Right now the news which has stirred the entire nation is here. India to have a 13-digit mobile number instead of 10, going effectively from July 1, 2018. The Department of Telecom(DoT) had apparently issued a directive to all the telecom operators in India, asking them to start issuing a 13-digit mobile number to its customers. In fact, this news has been confirmed by a senior BSNL official when he stated about the circular from DoT and after which the company started working on it.
This entire decision has been taken in lieu of providing better security features to users. This latest development further states that all the existing mobile numbers will be ported to 13-digits starting from October 1, 2018, and the last date for the completion of this process would be 31 December 2018. Further, the official statement also read that, “It is decided that 13-digit M2M (Machine-to-machine) numbering plan will be implemented from July 1, 2018. From this date onwards, all new M2M mobile connections will be allocated 13-digit numbers only… Migration of existing 10-digit M2M numbers will start latest by 1 October 2018 and shall be completed by 31 December 2018”.
On the completion of this measure, India would become the country with the longest mobile numbers, with China the only country at scale with 11 digit mobile numbers, minus the area code. Apart from this, only French ‘regions’ of Guadeloupe, Martinique and Reunion have longer numbers.
While on the other hand, the Ministry of Communication in a letter written to TRAI has reportedly said that ’13-digit numbering scheme has been specially approved for SIM-based M2M devices’. Now, an M2M sim is actually the technology which enables devices and sensors or things to communicate with each other and with other Internet-enabled devices and systems. Also, these sim cards can be used in any mobile phone.
But now, the main problem with a 13-digit number remains that it would be virtually impossible for a person to remember it, possibly leading to massive dislocations across business processes like banks where provisioning has been made to capture only 10 digit mobile numbers.
Other than this, there are about a billion active mobile users in India and given that they had recently completed the process of linking their Aadhaar card, this definitely might lead to some confusion and chaos.