Published on January 17th, 2008 | by Babar Bhatti0
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