Microsoft is a phone operator in France, it’s official

Microsoft has obtained accreditation from Arcep. The company can now create phone numbers and distribute them to users of Teams, its messaging and video conferencing solution.

Drawn on a Microsoft Store / Credit: Unsplash

It is with complete discretion that Arcep, the former supervisory authority for telecommunications, has just given one operating license for Microsoft. Concretely, this means that the Silicon Valley giant will be able to provide phone numbers both on the landline and on smartphones. Will the Redmond company step on the toes of our national operators?

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The idea for Microsoft to become a telephone operator in France is not new. In 2016, it was even under duress that the Redmond company almost became one. Under the terms of the Macron law, the services offered through Skype, the VoIP telephony software, made Microsoft comparable to a telephone operator. This status entails a lot of obligations, the heaviest of which is the obligation to record users’ conversations or to listen to them at the request of justice or to be able to make emergency calls. The procedure was unsuccessful at that time..

Microsoft is forced to become a carrier if it wants to be able to create phone numbers for Teams

The COVID crisis has been there and remote work has accelerated the adoption of Teams, launched by Microsoft in November 2016. The latter replaces Skype in the offer for Microsoft professionals. This is why the company has taken the initiative and requested accreditation from Arcep: it is well aware of this the services offered by Teams compete directly with competing offerings.

Read – Meta and Microsoft team up to announce Office and Teams in virtual reality

Consumer telephone operators therefore have nothing to worry about. Their business divisions, on the other hand, may struggle. The French dinosaur of telecommunications services for professionals is Orange Business, with 65 to 70% market share. Next comes SFR Business with a 20% market share. The other operators who share the crumbs will probably be the first victims of Microsoft’s arrival.

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