Microsoft is a telephone 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 videoconferencing solution.

The sign of a Microsoft store / Credit: Unsplash

It is with complete discretion that Arcep, the former telecommunications regulatory authority, has just granted a operating license to Microsoft. In concrete terms, this means that the Silicon Valley giant will be able give phone numbers both on landlines and on smartphones. Will the Redmond company walk 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 firm 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 implies a lot of obligations, the heaviest being the obligation to record the conversations of users or to listen to them at the request of justice, or to be able to make emergency calls. The procedure was unsuccessful at the 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 teleworking 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 that the services offered by Teams compete directly with rival offers.

To read – Meta and Microsoft team up and announce Office and Teams in virtual reality

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

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