India to get 11-digit mobile numbers in 2010

In 2003, the Department of Telecom (DoT) in India had projected the ten-digit mobile numbers would be meet the needs for 30 long years. As of Feb 2009 India registered a user base of 375.74 million wireless subscribers (GSM, CDMA, WLL(F)).

10-digit numbers can cater to an additional 250 million users (approx a total of 626 million users – need to do this math on how they arrive at this number).

DoT has suggested the introduction of the prefix “9” to all existing mobile numbers to convert from 10-digit to 11-digit. Oh no! What happens to all those poor souls who selected mobile numbers based on numerology! (Update: See the comment below. Numerologists are in trouble as the number retains its numerology value when you add a 9)

The only two other countries to use 11-digit numbers are China (user base of 642.16m as of Jan 2009) and UK (moved to 11-digit due to technical reasons and not due to user base which is lower than India). So the rankings of mobile user base by country looks something like,

  • China – 642.16 million in Jan 2009 (11-digit)
  • India – 375.74 million in Feb 2009
  • USA – 276.1 million in Jan 2009
  • Russia – 181.5 million
  • Brazil – 145 million
  • Indonesia – 117 million
  • Germany – 106 million
  • Japan – 104.83 milion
  • Italy – 92.8 million
  • Pakistan – 90.52 million

Y2K Opportunity?

Many companies thrived on the Y2K opportunity in the software world. So will mobile related developers get a lot of work in converting the code from 10-digit to 11-digit? There is work but not to the level of Y2K. I was just thinking how much will we have to change in – I don’t think it is that much of work.


  1. Grondmaster says:

    10-digit numbers can cater to an additional 250 million users (approx a total of 626 million users – need to do this math on how they arrive at this number).

    For every mobile number, there exists a network. Each active unit of the network – the base station, the receiver, the transmitter, etc. have their own identification. Typically, these units are given a numeric identification within the range given by the DoT to the operator.

    So for every number range (9876-xxxxxx) given by DoT to the operator, some 50% odd are booked by the Network services for their use. That’s how the DoT has come up with just 626mn users…

  2. Hey…
    Don’t worry about the numerology factor here! Whatever number you add to the number 9 you get the same number. So unless they don’t change the prefix number 9 to the mobile numbers no worry to numerology thing! 🙂

  3. Trai is likely face thousands of legal suits from the special number users from all across the nation.

  4. girish says:

    Before causing anymore blunder in the Indian Telecom industry, TRAI should realize that they are here for our convenience not to cause disturbances. Stop doing experiments. It’s a matter of 350 million users. An estimated 20 million man/month will be collectively required to clear up this mess. Billions of cards and brochures have to be reprinted. Big numbers will be ugly and confusing. Lastly, the telecom companies had raised more than 12 thousand crores by selling special numbers to the corporates, professionals and individuals. TRAI should arrange to refund the full amount with interest because while issuing the numbers people were promised of 30 years of usage.

  5. Sudhir says:

    A horrible insight! steps are taken only to create chaos among the 390+ million users. Stop reseving 92,93 & 94 codes for the heavy weights. also, cancel mobile numbers wich are not used for more than 6 months. You will get far more numbers than what will be required in next 5 years. And for future use “8” for all CDMA numbers in the country. More than 26% of our populaion lives Below Poverty Live and another 40% in villages. how can’t we make proper usage of the existing numbering scheme??? Mobile Operators union is extremely unhapy with the move and so are the common people. Just think before you Act.

  6. TRAI’s plan to launch 11 digit cell numbers is a pure crap. It will lead to heavy chaos and trouble for the mobile operators and its subscribers. They should think thrice before launching this bullshit and uncouth plan.

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