Notice of commencement of procedure to create a specific numbering range in the PNN for M2M services

/ Updated on 24.07.2019

Under the terms of and for the purposes of paragraph 1 of article 98 of Código do Procedimento Administrativo (Administrative Proceeding Code), it is announced that:

Pursuant to the powers established by point a), b), f) and h) of paragraph 1 of article 8 and exercising the powers and responsibilities which are laid down in point a) of paragraph 2 of article 9 and point b) of paragraph 1 of article 26 of its Statutes (approved by Decree-Law no. 39/2015 of 16 March, the Board of Directors of Autoridade Nacional de Comunicações (ANACOM), in pursuit of the regulatory objectives set out in points a) and c) of paragraph 1 of article 5 and under points a), b) and d) of paragraph 2 of article 17, paragraph 1 of article 27 and paragraph 1 of article 125, all of Law no. 5/2004 of 10 February, in its current version, (LCE - Lei das Comunicações Eletrónicas – Electronic Communications Law), decided, on 30 May 2019, to commence a regulatory procedure for the creation of a specific numbering range in the PNN - Plano Nacional de Numeração (National Numbering Plan) for machine-to-machine (M2M) services.

In recent years, there has been rapid development of services that make use of M2M communications and the advent of the Internet of Things (IoT).

These services are for communications which are automatically processed between machines on electronic communications networks, with little or no human intervention, and are therefore included within the definition of electronic communications services (point ff) of article 3 of the LCE).

Although not all communications or services of this type require numbering, a significant impact on the PNN is expected over the short to medium term, with the implementation of certain applications, services or technologies that will require a significant volume of numbers, such as eCall.

Indeed, with the future implementation of 5G technology, an even more significant increase in the use of objects, devices, sensors and other connected equipment is expected in a number of areas, such as transport, energy, research and development, health, public security and disaster relief.

Furthermore, the different marketing models and the different types of applications show that numbering resources for M2M communications will be important not only to electronic communications service providers but also to other organisations involved in the value chain of M2M services, such as application development companies or manufacturers of objects, devices, sensors and other connected equipment.

The implementation of these services has been increasing in a way that has not gone unrecognised in the review of the regulatory framework applicable to the electronic communications sector.

In this regard, Directive (EU) 2018/1972 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 December 2018, establishing the European Electronic Communications Code, expressly states (point c) of paragraph 4 of article 2) that the concept of an electronic communications service includes "(...) services consisting wholly or mainly in the conveyance of signals such as transmission services used for the provision of machine-to-machine services", which are referred to in Recital 249 as "(...) services involving an automated transfer of data and information between devices or software-based applications with limited or no human interaction".

The Directive also allows allocation of "(...) rights of use for numbering resources from the national numbering plans for the provision of specific services to undertakings other than providers of electronic communications networks or services" (see paragraph 2 of article 93, considering in particular "(...) the increasing relevance of numbers for various Internet of Things services” (see Recital 250).

In this scenario of intrepid evolution, it is likely that the high number of connected devices and their inherent mass level of usage will lead to a significant increase in demand for numbering for M2M services, making it unsustainable to use the current ranges of the mobile telephone service which have been used for this purpose (i.e., the "91", "92", "93" and "96" ranges).

In order to prevent potential depletion of the PNN and to safeguard the current use of the "9" range for the mobile telephone service, as well as to address other issues arising in the near future in relation to provision of services of this kind, specifically the extraterritorial use of numbering resources and the possibility of allocation to undertakings other than providers of electronic communications services, ANACOM deems it necessary to create a specific numbering range in the PNN for M2M services, including the resources needed to provide IoT services and the eCall service.

Accordingly, the current regulatory procedure is aimed at defining the respective PNN numbering range, the format of the numbers to be used for the purpose, including their length, the conditions for allocation of the corresponding rights of use and the conditions associated with the use of the numbers, including, but not limited to, those relating to portability and extraterritorial use. It is also intended to establish a transitional period in order to ensure a gradual migration to the new range of numbering associated with M2M services as currently provided using other numbering ranges. This is the case of the mobile broadband service which is defined according to its characteristics within the concept of M2M services.

Interested parties may submit contributions and suggestions to ANACOM as to what should be considered in the preparation of this regulation. Contributions (in writing and in Portuguese) should be sent by email to no later than 26 June 2018. Any items considered confidential should be indicated, and a non-confidential version presented.

At a later date, interested parties will have opportunity to express their views on the draft Regulation which will be submitted to public consultation in accordance with article 10 of ANACOM's Statutes following publication on ANACOM's institutional website (www.anacom.pt

ANACOM will consider the comments and suggestions made by the interested parties, taking them into account in drawing up the Regulation in question.