According to a letter that BSNL had sent to its hardware vendors ZTE and Nokia, the Department of Telecommunications, in a meeting on January 8 this year, decided that the 13-digit numbering scheme be implemented for M2M communication. However, this is applicable only to numbers used by machines to communicate with other machines and not normal retail mobile numbers. Bharti Airtel also confirmed the development in a written response to Trai's consultation paper where it said, "DoT has already approved a 13-digit numbering series for SIM-based M2M devices which will co-exist with the prevalent 10-digit mobile numbering scheme to be allocated for the Unified Licence (Access Service Authorization)". "This is for machine to machine.no impact on regular mobile (numbers)", said a person familiar with the DoT directive. As of now, it was just a 10-digit number put in use, very much similar to the numbers used by regular retail customers. The Mobile Indian has reached out to BSNL for clarification and the spokesperson has told us that the brand is not planning to introduce 13 digit protocol for its customers.
With the coming in of this new move, India will become the country with the longest mobile numbers. The existing numbers will be ported to thirteen digits from October 1, 2018. This fueled rumours on Twitter and other social media platforms.
What are Machine-to-Machine (M2M) mobile numbers?
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The DoT had asked all telecom service providers to ensure that their network elements, including IT and other relevant systems, are aligned with the 13-digit numbering for M2M SIMs before July 1, 2018. This M2M communication model is a setup- a form of communication- where the network devices exchange information and take actions among themselves without any manual assistance.
The migration is scheduled to start from October 1, 2018 and completed by December 31, 2018, the letter added. Furthermore, it is being used for emerging technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT) devices.