Cold Calling and NPV: The New Arcep Dialing Plan explained

*This document is for informational purposes only and is not exhaustive. It is in no way a legal recommendation and is not a substitute for specialist recommendations. It is every person’s responsibility to conform to regulations in effect. Vocalcom will not be held responsible for any damage or consequence resulting from the use of information and data contained in this document.

In order to take into account the evolution of usage and the needs of operators, and also to avoid a shortage of phone numbers, Arcep—the Authority for Regulations of Electronic Communications, Postal Services, and Printed Media Distribution, initiated in 2018 a modernization project for dialing strategies. The project was conducted between December 7, 2021, and February 22, 2022, resulting in a decision in September 2022, for application as of January 1, 2023.

In this manner, Arcep is modifying the national dialing strategy and related management rules, creating in particular a new category for numbers used by automated dialing systems.

In this article, Vocalcom explains Arcep’s new dialing strategy, Verified Universal Numbers, and the impact on telemarketing and outbound dials.

The new Arcep dialing strategy and Verified Universal Numbers in summary

Arcep’s decision n° 2022-1583 concerns the establishment of the national dialing strategy and its management for the French telecommunications industry.

In its decision, Arcep stipulates many changes, especially the dialing strategy. This henceforth includes new dedicated and required numbers for telemarketing activities. For automated outbound call campaigns (in predictive and progressive mode), contact centers must henceforth show a Verified Universal Number.

Verified Universal Numbers belong to specific groups of numbers. They are assigned by Arcep to telecommunications operators who are able to verify and guarantee, for each call, that the display of the Verified Universal Number used was authorized by the purchaser who owns the number.

It concerns 10-digit numbers beginning with:

  • 0162, 0163, 0270, 0271, 0377, 0378, 0424, 0425, 0568, 0569, 0948, 0949 for mainland France
  • 09475 for Guadeloupe, St. Martin, and St. Barths
  • 09476 for French Guiana
  • 09477 for Martinique
  • 09478, 09479 for La Réunion and Mayotte

What are the application fields and exceptions?

The Arcep decision applies to all outbound flows using an automated call system, without taking into account the finality of the telephone call and the recipients (B2B, B2C).

It therefore concerns cold calling, telemarketing, debt collection, surveys and polls, customer service outbound calls, outbound calls for BPOs, public service outbound calls, etc.

Beyond the application of Verified Universal Numbers, Arcep stipulates an exemption of controls for automated call systems which:

  • Place calls or send messages to 5 different telephone numbers or less, during a period of 30 days;
  • Send messages equivalent (at close to 20%) or less to the number of messages received, during a period of 30 days. This therefore means that a company can carry out an outbound campaign by using a regional number (not a Verified Universal Number), if the number of messages sent does not surpass 20% of its inbound traffic.
  • Place calls that are less than or equal to 20% of the number of calls received, during a period of 30 days. This therefore means that a company can carry out an outbound campaign by using a regional number (not a Verified Universal Number), if the number of calls placed does not surpass 20% of its inbound traffic.


Why is the Arcep decision important?

The Arcep decision has different goals that must take into account the implementation in French law of the last code of European electronic communications.

The decision specifically allows:

  • Support of the innovation of new usages: Each year, 11 billion professional SMS messages are sent, 60% of which are notifications (appointment reminders, package deliveries, etc.) and 40% of which correspond to pure business operations. By introducing the Verified Universal Number, Arcep takes into account the development of new mobile usage, without risking a shortage of 10-digit mobile phone numbers.
  • The introduction of measures designed to reinforce the protection of users against fraud and misuse: many misuses have been flagged these past several years. We can consider the example of the CPF account scam, which has proliferated since the first lockdown in 2020. According to Orange, the number of unwanted calls received by mobile phone users every month went from 8 in 2020 to 11 in 2021, and then 13 in 2022. In addition, according to the Caisse des Dépôts, a French public sector financial institution, more than 15,000 fraudulent uses of CPF accounts have been detected since 2019, resulting in damages surpassing 27 million euros. “In order to limit the problems of end users receiving unwanted calls and messages,” Arcep adopted measures ensuring end users reinforced protection in the face of increased volume of calls and messages that automated call systems are capable of producing. The use of Verified Universal Numbers and the dialing of 09 for exchanges with technical platforms are in place in part to complicate the lives of fraudsters.
  • Reinforced trust between individuals: Laure de la Raudière, President of Arcep, highlights the importance of having “trusted numbers that must only be used for interpersonal interactions.” Thanks to this new dialing strategy, she wishes to “clarify things.” She therefore hopes that this will “limit the risk of phone number fraud and allow us to deal with fraudsters more easily.”
  • Avoiding a shortage of numbers: the new dialing strategy aims to avoid a shortage of 06 and 07 phone numbers in the years to come. In mainland France, the attribution rate of mobile phone numbers is already around 90%, which means that only some tens of millions of 06 and 07 numbers are available. The attribution of Verified Universal Numbers for cold calling allows for better management of rare dialing resources.
  • This law protects customers from unwanted calls: the dialing being specific, customers can choose to never respond to Verified Universal Numbers, for example.

The impact on cold calling (and the contact center industry)

Of course, this new framework of automated call systems brings behavioral and operational changes and impacts cold calling.

Regional or national numbers can no longer be used since January 1, 2023. Operators must therefore use Verified Universal Numbers for their telemarketing campaigns.

This will, of course, have an impact on KPIs, since it is highly likely that the number of calls accepted by end users will decrease, but the quality and therefore the ROI will increase. People will accept the calls. Therefore, the most important point is: The customer relationship is evolving. The end users will henceforth have more protection, flexibility, and control over the manner in which they are contacted. Trust in brands and companies will only be reinforced.

For contact and telemarketing centers, one question must be asked: Is this the end of outbound calls? Of course not! Learn how Vocalcom can support you in this area.

How Vocalcom supports its customers

Vocalcom, an expert in customer service and specifically outbound call campaigns for 25 years, is available to help you during this transition phase. Our specific knowledge of regulations linked to telecommunication services, in particular in the French market, allows us to offer you solutions which are easy and ready to use. The Vocalcom offer has become enriched with a new type of service to have Verified Universal Numbers at your disposition.

We have an offer for Verified Universal Numbers (NPV) and are available to advise and support you.

Interested in our solutions?

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