14-digits?!?! Yikes. Not looking forward to using that!
8 digits is only 100,000,000 possible unique numbers. So it looks like they're simply running out of numbers.
10 digit numbers are still in use:
When Singapore ran out of phone numbers, they simply tacked on a single digit to every existing phone number. Japan's population is dwindling, that seems like a much easier option.
Sure, but the US with a much larger population only uses 10. 14 is bonkers, especially if it's just to preserve a method that basically wastes 3 of them.
As a user of this numbering system, this is how it generally looks like:
Landline numbers are dialed
0 - prefix to dial outside my area code
XX(X) - area code
XXX-XXXX - phone number
Mobile phones are
0 - prefix
70/80/90 - "mobile phones" area code
XXXX-XXXX - phone number
Since every number starts with a 0, you don't think of it as part of the number. Without the 0, most landlines are 9 numbers long and mobile phones are 10 numbers. When you're calling between landlines in the same area code, you only need 7 numbers.
The largest issue is the death of landlines and the rise of mobile phones. Lots of area codes dedicated to landlines when landlines are dying.
The NANP (north american numbering plan) is basically the only place in the world where cell phones get put into regular geographic area codes, due to the way cell phones are billed there (in the rest of the world, receiving calls on a cell phone is free, the caller pays the extra fees)
Brazil (+55) has mobile in geographic area codes, but separate prefixes within the area codes and longer than landlines (except for Nextel, which is a radio phone, not a mobile phone).
Some countries have been getting mobile phones in landline ranges as tarriff arbitrage, like Germany (+49) and Russia (+7, along with Kazakhstan, but I think it's only getting fuzzy in Russia). Others have been getting mobiles filtering in as fixed CDMA carriers using landline ranges start supporting mobile CDMA handsets (I forget where, but a few countries in Africa and southeast Asia)
The phone number (IMSI) is associated with the SIM card (or eSIM now) and can be trivially swapped out.
A network can definitely address a device by IMEI only. For example in most countries you can make emergency phone calls to 911/112 with no SIM card in your phone (and hence no phone number) and there are no troubles routing that call.
IIRC BSC can page terminals on PCH not only by TMSI (which should be the normal state) but also by raw IMSI or IMEI, but this is not an capability that gets you anything useful as the terminal has to have active association to the network to even listen on PCH and when the device is associated the network knows the relationship between all of these three values.
Phones have at most 15 digits? I'm putting 20 or 25 just in case.
The system used this value for generating tel: links in webpages - which meant the links wouldn’t work anymore - but users preferred keeping these custom labels to having Skype-integrated or iOS tappable links anyway.
That's fine, but if we have to go beyond 15 digits, it will probably be an upgrade as big as going to IPv6 128-bit addresses given that the ITU has specified fifteen for a while now:
I expect “020” isn’t currently a valid prefix in Japan. If so, this makes it a lot easier for software to know whether it has to wait for more digits in a phone number.
There probably are lots of other unused three-digit prefixes, but one has to assume what one deploys now will stay around forever (one century and counting), and that the future will demand space for things we have no idea of.
And 14 isn’t that bad. Bank accounts in Gibraltar (population 35,000 or so) have 23 characters, Kuwait’s (population 4,5 million) have 30, Malta’s (population about 500,000) 31 (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Bank_Account_N...)
> For “internet of things” devices, 11-digit numbers starting with “020” have been used since January 2017.
I thought that as well, but the more I think about it..: I'm pretty sure I did not type out a phone number for the last 5 years.
It's all numbers already saved in my contacts, new numbers I got via some form of text message or numbers on websites and the Google app.
It might be that people don't really type number all that often anymore.