Sharp differences between GSM, CDMA players.

The turf war

GSM group: Continue with the existing 10-digit numbers and allow us to use number series starting with ‘7' and ‘8'

CDMA players: Pre-fix ‘9' on all existing mobile numbers, it will cause minimum disturbance.

Our Bureau

New Delhi, Dec. 24

The move by the Department of Telecom to convert mobile numbering scheme from the existing 10-digit series to an 11-digit one has been hit due to division among the mobile operators.

While GSM operators are opposing the move, CDMA operators are backing the Government.

GSM players have told the government that moving to an 11-digit numbering scheme will be expensive for the operators.

They have suggested that the DoT should continue with the existing 10 digit numbers and allow them to use number series starting with ‘7' and ‘8' earlier reserved for fixed line telephone numbers.

CDMA players' stance

On the other hand, CDMA players say that the 11 digit numbering scheme is imminent to meet the long-term requirement of mobile services and new services such as PSTN connected Internet telephony.

CDMA players say that the 11-digit numbering scheme would cause minimum disturbance for subscribers through pre-fixing ‘9' on all existing mobile numbers.

“The shift would provide innumerable new numbers which would be sufficient to meet the numbering resources requirement for all time to come besides it has low cost implication and short time line for implementation,” the Association of Unified Telecom Service Providers of India (AUSPI) said.

The DoT had proposed to move to 11-digit series since the mobile user base is expected to cross 600 million next year for which there the current 10-digit numbering plan is not sufficient.

The new scheme was supposed to be implemented from January 1 onwards whereby all existing users would have had to add ‘9' as a prefix to their numbers to convert it into an 11-digit number.

AUSPI said if the Government starts looking for alternative levels like 7 to meet the mobile number demand for the next three-four years, it should drop that proposal as level '7' is disruptive and likely to cause more inconvenience for consumers.

Meanwhile, the DoT has moved the proposal to introduce the 11-digit series and is expected to take a decision in the next few days.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated December 25, 2009)
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