As per existing guidelines, a new operator is allocated 10 lakh numbers per circle and thereafter, more are allotted based on subscriber additions. (Agencies)
"There is a critical need to reconsider the criteria for allocation of new number series," the country's biggest mobile operator by subscribers said.
In a letter to DoT Secretary MF Farooqui, Airtel said, "The present policy is extremely stringent, resulting in inordinate delays, seriously limiting the customers and operators ability to seek or add new customers."
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.
"No additional benefit should be conferred on any particular service provider by giving them additional numbers beyond their scope," COAI had said.
Reliance Jio did not offer any comments on the matter. 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.
As per existing guidelines, a new operator is allocated 10 lakh numbers per circle and thereafter, more are allotted based on subscriber additions.