News Release

COMMUNIQUÉ : 8-Digit Migration

It has come to the knowledge of the ICT Authority (ICTA) that some incomplete information has been circulated in the media regarding the implementation of the 8-digit Numbering Plan for the Republic of Mauritius.

Accordingly, the ICT Authority wishes hereby to bring the following clarifications in relation thereto:-

  1. Consultations as to the need to migrate to the 8-digit Numbering Plan started in July 2003. All operators of the industry, including Mauritius Telecom (MT), participated in the consultation process. On the specific representation of MT, to the effect that three of its main exchanges and eighteen of its secondary exchanges would not have been able to support an increase in the number of digits, consensus was reached for migration to the 8-digit Numbering Plan to occur on or before October 2007.

  2. After a series of consultative meetings and more particularly the meeting held on 12th August 2005, the initial date for migration to the 8-digit Numbering Plan was set for 15th October 2007.

  3. On 23rd March 2006, MT subsequently suggested to the Authority to postpone migration to 8-digits which had been planned for October 2007. Amongst the reasons provided in support of the request, MT had expressed the view that the replacement of a couple of switches on its network, as decided in 2003, would not be beneficial to the telecom industry as a whole.

  4. In response to the request of MT, the ICTA had to reopen consultation on the matter on 29th June 2006; following which it was resolved that migration be done in a phased approach and priority be given to migration on the mobile networks in the first instance and with completion date set for 1st November 2009.

  5. The implementation of the migration plan was in process when in June 2009, the Authority received written requests from certain economic players to consider a further postponement of implementation of the relevant plan. The reasons evoked by these economic players were due to the severe global economic downturn resulting in all sectors enduring financial difficulties. After due consideration of the overarching public interest and the economic downturn as enunciated by the operators, which was indeed prevailing, the Authority had no alternative than to delay the implementation of the migration plan.

  6. At present with the exponential growth in mobile take-up in Mauritius, the situation has become so drastic that the 7-digit Numbering Plan cannot sustain the pressure placed upon it any more; in other words should the present numbering structure be maintained, the Authority would be unable to allocate any new number blocks. A situation of non-availability of free leading digits has also been reached under the present plan and this is further hampering development of the ICT sector.

  7. In view of this critical situation, the Ministry of ICT and the Authority have considered it pressing to proceed with the implementation of migration to 8 digits on mobile networks. As a result, during the consultative workshop held on 3rd May 2012, consensus was reached for the migration to the 8-digit Numbering Plan for mobile networks to be undertaken by the 1st September 2013 at the latest.

7 May 2012