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Government bodies and banks to use 160 numbering series for service calls: DoT

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In Short:

To reduce unwanted phone calls, the telecom department has allocated 160 numbering series for business calls and limited marketing calls to 140 series. Government will use 1600ABCXXX format, while financial entities will use 1601ABCXXX for service calls. This helps users identify caller’s purpose easily. Trai also recommended displaying caller’s name for personal and enterprise calls. This move will benefit banks and prevent fraud.


Telecom Department Allocates New Numbering Series to Curb Pesky Calls

In a bid to reduce unwanted marketing calls, the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has designated a new numbering series specifically for transactional and service calls made by businesses. This measure limits marketing calls to a separate numbering series.

New Numbering Series Allocation

All central and state government entities will now use 10-digit phone numbers in the format of 1600ABCXXX, while financial entities regulated by RBI, Sebi, IRDAI, and PFRDA will utilize 1601ABCXXX for service calls, as per the notification issued by DoT on Tuesday.

This decision categorizes phone numbers into marketing (140 series) and service (160 series) calls to help users differentiate the nature of the call easily.

Benefits for Subscribers

The move aligns with Trai’s recent recommendations for network operators and mobile device manufacturers to display the caller’s name, aiding subscribers in identifying legitimate calls.

Financial institutions, particularly banks, will benefit from this demarcation by being able to effectively communicate important information such as credit card payment reminders to customers without being mistaken for spam calls.

The introduction of the new 160 series also aims to protect subscribers from falling victim to fraudulent activities where scammers pose as legitimate bank representatives.

Implementation Details

According to DoT’s notification, the new numbering format will be 1600ABCXXX, where XXX ranges from 000 to 999, AB denotes the telecom circle, and C represents the service provider.

Entities outside the government and financial sectors seeking to acquire numbers under this category must obtain approval from the telecom regulator.

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