Taking a stand in contrast to GSM industry body COAI, Bharti Airtel asked the Department of Telecom to liberalise the allocation of numbers to operators.
As per existing guidelines, a new operator is allocated 10 lakh numbers per circle and thereafter, more are allotted based on subscriber additions.
“There is a critical need to reconsider the criteria for allocation of new number series,” the country’s biggest mobile operator by subscribers said.
The Cellular Operators Association of India, which represents GSM players, including Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular, had recently written to DoT to allocate only 10 lakh numbers per circle to Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd (RJIL), in accordance with current guidelines.
As per media reports, Reliance Jio Infocomm had asked for 4 crore numbers to launch 4G operations in the country. RJIL holds pan-India spectrum for this service in 22 circles.
COAI had said the existing guidelines should apply to all service providers and should be applicable to new operators.
However, Airtel has urged DoT to review the policy “holistically and liberalise allocation of number series for the benefit of all telecom service providers in the industry.”
Airtel also requested DoT to expedite the conversion of unused fixed-line numbers and make them available for mobile services.