Nepal Telecom has recycled 15 lakhs (1.5 million) sim cards at once, as the operator found a scarcity of mobile numbers for issuing new SIM cards. So, the telco used the old number in a new SIM card that you can buy from the market now.
Currently, Nepal Telecom owns two codes in its GSM prepaid mobile number, namely the prefix 984 and 986. So, they can issue altogether of 2 crores (20 million) sim cards. As the total number of sim cards issued for GSM mobile reached two crores, the operator sought to reuse the mobile number within the guidelines of NTA.
As per the recent decision of NTA, a telco needs to block the Sim cards left unused for six months period. That means if a customer does not use any service with the sim card for six months, the sim card will become inactive automatically.
Nepal Telecom also seemed to have followed these regulations to reuse the old inactive numbers. We have found that there is an excellent charm for sim cards starting from 9841, which could be available in the market now. The availability of such a number is also pleasant news for all those who want to grab that number.
Earlier they used to let the subscriber own the number for two years after the completion of validity date. But now this period has been changed to six months only.
Although the regulation seems reasonable due to the scarcity of numbers, the revival of old sim cards would mar Nepali citizens living abroad. Nepalese coming from abroad always wants to use the mobile network immediately after landing here. They carry the sim card together with them so that they could make a last-minute call while leaving. Similarly, they would also like to hold their number for an indefinite period. But the current regulations do not have any provisions for the same.
Nepal Telecom has re-issued such a massive number of sim cards for the first time, Gorkhapatra Reports. They have already started re-issuing sim cards after the regulation came into effect. As the numbers may not be sufficient in a matter of a few months, the regulator needs to revise the numbering plan. It is due to this reason, the number of mobile subscribers had reduced with Nepal Telecom in the latest NTA report.
A couple of years ago, NTA was poised to implement a new numbering plan for all numbers including the 10 digit number for a landline phone. That time, they had not planned to increase the operator code for a telco as it was sufficient at that time. Now that the mobile numbers are scarce for telcos, NTA might come up with new guidelines.