New Delhi: The government is planning a 13-digit number for SIM-based machine to machine (M2M) communication, which will be used for controlling various devices including surveillance camera, car and child-tracking devices and smart electric metres using the internet.

The telecom department is understood to have informed operators, including state-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL), that a 13-digit numbering plan will be used for machine to machine (M2M) communication.

While the 13-digit numbering plan will be implemented from 1 July 2018 for M2M communication, the mobile phone numbering plan of 10 digits remains unchanged. BSNL, in a recent letter to its equipment vendors, said that in a meeting convened by the department of telecom (DoT) on 8 January, “it was decided that 13-digit M2M numbering plan will be implemented from July 1, 2018" and that all new M2M connections will be allocated the new 13-digit plan from the stipulated date.

M2M communication, a new-age technology, is at the heart of concepts such as smart homes and smart cars. M2M communication can include a gas, electricity or water meter communicating information it records such as consumption level, or a vending machine alerting distributor when stocks run low, or transmission of data about personal appliances.

“All TSPs (telecom service providers) must ensure that their network elements including IT and other relevant systems are aligned with the 13 digit numbering for M2M SIMs before July 1, 2018," the BSNL letter said citing the recent department of telecom (DoT) meeting in this regard.

The letter further noted that migration of existing 10 digit M2M numbers to 13 digits will take place between 1 October 2018 and 31 December 2018. “In view of the directions from the DoT, the undersigned (BSNL) has been directed to request you to ensure the provision for 13-digit numbering scheme for M2M communication in all the equipment to be supplied/deployed against Phase VIII...project," BSNL’s letter said.

In a tweet, the state-owned telecom corporation also cleared the air over the existing numbering scheme being used for mobile communication. “There is no change in mobile numbering plan which remains 10 digit. #BSNL preparing for Machine to machine (M2M) communications wherein 13 digit numbering scheme shall be used to connect billions of machines," BSNL tweeted.