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Published on January 17th, 2008 | by Babar Bhatti


Schedule For 7 To 8 Digit Mobile Subscriber Number Migration


Due to the rapid growth of mobile subscribers, there has been talk of migrating mobile numbers from 7 digits to 8 digits. The study and planning in numbering scheme of mobile phones has been in works since 2006. Recently PTA, the telecom regulator, has announced and published information about the schedule of the implementation plan.

This plan was reviewed by the major stakeholders in June 2007 and a timeline of implementation in early 2009 was decided. The mobile number change is part of a larger set of changes in National Numbering Plan in Pakistan, which is under review. I wrote about the fixed line numbering scheme changes a while ago.

What is this change? A mobile number consists of 2 parts. Access code which is currently 4 digits (e.g. 0333) and subscriber number which is currently 7 digits (xxx-xxxx). The changes proposed will make access code as 3 digits and subscriber number as 8 digits.


Good thing for the users is that there’s no change in the number itself for Ufone, Telenor or Mobilink. For example 0300-123-4567 becomes 030-0123-4567. However there is an impact for certain Paktel users, Instaphone (they are in big trouble anyway) and SCO (service in AJK and Northern areas) users as some of the codes will be reallocated. For example SCO wants to use 0335 instead of 035-xxx-xxxx.

The mobile numbering scheme changes have been received with mixed reactions from the public, ranging from confusion, questions about the effectiveness and whats all the hype out. In a recent discussion at Telecom Grid Pakistan, various views were presented. However, there was a common theme that such changes should be least disruptive.

Part of the motivation for this comes from the near future 3G services launch. There are plenty of technical details which deserve a second post, so I will write again soon. However it is certainly better to do it earlier than later.

Updates from PTA are available on their website. Worth the effort? Read further for the reasons put forth by PTA.

PTA site provides 3 reasons for this change.
(a) to resolve the problem of frequent allocation of network access code to
various mobile operators to meet the needs arising out of phenomenal growth
in the cellular mobile sector
(b) to create more capacity in the Numbering Plan to facilitate service providers
to expand their customer base without going into the hassle of introducing
new access codes
(c) to make the dialing plan more customer friendly i.e. one access code for one
operator and to prepare the capacity for next ten years and more, both for the
mobile and fixed line markets

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0 Responses to Schedule For 7 To 8 Digit Mobile Subscriber Number Migration

  1. wasim says:

    Find out more new 8 digit number format change in this site.

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  3. Riz says:

    PTA explained 3 reasons for the change. (a) & (c) are very much understandable.

    But I am not sure about point (b) — what you think? Because mobile operators already can have codes and use all the numbers in the range. How will this benefit them?

  4. Pingback: 7 to 8 Digits Mobile Subscriber Number Conversion in Pakistan

  5. Omer says:

    Dear Saad,
    The rule for numbers starting from 1 applies only to short codes such as 130 (motorway police) or 1122 etc.

    The mobile numbers have a carrier selection code called the Network Access Code and then an associated 8 digit subscriber number. Hence that rule doesnt apply to it. (pg 61 Short codes Summary of NNPlan 2008)

    Mansoor, after Mobilink runs out of its 030 code, it will shift to 01X (x=0-9). Refer to Pg 17. Sec 2.1.4 NAC Assignment of the National Numbering Plan 2008.

    You can find the current (under review) version of the National Numbering Plan 2008 here

    Hope that clarifies.


  6. Babrim says:

    thanks for this information Mr. Babar

  7. Saad Ullah says:

    But that mobilink thingy is not possible.
    As a rule, we cant have a number starting with ‘0’. The zero is reserved for dialing outside a network. (mobile service, city or country.)
    so a number such as 0300-1234567 will be changed to….what? 030-01234567?
    that’s not possible
    and so is the problem with its 0301 code. Another rule (read PTA/PTCL, i am not sure myself :P ) states that only emergency numbers can start with a ‘1’. as in 15,115,1122 etc.
    so a number like 0301-2345678 is also in deep sh…..trouble!
    it cant be changed to 030-12345678.
    any one have any idea what will happen to these numbers?

  8. anonymus says:

    who really cares if its 7 or 8digit??
    get a life ppl!

  9. Ghayas Ur Rehman says:

    can anyone that how can i acquire 4 digit cell number from any cellular company and also tell me about that how can i get masking of my number, means instead of revealing my caller id to user, i want a string to be displayed at user end when i send them a message.

  10. Hassan Abbas says:

    what is SCO??? (Code # 035)

  11. Nash says:

    Wait a sec! where did “4” go in the above example???

    I think u meant:

    “For example 0300-123-4567 becomes 030-0123-4567.”

    Its still 8 digit. Isn’t it??

  12. Babar Bhatti says:

    Good catch Waqas, have fixed the mistake. Thanks.

  13. mansoor says:

    but wouldn’t that be useless for mobilink? which is already running out of 0308 and will be on the last leg of its allowed numbers?

    What happens then? did any one even think about this? Secondly, what happens to new players who want to enter this field in the future? or are the current ones what we’ll have for the coming years.

  14. waqas says:

    “For example 0300-123-4567 becomes 030-123-5678.”

    I think you meant:

    “For example 0300-123-4567 becomes 030-0123-5678.”

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