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
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
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