The President of UKE imposed a fine on 4Carriers sp. z o.o. for changing international telephone numbers into domestic ones
03 January 2019
The President of UKE determined that when transiting international connections 4Carriers systematically changed the numbers initiating such connections from international to domestic ones (e.g. from +44 to +48), using numbers assigned to other telecommunications undertakings. For this infringement, the President of UKE imposed on 4Carriers a fine of a total value of PLN 2.2m.
The unchangeability of telephone numbers throughout the entire connection route is a legal requirement. Changing such numbers is allowed only in strictly defined cases and consists in using the so-called “technical numbers”. Apart from the exceptional situations provided for by the law, such actions constitute an infringement of the Telecommunications Act and are subject to fines.
When transiting voice connections within its network, 4Carriers changed international numbers into domestic ones in order to obtain financial gains: the change made it possible to route such connections to the interconnection links of Orange Polska S.A. This manner of inter-operator settlement is economically very advantageous for the operator using the interconnection links as the operator only needs to pay to Orange Polska a lump sum. According to the law and inter-operator agreements, only domestic connections may be routed to the interconnection links in Orange Polska. International connections should be routed to other links and settled at higher rates. 4Carriers’ changing of the numbers initiating phone calls was aimed at concealing the real initiating number and obtaining an undue economic advantage at the cost of Orange Polska.
The practices of 4Carriers had a negative impact on competition on the telecommunications market, as well as on telecommunications security. Changing the number may prevent the identification of the entity initiating the telephone call and of the source of the network, thus hampering the activities of relevant authorities.
While assessing the hitherto operations of 4Carriers, the President of UKE took into consideration that the undertaking had not previously been fined for infringements of the Telecommunications Act.
The decision is not legally binding as 4Carriers sp. z o.o. may appeal against it to the court of law.
Information on consumer rights related to telecommunications services are available at: https://cik.uke.gov.pl/