India’s phone coordinates
|In India, the “extra” digits in telephone numbers have been added a number of times e.g., the digits for Delhi have changed from 5 to 8 in the past five decades. However, with the addition of extra digit of “2” (or “3” or “5”) in the phone numbers of the cities around the countries in December 2002, the total number has reached to “10”, i.e., “2, 3, or 4” digits of city codes plus “8, 7, or 6” digits of phone numbers. In one colony of Delhi, since December 2002, the phone numbers have changed from 2527- 1234 to 3097-1234 and then to 3297- 1234, i.e., three times in three years.
In a few countries in Western Europe, 9-digit phone numbers have already started popping out. In case of India with one billion plus population and booming popularity of mobile phones, addition of an “extra” digit in phone numbers is a distinct possibility. Furthermore, India might need a new series of “village” codes, as phones would become popular with villagers.
The “10-digit” phone numbers now provide an opportunity that India’s phone numbering system can be redesigned into a new format of “3” digit area codes, as a replacement of present city codes, plus the “7” digit phone numbers to replace the variable digits. This will also eliminate the need for adding of extra digits into phone numbers in the future.
Future adding of phones
As the new phone numbers grow in any state, city, or “area”, a new “3” digit area code can be added with a set of 10 million “7” digit phone numbers.
First Step –
The present practice of dialing 10- digits for mobile phones or city codes and phone numbers for Delhi and its neighboring cities should be extended to all “other” areas and phones. Thus, this would require that the “city” codes are to be included in all phone calls for all over India.
Second Step –
Once the 10-digit dialing (Step 1) becomes an All India feature, then the “city code plus phone number” is to be reformatted to “area code plus phone number” as per the scheme detailed below.
Suggested “Reformatted” scheme
The complete reformatted numbering scheme will evolve as under:
b. Adding New Numbers in the Future: As the need to add new numbers
This system will have provision for addition of 10 million numbers under any one new area code. It will not “overflow” in the next 50 years or so.
Caution: The addition of numbers for ALL new phones, due to (1) introduction of a new phone company or type and (2) new phone line, must be an integral part of the unified national numbering scheme.
Calling within and between area codes –
a) Within the same area code – No need to dial the preceding “0”.
b) Toll calling between any two area codes – A caller will be required to dial “0” before dialing the “10” digit number (3-digit area code + 7-digit phone number) of the “OTHER” area. ALL calls with preceding “0” will be subjected to TOLL charges.
c) Free calling between two “neighboring” area codes In cases like NOIDA and Delhi, where the calls are considered local with no charges, callers will not need to add a “0”. If a “0” is added (when caller may not be certain whether the call is local), the computer will IGNORE the zero.
NOTE: This procedure will standardize the toll-free calling between neighboring area codes.
Cell phone numbering
Once the new scheme is accepted, it will also be the right timing to regulate the growth in mobile phone numbers in a “designed” area code type format.
a) Grouping in area codes States (in varying numbers) could be grouped into “area” code format for future expansion. The present “open” numbers starting with “98” should be regulated immediately.
b) Future extensions As an example, Delhi area codes can be as 971, 961, 951, and so on. Once the series starting with “9” overflows, a new series could be designed with “8”.
c) Toll calls To start a “toll” call, e.g., between two area codes of mobile phones, caller will be using “0”.
Special area codes
a) Toll free Area codes like “600, 700, and 800” should be reserved to start with. Also, area codes like 666, 777, 888 can also be reserved for future expansion. Toll free calls to these numbers should not be allowed from outside the country to any caller.
b) Toll Code(s) To start, code 900 can be designated where the caller pays to obtain a special service or information from a commercial firm or agency. In all such a case, the commercial firm or agency must advertise and/or inform the caller right at the start of the call about the charge(s) per minute to protect the users of malpractice.
c) Government codes Central Government – 100 State Governments – 101, 102, 103, and so on.
d) Tourism codes Codes “555” and “999” could be reserved for tourism.
a) Emergency from Anywhere – “911” (w/o Area Code) Medical Hflp (Local) – “811” Traffic Help (Local) – “711” Police (Local) – “611” b) Phone Enquiry (Local) – “511” c) Alphabet s – “2 for a, b, c”, “3 for c, d, e”, “4 for f, g, h”, “5 for I, j, k”, “6 for m, n, o”, “7 for p, q, r, s”, “8 for t, u, v”, and “9 for w, x, y, z”.
Emergency – 911 (From Anywhere) Holiday Inn in -222-HOLIDAY Mumbai Marriott in Delhi – 112 MARRIOTT (Last digit is ignored) Air India in -112-AIR- INDIA Delhi (Last digit is ignored) Central Health 100-4-HEALTH Ministry State Tourism 101-TOURISM Office Phone Enquiry – 112-511 in Delhi (From other area codes)
A unified and integrated national telephone numbering scheme will ensure in easy 2-steps “Good Phone Coordinates” for a smooth and convenient future!