With CDMA mobile subscriptions growth slowing, the Department of Telecom is planning to allow GSM players to share the number series starting with 92 and 93.
At present, the 92 number series is used by Tata Teleservices and the 93 series is used by Reliance Communications for CDMA services.
Under a new numbering scheme proposed by the DoT, all fixed line phones will start with digits 2 and 4 only. This means phone numbers starting with 5, 6 and 3 will be shifted in a phased manner. Currently, fixed line telephone number series starting with 3 is used by subscribers of Reliance Communications, 6 belongs to Tata Teleservices and 5 has been allocated to HFCL and Sistema Shyam.
While the number series starting with 2 is currently exclusively used for subscribers of BSNL and MTNL, Bharti Airtel users are on the series starting with 4. But the DoT reckons that there is enough capacity on these two number series to accommodate all the other operators.
This is being done to free up numbers for the growing GSM subscriber base. The current numbering system was designed for 750 million connections. The numbering system was supposed to last till 2030, but it came under severe strain with mobile numbers crossing the mark in 2009 itself. The new proposal is expected to free up over 2,700 million new numbers.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India had suggested moving fixed line numbers to a 10-digit series. But the DoT has rejected this proposal on grounds that it would require a lot of changes in the fixed-line exchanges, in the way calls are routed, and also in the billing software. The Department has now sent its plan to the TRAI for comments.