GSM mobile service providers are opposing the 11-digit mobile numbering proposal on grounds that it would inconvenience the country’s 390 million subscribers. They are also seeking to end the exclusive two-digit operator code provided to three service providers.
The Department of Telecommunications’ (DoT) Technical Engineering Centre has recommended the new numbering plan, expecting the industry to run out of mobile numbers since the subscriber base has been expanding by 10 million users every month.
DoT, which forwarded the recommendations to the government, expects the 11-digit plan to bring in more users.There is no need to change the numbering structure because the current plan is not utilised properly and is lopsided,” Cellular Operators’ Association of India (COAI) Director General T V Ramachandran told.This will cause massive disruptions to existing mobile users and operators, since all roaming agreements have to be re-aligned and all equipment modified,he added.
COAI will voice its opinion to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai). DoT has also allocated exclusive two-digit operator codes to three operators “92” for Tata Tele, “93” for Reliance Communications and “94” for BSNL — whereas all other operators have a common code “98”.COAI thinks the exclusivity provided to these three operators should be withdrawn, since this is blocking proper capacity utilisation of the “9” series. The association also contends that exclusivity is redundant, since number portability — the ability of consumers to change operators but retain their numbers — will render it useless anyway another issue behind the dearth of numbers is that DoT has reserved six billion numbers for fixed-lines, whereas the actual number of subscribers is below 40 million.