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TRAI Releases Consultation Paper on National Numbering Plan Revision

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Telecom

National Numbering Plan

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) released its consultation paper on the 'Revision of the National Numbering Plan' on Thursday.

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India's telecommunications landscape is experiencing a significant transformation due to advanced network architectures and services. The arrival of 5G networks brings unprecedented opportunities, such as ultra-high-speed connectivity, minimal latency, and extensive device integration. In this interconnected ecosystem, Telecommunication Identifiers (TIs) are crucial for efficient communication and network management. TIs serve as the foundation for universal accessibility, enabling reliable service delivery to consumers, businesses, and industries across diverse communication technologies.

The purpose of the National Numbering Plan is to provide a structured approach for the allocation and utilization of Telecommunication Identifier (TI) resources, following international best practices. It primarily outlines the numbering space and its evolution for current and future services, aiming to accommodate a diverse range of services and enable efficient expansion without premature depletion.

The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) manages telecom identifiers for both fixed and mobile networks, adhering to the E.164 series of ITU's Telecommunication Standardization Sector (ITU-T) Recommendations. In 2003, the DoT conducted a comprehensive review and revision of the national numbering plan to accommodate the rapid increase in subscribers. This forward-thinking plan, known as the National Numbering Plan 2003, was designed to allocate numbering resources for 750 million telephone connections across the country. However, after 21 years, the availability of numbering resources is now at risk due to the expansion of services and the growth in the number of connections. With a current total of 1,199.28 million telephone subscribers and a teledensity of 85.69% as of March 31, 2024, it is crucial to assess the utilization of Telecommunication Identifiers (TIs) and make prudent policy decisions to ensure a sustainable reservoir for the continued growth of telecommunication services.

The TRAI received a reference from the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) dated September 29, 2022, seeking recommendations on the revised National Numbering Plan under section 11(1)(a) of the TRAI Act 1997. Additionally, the DoT requested addressing current and potential future constraints related to the availability of sufficient fixed-line numbering resources due to rapid growth.

The objective of this Consultation Paper (CP) is to evaluate all factors influencing the allocation and utilization of Telecommunication Identifier (TI) resources. It also suggests potential modifications to improve allocation policies and utilization procedures, thereby guaranteeing a sufficient reservoir of TI resources.

The Consultation Paper, aimed at gathering inputs from stakeholders, has been published on TRAI's website at https://trai.gov.in/release-publication/consultation. Stakeholders are encouraged to submit written comments on the Revision of the National Numbering Plan by July 4, 2024, and counter comments by July 18, 2024.

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