Yes, the directive issued by the Department of Telecom is not a rumor and India will have 13-digit mobile numbers soon. But they will not be meant for mobile phone users. Amid media reports promoting the recent government order, a major transformation in the telecom domain was being anticipated as users geared up for shifting from the current practice of ten digit mobile numbers. And this did not surprise the Indian diaspora which has already witnessed some breakthrough economic reforms (read demonetization and GST) in the recent years.

As reports started doing the rounds on social media, the users were engulfed in feelings of anxiety and confusion which left most of them frustrated. However, later on it was revealed that the news was being misinterpreted and the directive was to affect machine to machine (M2M) communication. M2M numbers are the ones that are used for sharing information between devices and not the regular mobile numbers that are exchanged between users. Not only will this scheme cover new M2M numbers, but also the existing ones that will have to be ported for the same.

According to The Times of India, telecom operators are expected to start complying with the directive of the Department of Telecom by 1st July, 2018. They will also have to streamline their IT processes in order to accommodate the new numbering scheme seamlessly. This initiative has been taken up for promoting the ‘Internet of Things’ revolution in India. As automation and digitization trends pick up, the use of machines is expected to increase manifold. In such circumstances, the current 10-digit number will be not be sufficient to handle inter connectivity between them. The 13-digit mobile number scheme, which has been suggested by the operators themselves (Source: Business Standard), will be a significant step towards improving the information technology infrastructure of the country.