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ITU says numeric .tel domains “may be confusing”

Kevin Murphy, October 14, 2013, 16:45:36 (UTC), Domain Registries

The International Telecommunication Union has warned ICANN that numeric .tel domain names, due to be released by Telnic tomorrow, “may confuse customers or cause undue conflicts”.

In a letter to ICANN, Malcolm Johnson, director of the ITU’s Telecommunication Standardization Bureau, said that there’s a risk that numbers-only .tel name could be confused with the E.164 numbering plan.

Johnson asked ICANN to explain how these numbers will be allocated and used:

ITU must express its concern about TELNIC’s recent announcement launching an “all numeric .tel domains” service from 15 October 2013. This raises a number of policy, legal, and practical implications on the potential usage of all-digit strings, not only under .TEL domain, but also under any future telephony-related new gTLDs

We are seeking this clarification as the digit strings appear similar to telephone numbers and could be used in a manner similar to telephone numbers, which may confuse customers or cause undue conflicts arising from their use.

E.164 is the standard for phone numbers worldwide. The ITU has been angsty about the potential for clashes ever since .tel was first proposed back in 2000.

Indeed, Telnic promised when it applied in 2003 not to allow numbers in .tel, precisely in order to calm these fears.

But when it asked for this self-imposed ban to be lifted in 2010, the ITU didn’t have anything to say (at least, it did not respond to ICANN’s public comment period).

Read Johnson’s letter here (pdf).

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Comments (6)

  1. John Berryhill says:

    People still call 867-5309 looking for Jenny. I’ve been trying to reach PENnsylvania 6500 for longer than that.

  2. Adam Peake says:

    aren’t all number names used pretty frequently by ccTLDs: Phonetic use, China, Japan, Korea?

  3. Mark k says:

    Most people remember the phone numbers of closest family and friends. A .tel with their globally unique phone number as single source of related social and friended/secured contact info makes lots of sense. An online place where people can find your various social pages and more. VoIP even telco providers could embrace this as “find me anywhere” service using this always on DNS technology.

    • jh says:

      Or, when subsidized and therefore somehow managed by a Telco, a kind of retention tool to prevent subscribers to feel too free escaping to lower costs telco challenger through (phone) Number Portability rules ….

  4. Jimholt says:

    As ITU did not dare to provide any argument during the ICANN’s public comment official period about relasing, it is very unlikely that this recooked ITU complain may have any effect. On the opposite, it looks like an attempt to try to limit VOIP service providers and other telecom related OTT to make further steps (their way) towards convergence.

  5. jh says:

    just as if GSMA now write to ICANN against IMEI long number registration over a telecom and contacts hub dedicated domain name , in some strange move against Internet freedom under the strong ruling by ICANN, to avoid smartphone users to register thier IMEI number in a legitimate attempt to try to block second hand trading of their smartphone when it is unfortunately STOLEN and increase chances to get it returned the sooner as useless and universally stated as STOLEN by its unfortunate initial owner. more about the full story on http://www.IMEI.TEL

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