At present, most of the Indian Mobile numbers tend to begin with 98 or 99. Each country has its own preference as the first two digits. For example Bangladesh & some Middle Eastern countries have mobile numbers beginning with 80 or 81. But since Indian Mobile subscriber count will soon breach the Billion mark, our usual 10 Digit numbering sequence may soon prove to be inadequate to meet the rising demand. Rajan Mathews, Director General of Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) says, “There might be a serious problem if a new series of numbers are not brought in by the middle of next year. We are theoretically reaching the limit of existing number sets with a subscriber base of one billion”.
Even 10 Digits proving less? A mobile number of 10 Digits can be perceived as the one with a long string of numbers. How can it become inadequate? This is primarily due to the way Mobile number sequences are doled out to telecom operators. Thanks to this highly mismatched & non-optimized method of batch-wise release, only 50% of theoretical potential is usable. In technical terms, it is known as ‘Percentage Of Numbering System Utilization’ & currently it maxes out at 50% only.
What’s the solution: While the simplest solution is to increase the mobile number by one or maybe even two digits, it’s not the best one. Large numbers are very difficult to memorize. Besides, telecom systems & international interface protocols will have to be re-engineered from scratch to ensure seamless & smooth operability.
A few days ago we heard how companies were willingly shedding inactive customers. This will free up a lot of numbers, which might buy some time. Additionally, customers opting for MNP may indirectly contribute to enhanced network optimization. However, if recent trends reverse then we may be soon looking at 11 or even 12 digit mobile number. How do you feel about the same?
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