Landline users in India will now have to prefix ‘0′ for all calls made to mobile phones starting today, January 15, according to a Department of Telecommunications (DoT) directive. The rule issued in November last year which goes into effect starting today means that calls made from landlines to mobile phones without the prefix ‘0′ won’t go through. All major telecom operators have begun informing their customers that the new landline to mobile rule for calls is now in effect.
The DoT order, called the “Modification of dialing patterns from fixed line numbers to cellular mobile numbers”, issued on November 20, 2020, says that the directive has been issued to ensure “adequate numbering resources for fixed-line and mobile users”. A circular from the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology that followed on November 25, 2020, said that the rule to prefix ‘0’ for landline to mobile calls takes effect from January 15, 2021. The circular also said that a total of approximately 2539 million numbering series is expected to be generated with the prefix ‘0’ rule.
As per the DoT order, telecom operators have to inform their users of the change in rule with a suitable announcement. It says that the announcement should be played whenever a landline subscriber dials a mobile number without the prefix ‘0′. This will also require telcos to provide their customers with the ability to start a number with ‘0′ for local calls. Airtel, as well as Jio, have started informing its fixed-line users that the rule has now come into effect. Other major telcos including BSNL and Vodafone Idea (Vi) are expected to follow.
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As reported earlier, the new rule follows a Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) recommendation issued in May. Before the rule kicked in, only the calls made from landlines to mobile phones outside a service area were to be prefixed with ‘0′, and all landline to mobile calls within a service area could be made without the prefix. As mentioned, the rule now mandates landline users to prefix all mobile numbers with ‘0′ for the calls to go through.
There will be no change in dialing numbers from landline-to-landline, mobile-to-landline, and mobile-to-mobile.