France orders cold-callers to use 09 prefix phone numbers

Calls from companies, including cold-calls, are to become instantly recognisable to customers in France under a new rule that requires them to use 09 prefix phone numbers.

France’s telecom authority, Arcep, announced on Monday that it would begin requiring phone calls from ‘technical platforms’, such as call centres, to call from numbers starting with 09.

The prefix is intended to help consumers avoid “fraud and abuse” by allowing them to tell the difference between personal mobile numbers, typically those beginning with 06 and 07, from calls or messages coming from companies. 

This means that automated systems will no longer be able to use mobile numbers beginning with 06 or 07 for cold calling. 

Additionally, automated calling will no longer come from regional numbers – those that begin with 01, 02, 03, 04, and 05.

Another reason for the change is to create a specific, clear “09 category for e-commerce communications (such as deliveries or drop-offs) and SMS reminders and confirmations for events, like online medical consultations. 

Ultimately, the change will allow customers to recognise at first glance the origin of the call and, unless waiting for a delivery or confirmation message, choose not to answer.

The announcement comes as part of a larger modernisation campaign for national phone numbering, which began in 2018.

Member comments

  1. On face value, this seems like a good idea. However, our private house landline number issued by Bouygues Telecom 18 months ago, begins with an 09 prefix. Bouygues Telecom would not issue us with a Morbihan regional number beginning 0297. Does this now infer that when we call people, they will presume that we are a cold-caller?

  2. My house landline, with Orange/Sosh, also begins with an 09 prefix. I was given the option to change my regional number to, what I was told by Orange, was my Broadband number and I chose to do this because I thought it may reduce the number of cold calls I was receiving. It seemed to help for a short period but now the cold calls are as bad as ever. Now everyone will assume I’m a cold-caller.
    What are the Government playing at – surely they must know that 09 numbers can, and often are, used by private households. Also, what are they doing about the fact that registering with Bloctel seems to have no effect whatsoever. Somebody needs to put them straight.

  3. It seems like a good idea but we still won’t know, when a 09 call comes in, whether it is a cold call or something important.

  4. In this day and age, with advertising on or in just about every thing we see there is no need for ANY cold calling. It provides only a service to those trying to sell something – it doesn’t add anything to the individual enjoyment of peace, privacy and life of the subscriber, rather the opposite. It is an intrusion into the peace and security of our homes and to add insult to our cost time. It should be banned completely with severe penalties for those who ignore the ban. Further the companies who supply the telephone numbers should cancel the telephone number of any enterprise cold calling immediately and be heavily fined if they fail to do so.
    This proposal has all the marks of a French governmental fudge. It hasn’t been thought through, it is a light wallpapering over the crack of a growing anger amongst citizens. Frankly it’s a pathetic response to a growing irritation.
    Europe needs to take a lead in this even though there will still be business outside EU’s purview.
    Why is it allowed at all?

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.
For members


Timbre fiscal: Everything you need to know about France’s finance stamps

If you're doing a French admin task, you might be asked to provide a 'timbre fiscale' - here's what these are and how to get them.

Timbre fiscal: Everything you need to know about France's finance stamps

In France, you can buy  a very particular kind of stamp to cover the cost of a titre de séjour, or French passport, to pay your taxes, get an ID card if you’re eligible, or pay for your driving licence.

Basically a timbre fiscale is a way of paying a fee to the government, and some online processes – such as the tax offices – now have the more modern method of a bank transfer or card payment.

However there are plenty of official tasks that still demand a timbre fiscale.

In the pre-internet days, this was a way of sending money safely and securely to the government and involved an actual physical stamp – you bought stamps to the value of the money you owned, stuck them onto a card and posted them to government office.

They could be used for anything from paying your taxes to fees for administrative processes like getting a new passport or residency card.

These days the stamps are digital. You will receive, instead, either a pdf document with a QR code that can be scanned from a phone or tablet, or an SMS with a unique 16-digit figure. Both will be accepted by the agency you are dealing with.

Once you have the code you need, you can add this to any online process that requires timbre fiscaux (the plural) and that will complete your dossier.

You can buy them from a properly equipped tabac, at your nearest trésorerie, or online

Paper stamps remain available in France’s overseas départements, but have been gradually phased out in mainland France.