The MCA is the National Regulatory Authority (NRA) responsible for the development and administration of the National Numbering Plan. The MCA takes the view that numbering should be organised for the benefit of end-users and support the latest market developments/needs.
The MCA has established a framework that provides the necessary support, guidance and monitoring in order to ensure adherence with the implemented measures by both the service providers as well as end-users.
The National Numbering Plan
The National Numbering Plan provides the necessary framework which delineates the award of rights of use, as well as the conditions for the use of numbering resources.
Information on Numbering Resources
The MCA also publishes and keeps constantly updated a summary of all national numbering allocations, a short code matrix, and other information on harmonised European short codes (that is, short codes in the 116 XXX range).
National Numbering Conventions
The purpose of the National Numbering Conventions is to have in place defined procedures which specify the responsibilities of different stakeholders to ensure that allocated numbers put in service in an objective, transparent, and timely manner.
Freephone and Premium Rate Services
The MCA has also put in place frameworks which apply to:
- Premium Rate Services, which are those services that are accessible by means of a number in the Maltese Numbering Plan starting with a ‘5’ digit, where the charge is higher than for normal telephone calls or text messages, and where some of the charge is passed to the premium rate service provider at the distant end.
- Freephone numbers in the 800 range, where the caller is not charged for the call/SMS if made from a fixed network. The framework also allows the optional possibility whereby calls are not charged whether from a fixed or mobile network.
- Numbering Resources for M2M/IoT Connectivity Services (and other Non-Interpersonal Communications Services (Non-ICS)).
Number portability refers to the ability of end-users subscribed to voice communications services to retain their telephone number when they change their service provider.
The key premise behind number portability is that subscribers are predominantly reluctant to change their telephone number. The absence of number portability can therefore be a major inconvenience and a potential barrier, preventing users from taking advantage of the available options in a developed competitive telecommunications market. Indeed, having to change one’s telephone number may create a barrier to switch provider, and give incumbent providers significant competitive advantages over new entrants in the market.
The MCA has published an extensive set of documents that define the requirements associated with Number Portability and various related processes.