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TRAI Recommends New Numbering Plan

  • 30 May 2020
  • 5 min read

Why in News

Recently, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has given few recommendations for the development of the new National Numbering Plan for the fixed as well as mobile telecommunication services in the country to ensure availability of the uniquely identifiable numbers to every subscriber in India.


  • Current Scenario:
    • Currently, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) administers the numbers for fixed and the mobile networks on the basis of the National Numbering Plan (NNP), 2003.
      • NNP (2003) provides a set of rules and guidelines for the use and assignment of numbers to telephone services delivered over the public networks.
      • It also describes the assignment of numbers to international services, trunk service, emergency services and special services such as voicemail and Intelligent Network (IN) services.
    • Thus, the management of numbering resources is governed by the NNP.
    • NNP is based on the International Telecommunication Union’ s (ITU) standardization sector recommendations.
  • Challenges:
    • The availability of numbering resources is threatened due to an increase in the range of services and massive growth in the number of connections, especially in the mobile segment.
      • The total number of telephone subscribers in India stands at 1,177.02 million with a tele-density of 87.45% at the end of January 2020.
      • Telephone density or teledensity is the number of telephone connections for every hundred individuals living within an area.

Key Points

  • Recommendations:
    • Switching to a 11-digit mobile number instead of existing 10-digit mobile number.
    • Reallocation of mobile numbering resources surrendered by operators who have closed the telecommunication business.
    • Prefixing zero for all mobile calls made from a fixed line to create sufficient numbering space.
      • The numbering space includes numbers that cannot be preceded by a prefix.
    • All the SIM-based M2M (Machine to Machine) connections using 10-digit mobile numbering series to be shifted to the 13-digit numbering series allocated by DoT.
      • Machine-to-Machine SIM (or M2M SIM) refers to technologies that enable devices and sensors to communicate with one other, along with other Internet-enabled devices and systems. It is used for receiving and sending data.
    • Enlistment of all newly allocated numbering resources for fixed line as well as mobile services every year.
    • Automated allocation of numbering resources using number management system software to speed up the process of allocation in an efficient and transparent manner.
  • Possible Future Challenges:
    • The migration to 11 digits mobile numbers would require modifications in the configuration of switches involving cost.
    • It would also cause inconvenience to the customers in the form of dialing extra digits and updating phone memory.
    • It may lead to more dialing errors, infructuous traffic, and subsequently loss of revenue to the Telecom Service Providers (TSP).
    • Further,the telephone numbers are also associated with the digital identity of individuals, and, hence, changes will be required in the databases of all services requiring telephone numbers for identity like financial banking services, e-commerce, and government welfare schemes.

Way Forward

  • The mobile users in the country has increased massively due to increasing digitisation. This increasing digitisation would pave the way towards the dream of digital India and mobile economy.
  • Thus, it has become necessary to review the utilisation of the numbering resources in the country. Considering the above scenario the implementation of the TRAI’s recommendation with solutions to possible issues would help for sustainable growth of the telecommunication services.


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