The New National Telephone Numbering Plan of Lithuania: its Implementation and Future Perspectives
At the beginning of 2001 the Lithuanian telecommunications sector found itself in the second half of the monopoly term for the public fixed communications services and networks market. Though at that time the incumbent operator had another two years before its exclusive rights in the fixed telephone communication market came to an end, and the old numbering system (a heritage from the soviet era) was still in use, it was quite clear that national numbering had to be changed in essence. On the one hand the numbering system used at that time was likely to limit both rapidly growing mobile telephone operators and the development of the incumbent operator itself, and on the other hand it was sure to limit entering of the potential providers and operators of telephone services into the telecommunications market. It should be noted that at the end of the year 2000 the process of establishing an independent telecommunications regulatory institution – the Communications Regulatory Authority (CRA) – was already commenced, and after the CRA was established in the spring of 2001, the National Telephone Numbering Plan of Lithuania was approved by the Government of the Republic of Lithuania on 6 June of the same year. The implementation of the said Numbering Plan rested with the newly established institution – the Communications Regulatory Authority. The new Numbering Plan had to replace the old numbering system in essence. The old system was not sufficiently user-friendly – numbering of mobile telephone was not separated from the numbers of the fixed telephone services, disagreements over the interpretation of the national prefix often occurred. By means of the new Numbering Plan it was sought to ensure a certain protection of the users of services (customers, in particular), i.e., the Numbering Plan had to be acceptable to the customer, it had to be clear and understandable, as well as it had to guarantee the possibility for telecommunications operators and providers of services to enter the marke
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