After a notification by the Department of Telecom on M2M (Machine to Machine) connections, certain media outlets peddled the narrative that the government wants all existing mobile numbers to be converted into 13 digit ones. The news went viral and created a sense of panic among customers.
Here is what the Financial Express reported on the issue:
And this is what NewsX reported:
From the above news reports, one understands that the directive of the DoT applied to all mobile sim users. However, the letter communicated by the Ministry of Communication to TRAI says that ’13-digit numbering scheme has been approved for SIM-based M2M devices’.
M2M devices refer to those machines that require network connectivity. Examples of such devices are home automation systems such as communication with refrigerators or air conditioners, fitness health care services, woman safety bands and the likes.
Soon enough, Twitter users began to puncture holes on the media narrative.
The viral news of 13 digit mobile number is applicable only for Machine to Machine SIM’s (as per the letter) and most probably not applicable to Person to Person Sims. So calm down. ? #SlayerOfHoaxes
— Ashu? (@muglikar_) February 21, 2018
India to implement ” 13 Digit Mobile Number ” for M2M (Machine 2 Machine) Communication from 1st July 2018.
Migration of Existing 10 Digit Mobile number of #M2M Communication to 13 Digit system will start by 1st OCT
— SANJAY BAFNA (@sanjaybafna) February 20, 2018
Before long, the mainstream media began to change its tune and issued clarifications on the matter. The latest gaffe of the media is only reflective of their over-zealousness to put the news out first rather than focus on putting out the correct information for their readers. The directive specifically mentioned that the change in numbers was only for M2M devices, that the media interpreted it to mean all mobile phone numbers reflects on its ability very poorly.