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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Mobile users trapped in recycling number game

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In Short:

Telecom companies in India are reissuing previously used mobile numbers due to limited resources and high demand. Over 10 million recycled numbers are put in the market monthly, causing problems for new users. The process is legal but leads to complications like calls from recovery agents meant for the previous user. Lack of coordination between departments results in new users having to update their details manually with banks, UPI, etc.

Recycled Mobile Numbers Pose Challenges for New Users

Many new mobile users are facing unexpected calls from bank recovery agents or are unable to link their number to bank accounts or UPI services because their numbers may have been recycled by telecom companies. According to officials, over 10 million recycled mobile numbers are introduced to the market every month. These numbers were previously used by individuals who stopped using or recharging them.

Reasons for Recycled Numbers

Telecom firms are allowed to withdraw a mobile number if it remains inactive or not recharged for six months. In the case of mobile number portability, the number will be withdrawn if a customer does not shift to another telco after a two-month period. Due to limited numbering resources and increasing demand for mobile numbers, recycled numbers have become common.

Challenges Faced by New Users

Although the issuance of recycled numbers is legal and necessary, new customers often encounter difficulties like approaching various authorities to disconnect details associated with the previous user. Lack of coordination between departments is cited as a major issue, leading to inconvenience for new users.

Government Initiatives

The Department of Telecommunications issues numbering resources for mobile and landline services. With increasing demand, numbering series up to level 6-9 are being utilized for mobile services. In November 2019, the DoT allocated a total of 1,917 million numbering resources for mobile services.

Industry Response

Major telecom companies like Bharti Airtel, Reliance Jio, and Vodafone Idea have not responded to queries regarding recycled mobile numbers. Officials emphasize the need for a unified platform to share information with all stakeholders to address issues related to recycled numbers.

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