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11 digit Phone Numbers are coming to India

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has sought the public opinion on adding one more digit in existing 10 digit mobile numbers. The TRAI is of the opinion that increasing the 10 digits mobile number to 11 would enable
telecom companies to handle the rising population pressure. This TRAI plan is applicable on both mobile phones and landline phones. The Government has already done the internet number series to 13 digits.

The TRAI informed about its idea in a written press statement citing, "TRAI issued recommendations on 'Efficient Utilization of Numbering Resources' on 20th August 2010 in which TRAI had proposed that the existing 10-digit numbering scheme should be continued to avoid inconvenience to the customers that would accompany any move to shift to an 11-digit numbering scheme. TRAI has also recommended that India should migrate to an integrated numbering scheme for fixed and mobile services." The TRAI went on to add that due to rapid growth in the number of subscribers, a major review of the numbering plan was again carried out by the Government in 2003, with the formulation of National Numbering Plan 2003. This plan created a numbering space for 750 million telephone connections – 450 million cellular mobile and 300 million basic phones. The National Numbering Plan (NNP) 2003 was formulated for a projected forecast of 50 per cent teledensity by the year 2030.

The purpose of this TRAI consultation is to analyze the changes that affect the national numbering plan and to identify the ways in which numbering arrangement and allocation policy might be managed for ensuring adequate numbering resources. The issues covered are the long-term suitability of numbering plan, unified numbering plan, efficient utilization of the numbers and an efficient allocation criterion.

According to TRAI, the total number of telephone subscribers in India stands at 1186.63 million with a teledensity of 90.11 at the end of June 2019. Resultantly, we again find ourselves in a situation where we need to review the utilization of the numbering resources and take some policy decisions to ensure that adequate resources are available for sustainable growth of telecommunication services.

The telecom regulator in India further said that due to various reasons like allocation to mobile exchanges, numbers blocked in the distribution chain, the administrative processing time for allocation of new blocks of numbers and other inefficiencies of the system, the entire number resources can be utilised. The regulator has fixed the deadline of October 21 for public comments and November 4 for counter comments.

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