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For those that haven't RTFA Japanese phone numbers have 11 digits, 123-1234-1234, of which the first three are reserved as identifiers. A lot of people also carry two phones. Many companies also still have fax machines. Even my pocket wifi has its own phone number (can't be dialed).

8 digits is only 100,000,000 possible unique numbers. So it looks like they're simply running out of numbers.

>Japanese phone numbers have 11 digits

10 digit numbers are still in use:


I've always thought of those as having an invisible 0 that's filled by the system, like when you call a landline number.

If the first three are reserved, why not just expand on those? There are sufficient 3 digit combinations for whatever they would need.

Good question. Who knows?

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.

> 8 digits is only...

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.

"identifiers" just means "area code", they're not wasted

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)

Fyi, Mexico (+52) and Argentina +(+54) have mobile and landline integrated into the same geographic numbering, although there's an extra digit for dialing a mobile, to indicate cost (will be phased out in Mexico soon)

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)

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