The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) is expected to permit mobile telecom operators to roll out new mobile numbers with ‘8’ as the first digit. The move has been necessitated following a huge spurt in the mobile subscriber base and having used up all mobile numbers beginning with ‘9’.

India’s cellular subscriber base has been growing substantially in the last two years, which led to the exhaustion of the existing sublevels of 9. According to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), India had 415 million cellular subscribers at the end of May 2009, compared to 277 million a year ago.

With the huge surge, DoT had asked telecom players to vacate the 95 level from the landline space for use by mobile operators. This move is expected to make place for 10 crore new numbers, of which DoT will retain 50% as space capacity.