Government of Gibraltar
Press Office

No.6 Convent Place, Gibraltar                Tel: 70071     Fax: 74524

Press Release
No: 14/2002
Date: 23 January 2002

Telephone Issues

On the 16th November 2001 the Spanish Government published a Resolution in its "Boletin Oficial del Estado" laying down the terms and conditions under which it purported to allocate an additional 70,000 telephone numbers to Gibraltar.

The Government, the Telecoms Regulator and the Gibraltar telephone companies have now completed their separate examinations and assessments of the Resolution and have each, separately, concluded that the Spanish offer is unacceptable, variously on political, regulatory and commercial grounds.

The offer has therefore been rejected for the following principal reasons:

The offer is based on the total integration of Gibraltar`s numbering plan into the Spanish numbering plan in that Gibraltar is allocated Spanish numbers, rather than (as is the case at present) specified parts of Gibraltar`s own numbering plan being accessible from Spain.

The Spanish Regulator is purporting to allocate all these "new" numbers to a Spanish telecoms licencee, namely Telefonica, who then sub-assigns numbers to Gibraltar licencees. This completely by-passes the Gibraltar Government`s ownership of the Gibraltar numbering plan, puts our ability to enforce and comply with our telecom laws and the EU telecom directives in the hands of Spanish interests. The Regulation also usurps the powers of the Gibraltar Licensing Authority and the Regulatory powers and responsibilities of the Gibraltar Telecommunications Regulator, effectively making Telefonica the Regulator for Gibraltar telephone numbers.

In flagrant breach of EU law, the offer puts Gibraltar`s telephone numbers in the hands of the incumbent monopoly operator in Spain, (Telefonica) an international competitor of existing and potential Gibraltar telecom service providers.

The offer does not address the issue of mobile telephone roaming.

Commenting on the situation, a Government spokesman said:-

"This offer is politically unacceptable to the Government. It is also wholly unacceptable from a commercial point of view to the Gibraltar telecom companies, and from a regulatory point of view, to the Gibraltar Regulator. It is hard to understand why the Foreign Office has been so quick to so warmly welcome this manifestly flawed offer".

Last Revised : 23 January 2002