If you’ve been fretting over the news of having to change your mobile number to a 13 digit number, it’s time you take a deep breath and relax. Yes, DoT (Department of Telecommunication) has asked Telcos to start issuing only 13 digit SIMs. But that’s only for M2M communication, not for individuals. Your mobile number will continue to have 10 digits and be the same as what it is right now.
Machine-to- Machine SIM or M2M SIM is the SIM or technology that allow devices and sensors to communicate amongst each other and with other Internet-enabled devices and systems. Some examples from our day to day lives include point of sale swipe machines, ATMs, automated meter, reading systems, logistics asset tracking systems, even latest refrigerators These all communicate through a SIM card; i.e. M2M SIMs.
With a burst in use of SIM on handheld devices for voice and data communication as well as on IOT enabled devices, the paucity of 10 digit numbers was looming in near future. Taking this into account the DOT decided to separate M2M numbers from personal use numbers. Hence, it was decided that this system will be implemented starting July 1, 2018. The migration of existing M2M numbers will begin from 1 st October 2018 and complete by 31 st December 2018. In this respect, DOT has directed all service providers to ensure their network elements and systems are all aligned to the 13 digit numbering system by 1 st July 2018.
The Fake News In the wake of panic amongst retail customers on getting news of having to change their existing mobile numbers to 13 digit numbering system, officials from various service provider and COAI (Cellular Operators Association of India), confirm that mobile numbers retail customers have will remain unaffected and continue to follow 10 digit numbering system. Interestingly, several news agencies that covered this news, added fuel to the panic fire by misinterpreting the announcement. They claimed that DoT has asked Telcos to start issuing 13 digit SIMs at all. However, these news agencies failed to catch/understand the concept of M2M SIMs and IOT.