The Department of Telecom (DoT) has reportedly dispensed a directive to all telecom operators to issue 13-digit mobile numbers to M2M (Machine-to-machine) customers, in order to provide better security features. The current numbers will be ported to the new format from October 1, 2018.
One of the first operators to start working in this direction is state-run BSNL. A senior official from the company revealed that the directive from the DoT came on January 8, 2018. Moreover, the operator has started working on it.
He said, “It is decided that 13-digit M2M (Machine-to-machine) numbering plan will be implemented from July 1, 2018. From this date onwards, all new M2M mobile connections will be allocated 13-digit numbers only. Migration of existing 10-digit M2M numbers will start latest by October 1, 2018 and shall be completed by December 31, 2018.”
With the implementation of 13-digit numbers, Indians will possibly have the longest mobile numbers in the world. While China has 11-digit mobile numbers excluding the area code, while French regions of Gaudeloupe, Martinique and Reunion have longer numbers.
Meanwhile, in its written response to Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (TRAI) consultation paper on ‘Spectrum, Roaming and QoS related requirements in Machine-to-Machine Communications’, Bharti Airtel wrote, “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).”
On the other hand, through its letter to TRAI, the Ministry of Communication also confirmed the development. This letter said, “13-digit numbering scheme has been approved for SIM-based M2M devices.”
M2M SIM refers to a technologies that enable devices and sensors to communicate with each other and with other Internet-enabled devices and systems. As India gears up for embracing 5G by 2020, this could also form the core of IoT devices in the near future. Allowing for more flexibility of usage, M2M SIMs can also be used in any mobile phone.
Although the implementation of the 13-digit mobile number is being exhibited to be more secure, it is unclear how it will ensure this. Moreover, concerns about the potential hijacking of connected systems are likely to arise as the use cases are larger.
There are about a billion Indians using mobile, besides the current guideline to link Aadhaar numbers with mobile numbers is yet to be accomplished. This is another condition making the implementation of the new format trickier.
Migrating billion numbers to an all-new number will be lengthier