10 Digit or 11 Digit ? TRAI Released Consultation Paper

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With the number of mobile users in India growing rapidly and increase in the number of subscribers creates requirement to revise the National Numbering system of India to accommodate more and more telecom service users. Recently the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) issued a notice to all telecom service providers to introduces 11-digit number as oppose to the present 10-digit ones. Today The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has released a consultation paper on Efficient Utilization of Numbering Resources.

With this the telecom regulator aims to discuss various recourses available for rationalizing the plan to meet numbering requirements for next five years and also for longer term. The telecom regulator requested to the operators to comment on the possibilities of retaining 10 digits numbering scheme or migrating to 11 digit schemes as also on integrated scheme for fixed (landline) and mobile telephones.

The issue of pricing of the numbers as a tool for encouraging efficient utilization of numbering resources has also been raised.National Numbering Plan (NNP) 2003, that gives the current framework for management of mobile and landline numbering resources, was designed to take care of the numbering requirements for about 30 years timeframe and to cater to about 750 million connections including fixed and mobile. Today India have about 550 million connections and it is expected that the 1 billion mark would be crossed before the end of 2014. This puts immense pressure on the numbering resources.

The purpose of this consultation paper 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 more efficient utilization. The consultation paper takes up the following important issues for deliberations Long term suitability of numbering plan, Effective utilization of numbers and Allocation and pricing of the numbers.

According to the TRAI, major modifications in a numbering plan could mean substantial changes in the network and costs for the service providers. From the subscribers viewpoint as well, frequent changes are inconvenient as the subscribers would have to change their dialing habits and also reprogram their mobile phones and phone books. It has therefore become necessary to elicit views of the stakeholders on issues like allocation and efficient utilization of numbering resources.

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