With mobile operators running out of numbers starting with 9, the Department of Telecom has now given a go ahead for mobile numbers starting with 8.
This is mainly due to booming mobile market in India because of which mobile operators are running out of numbers starting with 9.
The order to this effect was given in March considering the booming mobile market in India. It asked the telecom companies to vacate the 95 level from landline use. The impact of this move is that 10 crore new numbers come into play, around half of which are expected to be allotted to companies. DoT will keep the balance as spare capacity.
The cellular subscribers in the country has been growing to a large extent over the last couple of years, which led to the fatigue of the existing sublevels of 9. According to TRAI, India had 415 million cellular subscribers at the end of May 2009. Expecting a similar growth over the next few years, DoT is considering an 11-digit numbering system from next year.
With the new numbering series going to be available, mobile companies are likely to auction some of the special numbers, particularly in newer rural markets. Also several companies invite customers to bid for such numbers.
Earlier, companies like BSNL, Idea, Tata Teleservices, Vodafone, Airtel etc have auctioned special numbers thus earning large sums of money, particularly from politicians and businessmen. Tata Teleservices routinely auctions cellular numbers on its website, with prices ranging from INR 10,000 to over INR 1 lakh.