With the number of IoT devices on the rise and the growing need for communication between various IoT-based devices, the Department of Telecom (DoT) has now issued a directive asking all telecom operators in the country to start issuing 13-digit M2M mobile numbers.
The new numbering scheme will be available for M2M (machine-to-machine) customers via telecom operators starting from 1 July, 2018.
What this also means is that existing M2M customers, which will in all probability be businesses, who are currently using a 10-digit number will be ported to a 13-digit number starting from 1 October, 2018.
The DoT seems to have given limited time to operators with a deadline for completion set for 31 December, 2018.
All telecom service providers (TSP) also have to ensure that their network elements including IT and other relevant systems are aligned with a 13-digit number before the 1 July, 2018.
Additionally, TSPs will also have to ensure the readiness of the L1 system for 13-digit number well before 1 July, 2018.
The following is a letter send by BSNL to its manufacturers/telecom equipment provider that reflects this:
For the uninitiated, M2M SIMs differ from the regular SIM cards used in mobile devices. These are special SIMs that are built for the field (for extreme conditions) and are only mostly used in IoT or connected devices (cars to windmills to data logging equipment) that facilitates communication between the two or more devices.
M2M SIMs are not ideal for mobile devices, because they only allow for data communication and are provided by various operators with special data packaged created for that very purpose. In fact, some M2M SIMs or communication packages only provide one-way communication, like to relay flow rate of oil in a massive pipeline project. The SIMs communicate over the usual global GSM network.