Saturday, August 20, 2005 - Bangladesh Telecom

BTRC formulates new national numbering plan

The Bangladesh Telecommunications Regulatory Commission has been working on a new numbering plan for operators. The plan is intended to address potential problems likely to arise in a multi-operator and multi-service environment.

The new plan could cater to the numbering needs for about the next 25 years given that there are no changes in the basic structure, said officials of the regulatory commission.

Commission officials said the commission has already prepared a draft of the new numbering plan with consultants from international telecom union, a UN based organisation to oversee telecommunications and ICT development across the globe.

The current national numbering plan was last reviewed in 2001, which covered basic as well as other services like mobile and paging.

Commission officials said although the numbering plan could cater to the needs of the existing and new services for another few years, the commission felt there was a need to review the existing plan because of introduction of a large number of new telecom services and opening up of the entire sector for private operation.

"The existing numbering plan has certain limitations and bottlenecks, which could complicate telecom growth," said a commission official. He said the current plan was formulated at a time when there were no competition in basic telecom services and the competition in mobiles had just begun.

"As such, the commission felt the need to review the existing plan and formulate a new one, which will be futuristic, flexible and be able to cater to the numbering needs for about the next 25 years," the official observed.
Keeping this in view, the new plan has been formulated for a projected forecast of 100 per cent tele-density by the year 2031 and thus making numbering spaces available for more than 19 crore connections comprising fixed, WLL and cellular mobile connections, added the official.

According to the officials, the new plan will be able to meet the challenges of the changing telecom environment, reserve numbering capacity to meet the undefined future needs, support effective competition by fair access to numbering resources, meet subscriber needs for a meaningful and user-friendly scheme and to standardise number length wherever practical keeping the changes in the existing scheme to the minimum, said the draft.

According to the draft plan, only the decimal character set 0-9 has been used for all number allocations while letters and other non-decimal characters will not form part of the National (Significant) Number.

In the plan, closed numbering scheme with 10-digit national number has been followed as it would expand the existing numbering capacity ten times.
The National Numbering Plan would be a zone based scheme with one digit identifying the zone and the next nine defining the subscriber number. Nine digits would be used to identify subscribers within each zone.

The commission has segmented the country into five zones - central, southeast, southwest, northeast and northwest - to provide landline licences to private operators and the commission has already issued 35 licences to 19 public switched telecom network operators in four zones except the central zones.

On the other hand, there are around five mobile phone operators providing service across the country.

As per the draft, all service providers will use '100', '101' and '102' for police, fire and ambulance services, which was not available in the existing plan.

Source: NewAge

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