More reports on: Government policies

India to migrate to 13-digit mobile-to-mobile communication; mobiles unaffected

22 February 2018

India will soon migrate to 13-digit mobile numbers for machine-to-machine communication (M2M) from 1 July and has asked telecom service providers to ensure that their networks are aligned with the 13 digit numbering for M2M SIMs before 1 July 2018.

The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) had decided that all M2M connections that will be used for controlling various devices, including surveillance camera, car and child-tracking devices and smart electric metres using the internet, will be migrated from the current 10-digit numbering system to 13-digit.

This change, however, will be specifically for machine-to-machine communication and will not apply to mobile-to-mobile communications.

The 10-digit numbering of mobile phones will remain unchanged.

The telecom department is understood to have informed operators, including state-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL), that a 13-digit numbering plan will be used for machine to machine (M2M) communication.

BSNL, in a recent letter to its equipment vendors, said that in a meeting convened by the department of telecom (DoT) on 8 January, ''it was decided that 13-digit M2M numbering plan will be implemented from July 1, 2018'' and that all new M2M connections will be allocated the new 13-digit plan from the stipulated date.

M2M communication, a new-age technology, is key to concepts such as smart homes and smart cars. M2M communication can include communicating or recording information such as consumption levels related to a gas, electricity or water meter, or a vending machine alerting distributor when stocks run low, or transmission of data about personal appliances.

''All TSPs (telecom service providers) must ensure that their network elements, including IT and other relevant systems, are aligned with the 13 digit numbering for M2M SIMs before 1 July 2018,'' the BSNL letter said citing DoT decisions.

The letter further noted that migration of existing 10 digit M2M numbers to 13 digits will take place between 1 October 2018 and 31 December 2018. ''In view of the directions from the DoT, the undersigned (BSNL) has been directed to request you to ensure the provision for 13-digit numbering scheme for M2M communication in all the equipment to be supplied/deployed against Phase VIII...project,'' BSNL's letter said.

BSNL also clarified in a tweet that the existing numbering scheme used for mobile communication will remain unchanged. ''There is no change in mobile numbering plan which remains 10 digit. #BSNL preparing for Machine to machine (M2M) communications wherein 13 digit numbering scheme shall be used to connect billions of machines,'' BSNL tweeted.

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