E-emergency in-vehicle calls: unified regulations enter into force as of 1 October

NMHH introduces three identifier management changes

Published: 2 October 2017

In accordance with the regulatory amendment applicable from 1 October, the National Media and Infocommunications Authority (NMHH) is introducing three important changes in the identifier management system. Firstly, the network unlocking of mobile phones will become free of charge for subscribers amongst certain conditions, secondly, new regulations will enter into force for mobile service providers in relation to in-vehicle e-emergency calls and finally, mobile service providers can receive test identifiers for the trial of network developments.

Automatic in-vehicle e-emergency calls: clear regulatory background provides rapid assistance

The regulation on automatic in-vehicle e-emergency call systems enters into force as of 1 October. This will provide a unified system of forwarding the signals of e-emergency calls through mobile telephone networks and their receipt at the 112 number of the Integrated Emergency System. In relation to these measures, as of the same day, NMHH introduced the identifier necessary for the appropriate management of e-emergency calls—a technical number—in the Hungarian regulations, which mobile service providers must use for e-emergency calls. In accordance with the regulation of the European Parliament, the e-emergency call system is to be obligatorily installed for all new passenger cars and light commercial vehicles from March 2018. The essence of the new application of obligatory use for manufacturers and service providers is that as soon as an accident takes place, the device will automatically and instantly dispatch a call to the 112 emergency number and forward the main data of the accident, allowing the dispatcher to rapidly notify the authorities and the competent emergency and defense organizations in order to arrange for rescue measures as soon as possible. The mandatorily dispatched data provided for by the law includes—amongst others—the type of the vehicle, its fuel type and the time and place of the accident. Based on the studies serving as the background of the legislation, the data itself is suitable for halving emergency response times, particularly in rural areas.

Mobile service providers can use “test identifiers” for the trial of new network developments

As of 1 October, it is possible as a trial service for service providers to request MNCs – mobile network codes – without providing services in order to develop their services. To this end—with the amendment of the decree on the national allocation plan of electronic communications network identifiers—the NMHH will introduce a new type of network identifier, a test mobile network code or so-called MNC for the values of 97 and 98. In the operation of electronic communications networks, identifiers—the most common of which is the phone number—ensure the differentiation of networks, service systems and, particularly, subscribers. When selecting the MNCs, the authority was led by the professional principle of the future expansion of MNC numbers when necessary, for example, with codes 96, 95, etc. Mobile service providers can safely verify whether the latest developments are functioning as planned prior to the launch of the service and consumers can also profit indirectly from this possibility since they will encounter tried and tested services upon their introduction.

As service providers can request test MNCs for previously non-defined purposes, the decree includes no specific regulations on the conditions of use. These will be recorded, at individual request, by the authority in the assignment resolution, similar to M2M (machine-to-machine) numbers. The test MNC use is free of charge as—naturally—it cannot be used for public commercial services.

Free network unlocking for mobiles upon the expiry of the loyalty period or the payment of the device

As of 24 October, mobile service providers must carry out the network unlocking of devices free of charge which were sold at a discounted price with fixed term contracts—i.e. loyalty periods—and which have expired subscriber agreements. The network unlocking becomes free of charge at an earlier date if, during the number portability process, the subscriber pays the price of the device during the time of the agreement, or loyalty period. The details of the regulation—in accordance with the amendment of 15 June of the Act on Electronic Communications—are registered in the amendment of the decree on the detailed rules on number portability. This allows consumers to enjoy the previously paid service free of charge and in contrast to previous practices, to choose service providers more freely.

The new regulation implemented by NMHH established more favorable conditions for users. It establishes the identifier management conditions for automatic in-vehicle emergency calls and through the possibility of the preliminary testing of the services of mobile service providers, it allows consumers of telecommunication services to enjoy more reliable and thoroughly tested services. Additionally, the cost of the change of service providers is reduced by making the network unlocking of phones free of charge, thus promoting equal opportunities in the access to infocommunications services and content.