FAQ - Managed Services

Number Portability FAQ


PathFinder is a GSMA number registry combining GSMA Carrier ENUM and legacy Number portability look up resources. Users can look up numbers and receive destination network identities and/or ENUM data helping operators and carriers in the migration from C7/TDM to IP-based services. Click here to contact the PathFinder team for more details.

GSMA Carrier ENUM is an open standard interoperable way of mapping subscriber phone numbers to IP addresses of the network elements providing services to that subscriber. This is a key enabler for global seamless interworking of IP and IMS-based mobile and fixed services, including voice, messaging, presence, video, content, even m-commerce transactions and is open to all service providers.

Without number portability correction, traffic may be routed to the wrong destination incurring excess interconnect costs or traffic delivery may fail –causing revenue loss. Number portability correction prevents these revenue leakage effects. NP correction is not simple because it is implemented differently in each country and specific relationships are required to access data. PathFinder offers a one-stop shop source for global number portability, making NP correction viable.

Carrier ENUM enables operators and carriers to discover which numbers are served by IP technology in advance of routing decisions. It also gives the correct destination correcting for number portability. This allows traffic to be optimally and reliably routed to the destination in the correct medium via automated systems – saving money through minimising revenue leakage in lost traffic, non-optimal routing costs and reduced usage of the C7 network. Long term, it enables a simplified all IP architecture, allowing C7 to be retired at end of life – reducing the cost of parallel running and allowing all services to be positioned behind the single phone number identity, thereby simplifying the user experience.

PathFinder is a numbering data base which can be accessed by an ENUM interface. Users query numbers and PathFinder returns information about the number which may consist of a destination identity, a routing address or a referral to another authoritative registry where more detailed information can be found. PathFinder is duplicated at multiple sites around the world, placing data close to the users for low latency access and high resilience. Carrier ENUM maps phone numbers into IP-friendly addresses called URIs. For example, +44 12345612345 becomes sip: +4412345612345@icscf.carrier-A.3gppnetwork.org

PathFinder is a Carrier or Private ENUM service. In Public ENUM, the end users who are assigned the phone numbers must opt in to have their ENUM data registered in the public e164.arpa tree for others to reach and communicate with them.

PathFinder is a Carrier or Private ENUM service. In Public ENUM, the end users who are assigned the phone numbers must opt in to have their ENUM data registered in the public e164.arpa tree for others to reach and communicate with them. GSMA Carrier ENUM is not Public ENUM. It is a special type of Private ENUM where the carriers/operators who provide the phone numbers provision the data in the ENUM directory to facilitate inter-carrier routing.

In 2005, the GSMA recognised the potential importance and impact of ENUM to the communications industry and began exploring opportunities to assist the GSMA membership in the development and implementation of a Carrier ENUM service. In 2006, a team reporting to the Inter-working Roaming Expert Group (IREG) developed a global architecture for ENUM data management and access. In 2007, this group made recommendations around a commercial framework for ENUM data access. The analysis identified the need for a global Carrier ENUM directory and a global administrator. The Executive Management Committee (EMC) endorsed this initiative and asked the GSMA to tender, award and implement a pilot project. In July 2007, a detailed "Invitation to tender" was sent to several vendors. The GSMA went through a rigorous and comprehensive selection process with a number of rounds, including member input to evaluate the technical proposals. In October 2007, GSMA selected Neustar as the supplier of the PathFinder service. The award of the contract was announced during Mobile World Congress at Barcelona in February 2008.

GSMA is the trade Association for mobile operators worldwide. GSMA publish guidelines for network interoperability on a commercial and technical level. GSMA provides services where common central resources are required by the industry. In the case of PathFinder, GSMA are administering a global ENUM Root directory applicable to fixed and mobile operators, offering ENUM hosting services to assist roll-out and adoption and number portability correction services to simplify the delivery of international interconnect traffic.

PathFinder consists of several services. The Tier 0 is offered without charge to the industry. ENUM hosting services are chargeable services. Number Portability is also a chargeable service. Please note that data owners may charge for access to their hosted data – this is independent of PathFinder.

Participants in Carrier ENUM can use PathFinder and/or find their own ENUM solutions. In the case, where proprietary solutions are developed, contact us so that we can establish how to provider a pointer (delegation) to your registry and help make your information visible to partners.

GSMA Carrier ENUM is for any network providing services using the global (E.164) numbering plan. Our goal is that every type of network – fixed, internet-based or mobile – can interconnect via ENUM.

Telephone numbers are not routable in IP networks and need to be translated into URIs before routing takes place. ENUM offers a standard way of translating numbers of your own network and of your interconnect partners. At the same time, number portability can be corrected and the destination network technology can be identified.

Yes, PathFinder has been operational since 2008 and has a growing community of users. PathFinder is already handling millions of number translations per month at "telco" levels performance.

PathFinder is a managed service provided by GSMA and operated by NeuStar. We continuously monitor the capacity required to deliver the challenging performance targets we have set our selves. As such, there is no limit to the volume of queries. Enquire here for details about our SLA.

PathFinder is operated according to stringent security and quality standards. Users are required to adhere to GSMA policies on usage for the protection of themselves and the wider Carrier ENUM community. Carrier ENUM data is only exchanged in a secure environment between trusted parties. No customer information is exchanged.

Yes, we can provide specific solutions in addition to ENUM and design services to help identify the best solutions. For details.

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