New National Numbering Plan recommended by TRAI
Part of: GS-Prelims and GS-II – Statutory Bodies & GS-III – Telecommunications
- The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) recommended a new National Numbering Plan to be issued so that a uniquely identifiable number can be provided to every subscriber in India.
- TRAI has recommended:
- Switching to a 11-digit mobile number.
- Reallocation of mobile numbering resources surrendered by operators who have shut shops.
- Prefixing zero for all mobile calls made from fixed lines.
- Shifting of SIM-based M2M (machine to machine) connections to the 13-digit numbering series allocated by DoT at the earliest.
- The government should enlist all newly allocated numbering resources for fixed line as well as mobile services every year.
- Automated allocation of numbering resources using number management system software to speed up the process of allocation in an efficient and transparent manner.
- The mobile number should be changed from 10 to 11 digits only if all the efforts to continue with the 10-digit numbering are exhausted.
- Presently, adequate availability of numbering resources is threatened because of an increase in the range of services and number of connections, especially in the mobile segment.
- Adequate availability of resources is necessary for sustainable growth of the telecommunication services.
- Challenges involved in migrating to 11 digits:
- Widespread modifications in the configuration of switches involving cost.
- Inconvenience to the customers in the form of dialing extra digits and updating phone memory.
- More dialing errors
- Unnecessary traffic
- Loss of revenue to service providers.
- Changes will be required in the databases of all services which require telephone numbers for identity like financial banking services, e-commerce, government welfare schemes, etc.
- The Department of Telecommunications administers the numbers for fixed and the mobile networks based on the International Telecommunication Union’s Telecommunication Standardization Sector (ITU-T) Recommendations.
- The management of numbering resources is governed by the National Numbering Plan.
Important value additions
National Numbering Plan (NNP), 2003
- NNP (2003) provides a set of rules and guidelines for the use and assignment of numbers to telephone services delivered over the public networks.
- It also describes the assignment of numbers to international services, trunk service, emergency service, etc.
- The management of numbering resources is governed by the NNP.
Telecom Regulatory Authority of India
- It was established by Telecom Regulatory Authority of India Act, 1997 to regulate telecom services, including fixation/revision of tariffs for telecom services.
- It provides a fair and transparent policy environment which promotes a level playing field and facilitates fair competition.
- The TRAI Act was amended to establish a Telecommunications Dispute Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) to take over the adjudicatory and disputes functions from TRAI.
International Telecommunication Union
- It is the United Nations specialized agency for information and communication technologies – ICTs.
- It is the oldest among all the 15 specialized agencies of UN.
- It is based in Geneva, Switzerland.
- It is an intergovernmental public-private partnership organization.