves.