The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has issued a Consultation Paper on ‘Developing a unified numbering plan for fixed-line and mobile services’.
The telecommunications sector has been undergoing a transformation triggered by the emergence of new network architectures and services. Advancement in telecommunications technology has brought better, faster and cheaper services for the consumer and at the same time it is possible to deliver any service on any device, anytime, anywhere. To achieve this ubiquity, the number of the resource is used to uniquely identify and differentiate among the end-users.
TRAI said that the numbering plan is one of the important ‘fundamental plans’ along with Switching, Routing, Transmission, Charging and Synchronization Plans that govern the functioning of telecommunications networks.
The Department of Telecommunications says it administers numbers for fixed and the mobile networks based on the series E.164 of ITU’s Telecommunication Standardization Sector (ITU-T) Recommendations.
This ITU-T Recommendations describes “The international public telecommunication numbering plan” and provides the number structure and functionality of numbers used for international public telecommunication.
In India, a major review of the numbering plan was carried out in 2003, with the formulation of National Numbering Plan 2003. This plan created a numbering space for 750 million telephone connections – 450 million cellular mobile and 300 million basic phones. The National Numbering Plan (NNP) 2003 was formulated for a projected forecast of 50% teledensity by the year 2030. The anticipated 450 million cellular mobile connections by 2030 had already been achieved in 2009.
After 16 years into the National Numbering Plan, adequate availability of numbering resources is threatened because of an increase in the range of services and massive growth in the number of connections, especially in the mobile segment. The total number of telephone subscribers in India stands at 1186.63 million with a teledensity of90.11 at the end of June 2019.
TRAI received a reference dated 08.05.2019 from DoT seeking recommendations on strategies of National Digital Communications Policy, 2018 which inter-alia includes “ensuring adequate numbering resources, by developing a unified numbering plan for fixed-line and mobile services.
Therefore, TRAI says that the purpose of this consultation paper is to analyze the changes that affect the national numbering plan and to identify the ways in which numbering resource management and allocation policy might be managed for ensuring adequate numbering resources.
The issues covered are the longterm suitability of numbering plan, unified numbering plan, efficient utilization of the numbers and an efficient allocation criterion. The Consultation Paper has been placed on TRAI’s website www.trai.gov.in.