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IDA issues mobile phone numbers starting with '8'



With wider choices, lower rates and the emergence of new wireless mobile services, more than four in five people in Singapore today subscribe to mobile phone services. This rapid growth of mobile phone usage is fast depleting the current pool of unused mobile phone numbers beginning with '9'.

The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) is gearing up for this continued growth and will issue new phone numbers beginning with digit '8' to mobile phone operators by end March 2004. This new number range will complement the existing mobile phone numbers with prefix '9'.

Announcing this at the Wireless Java Jam 2004 event earlier today at Victoria Theatre, IDA's Chief Executive Officer, Mrs Tan Ching Yee highlighted the need to introduce a new number range. Said Mrs Tan, "With new services, like wireless email access, multimedia messaging, even video telephony coming our way, we can expect our existing pool of mobile numbers to run dry."

Today, only 160,000 mobile phone numbers starting with '9' are left. Aside from mobile phone services, numbers starting with '9' are also used for emergency, paging and trunked radio services.

In Singapore, since the telecommunication market was liberalised in April 2000, mobile phone penetration has increased from 54% (1.7 million subscribers) to the present 83% (3.4 million subscribers). In fact, according to an IDC forecast, the number of mobile subscribers in Asia Pacific is set to rise from 421 million in 2003 to 683 million in 2007.

The move to introduce mobile phone numbers with prefix '8' will create 10 million new numbers that IDA will gradually distribute to mobile phone operators (i.e. SingTel Mobile, MobileOne and StarHub Mobile). The respective operators will announce details of when these numbers will be available to their subscribers at a later date.

As the new mobile numbers beginning with '8' will work in the same way as existing numbers beginning with '9', users need not change any settings on their mobile phones or purchase new handsets to support the new mobile phone numbers.

Companies or organisations that use PABX systems, Key Telephone Systems and multi-line systems should check with their vendors if any system reconfiguration is needed to support the mobile numbers starting with '8'.

For a list of vendors supplying such equipment and further information on mobile phone numbers with prefix '8' please refer to the IDA website, under the sections, "Spectrum & Numbering" / "Number Information" / "New Mobile Number Range".

Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) News Release 8 Jan 2004




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8 January 2004

Singapore Time