Callers may have to prefix '0' for making calls from landlines to mobile phones from Jan 1

"Following may be implemented...Fixed-to-mobile calls shall be dialled with prefix '0'. Suitable announcement may be fed in the fixed line switches to apprise the fixed line subscribers about the requirement of dialling the prefix '0' for all fixe...

KOLKATA: Come January 1, landline users across India will need to prefix all calls to any mobile phone with a `0' , with the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) calling on telcos to modify the dialing pattern for such calls in line with the sector regulator's recommendations.

The move is likely to create fresh numbering resources for mobile services amid the continuing rise in India's mobile user base and the decline in wireline connections.

The DoT, in a circular, dated November 20, has backed the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s recommendations and mandated telcos to ensure all landline subscribers are “given a `0 dialing’ or STD facility” to be able to connect with mobile phones under the new calling system from next year.


It has also directed phone companies to ensure suitable auto-announcements are fed into all fixed-line switches for reminding landline users to pre-fix any calls to a mobile number with a `0,’ should they forget. The department has directed telcos to implement the new landline-to-mobile dialing pattern from January 1.

Back in May, Trai had recommended to the DoT that all calls from fixed-lines to mobiles numbers be pre-fixed with a `0’, saying such a move would generate a whopping 2,544 million additional numbering resources for mobile services. It had also clarified that it wasn’t suggesting an 11-digit numbering plan for mobiles, but merely prefixing the existing 10-digit mobile numbers with a “0” when called from landlines.


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“Telcos are ready to comply with DoT’s directive, which is a welcome move as this will free up many unused landline numbering levels for mobile services, while ensuring there are no overlaps with landline STD codes,” said a senior executive of a Big 3 telco.



For instance, since all calls from landlines to mobiles will have to be pre-fixed with a `0’, relatively unused landline levels such as `3’, `4’ or `5’ could be opened up for mobile services, implying that mobile numbers of the future could begin with these digits.

But “mobile numbers obviously won’t start with 33, 44, 22 or 11, as those would automatically clash with existing STD codes for Kolkata, Chennai, Mumbai and Delhi, when prefixed with a `0’ in the case of future landline-to-mobile calls,” pointed out another industry executive.
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