The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) is making plans to convert to 11-digit numbering as the ranks of mobile phone service users continues to burgeon.
NBTC secretary-general Takorn Tantasit said on Thursday that converting mobile phone numbers from current 10 to 11 digits could be done by changing the current three-digit prefix to a four-digit prefix -- by inserting an additional three number after the initial 0.
The NBTC board on Wednesday approved a draft of a numbering plan for telecom services, which being revised from the existing regulation. The panel plans public hearings next month and should be ready to put the new numbering system into effect early next year, Mr Takorn said.
The NBTC is considering the use of 11-digit mobile phone numbers if the growing number of mobile users cause a shortage in mobile phone numbers. (Photo by Pattarapong Chatpattarasill)
A numbering plan and numbering management plan would be revised every five years to accommodate market growth and encourage free and fair competition in the business with optimum benefits to consumers, he said.
The plan would govern all telecom services, not just mobile services, including fixed line, SMS and multimedia message numbers, and international dialing..
"The introduction of 11-digit numbers for mobile phones is just one issue of a draft plan that needs operators and other related parties to express their opinions," Mr Takorn said.
Currently, there are only 140 million remaining numbers available for issuing to mobile phone services -- 40 million for the 09 prefix and 100 million for the 01 prefix.
Introduction of 11-digit numbering would be critical if the 01 prefix begins being used in the mobile market. However, the NBTC hopes mobile operators will manage and rotate their existing numbers much more efficiently..
Currently mobile operators must pay two baht per number as a monthly numbering fee to the NBTC.