European Commission Considers Pan-EU Business Numbers

The European Commission on Monday launched a public consultation into plans to introduce a single Europe-wide phone number for businesses in all member states.

The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) had assigned the single number code ‘3883’ to the European Union in 2000, but saw it little use and the arrangement is set to lapse by the end of the year.

European Commissioner for the Digital Agenda Neelie Kroes said: "Today, businesses need to have a separate telephone number in every member state where their customers need to contact them. This makes it difficult to develop EU-wide services for their customers.”

"I urge all interested parties to help us formulate a policy that addresses the needs of businesses and provides more convenient access for consumers."

Kroes believes that an EU-wide phone number for businesses will help to improve cross-border sales and services, as well as access to customer services and queries.

The consultation, which ends 28 February 2011, will assess market fragmentation, demand and management of the number, and possible methods to harmonise the existing numbers.