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On 1 April 2012, Moldova will switch over to the "closed" type of numbering plan, which provides for a new format of dialing the fixed telephone numbers. Thus, users of fixed telephone services will have to call fixed telephone numbers from their place of residence or other geographic zones of Moldova (municipalities, district) by dialing 9 digits (national prefix "0" + geographical area code + subscriber number) instead of 5 - 6 digits as it used to be to date. This was the message delivered during the today’s briefing (photo), by Sergiu Sitnic, Director of the National Regulatory Agency for Electronic Communications and Information Technology (ANRCETI).
The new format of dialing telephone numbers is called "closed" in technical terms, whereas the old one - "open". Several EU countries, such as Belgium, Italy, Romania, Latvia, Estonia have already switched to the "closed" format. Moldova’s switchover is a requirement of the new National Numbering Plan (PNN), developed by ANRCETI and approved by the Ministry of Information Technology and Communications (MTIC), by its order No. 93 of 25.11.2011. The document also provides for the allocation of numbering resources from range "3" of numbers for fixed telephone service provision.
Sergiu Sîtnic noted that in order to enforce the new PNN and synchronize the actions undertaken by fixed telephone providers to implement the "closed" format of dialing numbers from range "2", ANRCETI has approved an action plan to this effect. The plan provides for technical modifications at telephone exchanges, testing, launching the new format in due date along with a campaign to make subscribers aware of the changes. This week, providers of public fixed telephone networks/services reported to the Agency about the modifications applied to their exchanges, the positive results of tests and their availability to implement the new dialing format in due date.
The “closed” type of dialing fixed subscriber numbers is similar to the 9-digit format, currently used for mobile telephony. For example, residents of Chisinau will have to call Chisinau fixed numbers by dialing 0+22+6-digit subscriber number, or residents of Cahul or Briceni districts, in order to call fixed numbers in the same districts will have to dial „0+299+5-digit subscriber number” or „0+247+5-digit subscriber number" accordingly.
The change of dialing format was necessary because of scarcity of free numbering resources, currently allocated from range “2”. The scarcity is the result of the intensifying increase in the demand for new resources, especially with regards to the alternative providers, mainly offering triple-play services (Internet, TV and telephony). In 2011, about 40 thousand numbers were allocated to alternative providers only in Chisinau and Balti municipalities. The analysis of the applications submitted to ANRCETI in request for numbering resources show that increased demand will persist in the years to come.
As range ”2” numbering resources intended for allocation to alternative fixed telephone providers are exhausting, which factor may hinder the development of the market, the necessity arose to open range “3” for allocation. Sitnic reported that the issue of shortage of numbering resources was discussed at a number of meetings organized by the MITC and ANRCETI, attended by providers of fixed telephone networks and services. He emphasized that the latter supported the proposal to assign resources from range “3” and apply the "closed" format of dialing of fixed numbers.
Sîtnic also explained that the action plan approved by ANRCETI provides for a 3-month transition timeframe – from April 1 to June 30, 2012 – during which subscribers will have the possibility to use both formats of dialing. The transition timeframe was allotted for subscribers to get used to the new format of dialing. During the three months the providers are required to inform their subscribers about the changes, by means of answering machines, every time when fixed numbers are dialed. As of July 1, 2012, subscribers will be able to use only the new “closed” format of dialing fixed numbers.
ANRCETI Director expressed confidence that fixed telephone users will easily learn the new 9-digit format as fast the mobile users that have been using the 9-digit format since 2003, when Moldova implemented a new Numbering Plan.
March 29, 2012