TRAI Explores Penal Option for Hoarding Unutilized Numbers

TRAI explores penal option for hoarding unutilized numbers

TRAI, the Indian telecom regulator, is exploring a penal option for telecom operators for hoarding unutilized fixed line phone numbers to address the crunch of numbering resources hampering the growth of new connections.

In order to address the lack of numbering resources in the segment, TRAI appears to be looking into ways to change fixed line numbers in line with the procedure used for mobile numbers, according to a consultation paper on the “revision of national numbering plan.”

The consultation paper is in response to a request made to the TRAI by the Department of Telecom (DoT) to address present and potential future limitations on the supply of adequate fixed line numbering resources resulting from fast expansion. 

The consultation paper said, “Should a financial disincentive be imposed upon TSPs for retaining X per cent or more of the allocated TIs remaining as unutilized beyond a certain timeframe? If yes, please specify the X per cent with suggested disincentive mechanism and retention timeframe with detailed justification?”

As per the observation of TRAI, over 6.28 crore fixed line numbers have been allocated to telecom operators out of which 2.74 crore of them are reported to have been subscribed while the 3.54 crore numbers remain unutilized.

The regulator suggested that one of the options is that a uniform dialing pattern of 10 Digit for both fixed line and mobile services can be explored for enhancing number resources.

TRAI said, “As is the case currently with mobile numbers, in order to ensure availability of TIs for fixed lines, should a 10-digit closed numbering scheme be made applicable to fixed lines also?”

Also Read: DoT to Launch Pilot for CNAP on Cell Phones to Combat Spam and Fraud Calls

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