Looks like Indian Department of telecommunication has decided against the proposed 11 digit phone numbering system. The 11 digit numbering system was proposed due to meteoric rise in the mobile subscribers, that exhausted the mobile numbers in less than 5 years rather than estimated 30 years!
Earlier, DoT had planned to introduce an additional prefix of 9 to every mobile number taking it to 11 digits. But according to the article in ET, that plan has been shelved.
Instead, DoT now plans to create immediate additional capacity by freeing up series “7” & “8” currently allotted to fixed line phones, which is seeing a continuous gradual downfall and now account of for just a fraction of all the mobile numbers in India.
Freeing up these 2 series will ensure over 650 million new mobile numbers will be freed up for allocation to Indian mobile consumers. This additional capacity will ensure no shortfall of mobile numbers for atleast next two and half years.
As a long term plan, DoT also plans to open up existing fixed line number series ‘5’, ‘6’ and ‘3’ for mobile services freeing over 2.75 billion new numbers. This additional capacity is expected to last for over a decade.
What this also means is that, once this plan is implemented, the landline numbers will move from existing 8 digits to 10 digit numbering system like in case of mobile numbers. fixed line phones will continue to use existing series 4 (for private fixed line operators) and series 2 (for BSNL and MTNL). Even those series are currently highly under utilized. A single 10 digit numbering consists of over 300 million numbers, whereas India currently has less than 35 million landline numbers (and falling further consistently).
Like I have mentioned earlier, this a logical and same move. Although, 11 digit numbering system would give near limitless capacity, changing mobile numbers over of over 850 million subscribers would have been a nightmare to say the least!