ITU launches new work to provide a Global Service Code for humanitarian services


A new ITU standard has been proposed for ITU to assign a Global Service Code enabling the allocation of international numbering resources to a wide range of humanitarian services. These specialized services are expected to include accessibility services for persons with disabilities or specific needs, as well as services to reduce suffering or threat to life.

ITU is the trusted United Nations authority on international numbering. This work is led by ITU’s standardization expert group for ‘operational aspects of service provision and telecoms management’, ITU-T Study Group 2. The group will meet next from 31 May to 11 June online.

“This draft new ITU standard is intended to establish a framework for assigning numbers to service providers taking into consideration the operational, social and commercial aspects of proposed humanitarian services, and creating a level playing field for all innovators intent on applying for these resources,” explains Philip Rushton, Chairman of ITU-T Study Group 2.

The standard is intended to facilitate the assignment of international numbering resources for the provision of humanitarian services with the use of a Global Service Code as detailed within ITU E.164, the international standard that defines the use, structure and functionality of telephone numbers.

How will it work?

A three-digit Country Code administered by ITU will identify services of a humanitarian nature. A two-digit Humanitarian Service Code following the Country Code will indicate the type of humanitarian service, for example, a global text relay service for the deaf. Following the Country Code and Humanitarian Service Code, a two-digit code will identify the Service Provider offering the specific global service.

ITU E.190 describes principles and responsibilities for the management, assignment and reclamation of E-series international numbering resources.

“The development of this new standard will build on these fundamental principles, particularly the principle that numbering resources are to be efficiently utilised and managed, and the principle that numbering resources are to be assigned with fairness and equity,” highlights Philippe Fouquart, Rapporteur for the responsible working group (Q1/2).

Fouquart explains the main objectives of the new standard:

  • It will detail the criteria to be met for a service that falls under the umbrella of a humanitarian service, as well as document both the use and limitations of numbers assigned for this purpose.
  • In addition, it will provide reservation, assignment and reclamation processes for numbers for services in accordance with the criteria of a humanitarian service.
  • For each individual service to which numbers are assigned, it will include a new Annex providing a brief description of the service and other details of compliance related to that service.

Learn more about ITU international numbering resources >

/Public Release. This material comes from the originating organization and may be of a point-in-time nature, edited for clarity, style and length. View in full here.