TRAI Seeks View On 11-Digit Mobile Number
A customer uses a mobile phone while leaving a Vodafone India Ltd. store in Mumbai, India. (Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg)

TRAI Seeks View On 11-Digit Mobile Number

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Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has sought public views on increasing the digits in a mobile phone number to 11 from 10 at present as one of the options to address rising demand for telecom connections in line with growing population.

The government has already started 13-digit number series for Internet of Things and machine to machine communications. However, according to an assessment by the telecom regulator, around 2.6 billion more numbers would be required to cater to need of the country by 2050.

According to a UN report, India is projected to become the most populous country by 2027 surpassing China, and host 1.64 billion people by 2050. There are 1.2 billion telephone connections in the country.

Trai in its consultation paper on "Developing a unified numbering plan" for fixed line and mobile services said that even if it is assumed that there will be 200 per cent wireless tele-density in India in 2050, the number of mobile telephones working in this country is likely to be nearly 3.28 billion.

The regulator said that even if 70 percent utilisation of numbering resources, 4.68 billion numbers will be enough to cater to mobile telephones working in this country in the year 2050.

To increase numbering resources, Trai has sought opinion on number of alternatives, including moving on to 11 digit numbering scheme for mobile and continuing with 10 digit numbering for fixed line services; shifting data only mobile numbers (like dongle connections) from 10 digits to 13 digit numbering; and vacating number series start from 3, 5 and 6, etc.

The current provision of 10-digit mobile numbers starting with 9, 8 and 7 have a total capacity to grant 2.1 billion connections.

Trai said that due to various reasons like allocation to mobile exchanges, numbers blocked in the distribution chain, 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 Oct. 21 for public comments and November 4 for counter comments.

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