Landline phones to have 10 digits next year

In remote areas of the country, fixed phones still have six numbers

Landline phones to have 10 digits next year

The Telecom Regulatory Authority (Trai) on Friday said India should migrate to an integrated numbering scheme for fixed and mobile services by December 31, 2011.
Now, mobile numbers sport a 10-digit numbering system while fixed line phones have eight digits. In remote areas, landline number still has six digits.

Trai said the 10-digit number system for both mobile and fixed phones would make available enough numbers to cater to expansion of existing services and introduction of new services for the next 30 to 40 years.
Besides, the new numbering system would also facilitate extension of number portability to fixed lines.

Till the time the scheme is implemented, landline callers making intra-circle calls will have to add the prefix ‘zero’ before dialling any mobile number to utilise the spare space available in the existing short distance charging area code.
The regulator also proposed that the service providers should not have more than three million unutilised numbers when they request for a new block of numbers to ensure efficient utilisation of the existing numbers.

The existing national numbering plan devised in 2003 that was designed for 750 million customers, including 450 million mobile connections to last till 2030, has come under severe strain as the mobile numbers crossed that mark in 2009.
With the number of subscribers likely to increase to one billion by 2014, the situation calls for an urgent review to facilitate continued availability of numbers with minimum disruption to any service. A few months back mobile companies had started a new number series beginning with ‘8’. 

Though initially, the DoT was planning to use an 11-digit mobile number series instead of the existing 10-digit, it was dropped as it demanded huge  expenditure to upgrade the telecom infrastructure to make it compatible with the new series. Even mobile operators opposed the 11-digit numbering system due to the high cost in upgrading the technology.
The DoT then decided to consider the idea of introducing mobile number series starting with ‘8’.
DH News Service

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