Users making outgoing calls to mobile numbers via landline connection will soon have to add ‘0’ as a prefix on the number. This is not new information; the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) had floated a circular in November last year directing all the telecom operators to implement this rule in their system. As per an ET Telecom report, starting January 15, 2021, this rule will be applicable for all the landline users across the country. It is worthy to note that the suggestion for implementing the rule came from the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) in May last year — more on the story ahead.
What is the Need for Implementing this Rule?
Yesterday, Bharti Airtel started informing its customers about adding ‘0’ as a prefix before making outgoing calls to mobile numbers. Other telecom operators such as Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL), Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL), Reliance Jio, and Vodafone Idea (Vi) are expected to do the same thing very soon as well.
However, note that adding a ‘0’ before the number is only mandatory while making outgoing calls from landline to mobile numbers. Rules for making calls from mobile to fixed-line connection, mobile to mobile, and fixed-line to fixed-line connection remain the same.
So what is the need for this rule? Why is DoT asking telecom operators to implement this rule and what advantages does it bring to the user?
It doesn’t benefit the user directly. The rule has been implemented so that numbering resources can be freed up amid the continuing rise of mobile users and the decline of fixed-line users. With the implementation of this rule, the government expects to generate up to 2,539 million numbering series. So in hindsight, this does benefit the users in the long-run, since, at the end of the day, they are the ones who will utilise these numbering resources.
Trai’s recommendation for implementing the rule also came with the intention to free up numbering resources. New numbering resources for mobile services would be a good thing for India since the number of mobile users is all set to grow further at a rapid pace with affordable 4G smartphones making their way into the market.
DoT had also directed all the telecom operators to inform their landline customers about the same back in November. At that point, the rule was assumed to come into effect from January 1, 2021. But now it has been confirmed by the announcement of Airtel to its customers that the rule will be implemented from January 15, 2021.