Japan is running out of 11-digits phone numbers, thus Japan’s Communication Ministry is planning to create 10 billion 14-digit phone numbers. Japan fears that by 2022, the country will run out of 11-digit phone numbers.
According to reports, the three leading mobile operators in Japan i.e. NTT Docomo, KDDI, and SoftBank have already approved the plan.
The 14-digit 10 billion numbers will begin from “020.” It is the prefix that currently Japan uses for the Internet of Things devices. Even though it was introduced in 2017, already 32.6 million out of Japan’s 80 million “020” numbers have been assigned by March 2019.
As Japan is planning to launch its 5G-enabled device by 2020, this number will increase, adding pressure on the numbers available.
This is not an issue just in Japan. In 2014, in the UK callers in specific areas started using a five-digit area code prefix when they made a call even when it was a local call. Now as the country is moving towards the IP-based telephone networks, Ofcom is considering dropping the idea of area codes completely.
As the tech industry is improving day by day and 5G networks will launch, other countries might also start to face similar number issues as faced by Japan.