Will Mobile Numbers Now Really Be 13 Digits Long?
Does DoT really want to introduce a new system of 13-digit mobile numbers?
For as long as we can remember, ever since their launch in July 1995, mobile numbers have always been made up of 10 digits. And for the past 20 odd years, they have remained at the same. But now there are rumours that the DoT may do away with the age-old system and change mobile numbers to 13 digits.
Does the Department of Telecom really want to introduce a new system of 13-digit mobile numbers? What will happen to the existing numbers if that happens?
Are 13-Digit Mobile Numbers Really Coming?
The short answer is, “No!”
The rumours got wings when certain sections of the media misread a DoT (Department of Telecom) directive that was issued for M2M or Machine To Machine communication numbers.
M2M communication is a part of the Internet of Things (IoT). Many machines nowadays use their own SIM cards to establish a wireless communication with other similar devices. Such devices include wireless card swipe machines and wireless hotspot dongles.
Now that IoT is going mainstream and is rapidly becoming a part of daily life, there’s an urgent need to separate regular mobile connectivity from the M2M connectivity. A 13-digit long mobile number is the easiest way to tell M2M communication apart from the regular connection.
Regular Mobile Numbers Will Remain Unchanged
As soon as the news spread, officials from major telecoms and the COAI (Cellular Operators Association of India) came forward and clarified that regular mobile numbers will remain unchanged and will still have 10 digits.
The DoT directive which started all this confusion stated,
“Migration of existing l0-digit M2M numbers to 13 digits will start latest by October 1, 2018, and shall be completed by December 31, 2018,”
It also further added that all M2M mobile connections will be allocated a 13-digit mobile number from July 1, 2018. The DoT has also directed the service providers to “ensure that their network elements including IT and other relevant systems are aligned with 13-digit numbering for M2M SIMs before July 1, 2018.”
So to sum it up, our mobile numbers will not be changed and they will still be only 10-digits long. That’s a lot of potential chaos averted!