India will soon have 13-digit Mobile Number. The change, however, will exclusively be for machine-to-machine communication, which essentially is used for direct communications among electronic devices.

According to a letter sent by the state-run telecom operator Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) to network equipment providers ZTE Telecom and Nokia Solutions, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has decided that all M2M connections will be migrated from the current 10-digit numbering systems to a 13-digit Mobile Number.

“It was decided that 13-digit M2M numbering plan will be implemented from 1st July 2018. From this date onwards, all new M2M mobile connections will be allocated 13-digit numbers only,” BSNL wrote in the letter.

“All TSP’s must ensure that their network elements, including IT and other relevant systems are aligned with 13-digit numbering for M2M SIMs before 1st July 2018. The readiness of LI system has also to be ensured for 13-digit Mobile Number before 1st July 2018,” it added.

The migration is scheduled to start from October 1, 2018 and completed by December 31, 2018, the letter added.

A senior BSNL official confirmed the implementation of the new 13-digit mobile number system. “Note that the communication is only for machine-to-machine and not for regular customers,” the official added.

It’s worth noting that Airtel in its response to TRAI’s consultation paper on ‘spectrum, roaming and QoS related requirements in M2M communications’ had said that the DoT had indicated it would implement the new number system as well.

 “In fact, DoT has already approved a 13-digit numbering series for SIM-based M2M devices which will co-exist with the prevalent 10-digit mobile numbering scheme to be allocated for the Unified Licence (Access Service Authorization)/UASL,” the operator had said in its response.

If the new number plan is implemented, India will become one of the few countries to have the longest number of digits for phone numbers, excluding the international calling codes. According to a Wikipedia list, some operators in Germany use 13-digit phone numbers for certain services. China uses an 11-digit mobile number system.

The transition to a 13-digit number system has already created a lot of buzz on the social media, believing it will be rolled out for end users, which of course is not the case.

What is M2M communication?

It is an umbrella term for the direct communication between electronic devices. The technology is used to exchange information without needing involvement of humans.


The applications of M2M communication include fleet management, order management, vending machines, remote maintenance and control, and production chain monitoring and automation, among others. The technology is also being used for the emerging technologies such as Internet of Things (IoT)