Updated at June 1, 2020:

TRAI has released a statement clarifying its point on the 11-digit mobile number. As per the statement “as per TRAI recommendations, the country will continue to follow the 10-digit numbering for mobile services. We have categorically rejected shifting to an 11-digit mobile numbering plan“.

The clarification from the Indian telecom watchdog came after some media publications (including ours) reported that TRAI has recommended the 11-digit numbering scheme for mobile services.

Our original story from Monday, June 1, 2020, follows:

Your mobile number may soon add up one more number in the front, taking the count to 11-digits. The India telecom watchdog Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has come out with a slew of recommendations, which indeed a push to develop a ‘Unified Numbering Plan’. These recommendations are made to ensure adequate numbering resources are available for both fixed-line (aka landline) and mobile services in the country.

So, what could change? Mainly, the existing phone numbers would change a bit. There would be a switch from 10 digits to 11 digits mobile numbers, thus adding a number in front of your existing mobile number. Future mobile numbers might start with different digits going forward. Existing mobile numbers would require a ‘0’ to be added in the front of them to dial from a landline connection.

TRAI recommendation on Unified Numbering Plan

These TRAI recommendations are mainly based on the inputs received from various stakeholders (14 in precise) and discussions held during an Open House Discussion (OHD) conducted on 16th January 2020, in New Delhi.

Some major TRAI recommendations from the report:
  1. Adding prefix ‘0’ for calling mobile numbers from a fixed line or landline connections. Right now, you could call any mobile numbers without dialling first a ‘0’ when using a landline. However, once the recommendation is accepted, you would need to first dial ‘0’ and then the mobile number to make a call from a landline.
    • It’s similar to what you may have been doing while making inter-service calls, where you dial ‘0’ before dialling the phone number. Now with the new rule when calling from a landline, you would require to add ‘0’ in front of the mobile phone number to access it even within a service area.
    • Note that, there won’t be any changes while making calls from landline to landline, mobile to landline and mobile to mobile.
  2. All fixed-line or landline connection should be provided with ‘0’ dialling facility.
    • Currently, only landline subscribers who have opted for subscriber trunk dialling (STD) calls are provided with ‘0’ dialling facility.
    • With the new recommendation in place, all fixed landline subscribers would able to use the ‘0’ dialling facility. This would be necessary to dial mobile numbers which will be starting with a prefix ‘0’ when dialling from landline (as per previous recommendation).
  3. Mobile number to shift to an 11-digit numbering scheme: TRAI is recommending a switch from the existing 10-digit mobile number scheme to 11-digits for mobile numbers.
    • Thoughts on what would be your new mobile number? It’s ‘9’ that would be added in front of your existing mobile number.
    • This simple change would give Indian telcos a total capacity of 10 billion numbers to use.
    • TRAI has rejected this recommendation and India will continue to follow the 10-digit numbering for mobile services.
  4. Data cards and dongles to have 13-digit numbering scheme: Usually, 10-digit mobile numbers are allocated to 4G/3G or other types dongles and data cards. TRAI suggests shifting such device to 13-digit numbering scheme. This would release a bulk of normal mobile numbers for telcos.
  5. Moving fixed landline numbers to a new sub-level: TRAI is recommending to move fixed line or landline numbers to a sub-level of ‘2’ or ‘4’. Which means that your landline number would start with ‘2’ or ‘4’.
    • Currently, there are a bulk of landline numbers offered to users which start from ‘3’, ‘5’ and ‘6’, and are not functional. TRAI has recommended moving this under-utilised landline numbers to the sub-level of ‘2’ or ‘4’. This would eventually allow mobile operators to use these underutilised numbers for new mobile phone connection.

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