11 digit phone numbering plan shelved – to free up existing numbers!


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!

  1. Rohit says

    Its a nice move as of now to use available option rather than going for a new one. :-)

  2. Amit says

    Hey I think Series 7 & 8 has already been allocated..

    1. Arun Prabhudesai says

      Hmm…the process has started…but I am not sure if they have been already allocated or not…

      1. Dhakkanz says

        Arun, the 7 and 8 series already in the market since few months and they are fast becoming quite common. The numbers have got allocated already.

  3. Altaf Rahman says

    Each district on an average has about two million people.

  4. Altaf Rahman says

    We have a population of just over a billion ( a 10 digit number and can accomodate one number less than 10 billion)
    Even considering every one has a land line phone (in actual a family has one at the most) and has 3 or 4 mobile numbers and has an additional 3G phone from company (as if all Indians are working ha ha) we can not utilize 10 billion numbers.
    Though the above is only a theory and the govt has to consider so many other factors, still some thing can be done to has as less digits as possible.
    For example, the present system of area code has to go.
    We have about 600+ districts in India. Even if we allot more numbers to some important districts like Bombay, Delhi and all, we can not have more than 1000 area codes (which can be covered by 3 digit number).
    Now on an average each district has about half a million people, which can be covered with a 8 digit number. (an 8 digit number has 10 million numbers which can cover A to Z of all factors a govt has to consider).
    Earlier we used to remember the many many numbers of friends / relatives in mind (at that time we had only land lines and fewer ppl has phones).
    Now every one has more than one mobile with 10 digits. I dont even remember my own number ( I store it with the name ‘my number’ in contact list).

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.

who's online