Why prefixing 0 will be mandatory ?

Why prefixing 0 will be mandatory ?


All Fixed to Mobile calls to be dialed with prefix ‘0’ from 15th January, 2021

      WHY IN NEWS:

This is to free up sufficient numbering resources for future use

MINISTRY? :- Ministry of Communications
SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3: Communication


For PRELIMS forget numbers here and look out for ministries , departments and why numbering combinations are ending up ! Let us dive in .


All calls made from Landline to mobile phones will be dialled with the pre¦x “0” from January 15.


  • India has 10-digit mobile numbering plans, and that series for numbers starting with “0” and “1” are reserved for special purposes.
  • Theoretically 800 crore numbers are possible.

The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has mandated prefixing “0” for all calls being made from fixed-line or landline phones to mobile phones. 

  • This will come into effect from January 15.
  • TRAI had arrived to this conclusion after studying the issue of adequate numbering resources for fixed line and mobile services.

Why prefixing 0 will be mandatory ?


  • All calls made from landline to mobile phones will be dialled with the prefix “0” X from January 15.
  • Those dealing a mobile number from a fixed phones without right now the prefix will hear an announcement.
  • Dialling “0” before the mobile phone number was a practice followed for outstation mobile numbers.
  • Previously, the government allowed inter-circle mobile number portability.

It effectively meant that there was no trunk dialling when it came to mobile numbers and all numbers were considered local.

  • However, from January 15, the dialling procedure for mobile phones to mobile phones will not change.


  • Till now, mobile numbers were traditionally registered to series starting from “9”, and some combinations starting with “8”, “7” and “6”.
  • Currently, with these combinations a total of 115 crore mobile numbers are available.

The “9” series — meaning mobile numbers starting with “9” has been fully used.

  • Those starting with other numbers overlap with certain numbering plans issued to landline phones.
  • Therefore, to create sufficient numbering combinations, the prefix “0” has been re-introduced.

In addition to subscription of mobile numbers by consumers, SIM cards are also being used for machine-to-machine communication purposes. 

  • These include use-cases such as smart meters, for which the government has already allocated a 13-digit numbering system.
  • TRAI had also recommended that all the SIM-based M2M connections using 10-digit mobile numbering series shifted to the 13- digit numbering series at the earliest.


  • As of August 31, 2020 there were already 114.79 crore wireless subscribers in the country.
  • On the one hand wireless subscriptions are gradually increasing.

“2” has been allocated to landline numbers of BSNL and MTNL, “4” has been allocated to Airtel, “35” and “796” has been allocated to Reliance Jio.

The decision to add the prefix will clear the overlap between landline and mobile phone numbers carrying the same series.

  • It will also free up numbering resources for mobile phones in the future.
  • In the near term itself, the exercise will result in generation of 253.9 crore numbers.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

  • A total of approximately 2539 million numbering series is expected to be generated from the above.
  • This will free up sufficient numbering resources for future use.

With the freeing up of sufficient numbering resources, more number of connections can be added in future.

  • The above changes have been done in order to have minimum inconvenience to the subscribers and freeing up essential numbering resources.
     SOURCES:  IE & PIB | Why prefixing 0 will be mandatory ?



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