Fixed line numbering scheme in Pakistan is likely to change from 7-digit to 8-digits in coming years, according to a PTA paper.  For the public this is going to be an annoyance – after all, who likes this kind of change? But this change is unavoidable has to be as the current numbering scheme is not going to be enough …. Pakistan is running out of available numbers.  It will be a big and painful change but it has been implemented in other countries in the past. If executed well, it will provide better and cheapaer communication facilities.

Numbering schemes determine how many unique phone numbers can be assigned. PTA has invited comments through a 47-page paper (pdf) titled “Public Consultation paper on Fixed Line Number Migration from 7 to 8 digits” on its website. The paper is quite comprehensive and includes a good review of Pakistan’s situation (numbering plan, geographic national plan areas, growth in demand etc) and also describes the numbering systems of a few selected countries of comparable size.

Here’s how Pakistan’s scheme is: So with an area code of say 021 there are only 8 million available numbers. And as of now Pakistan has 7 NPAs.

Here’s some general info from wikipedia:

Area codes in Pakistan are from 2 to 5 digits long – for instance 42 for Lahore; the smaller the city, the longer the prefix. All the large cities have a 2-digit code. Older exchanges have a 4, 5 or 6 digit number. Newer exchanges, those in the cities, have 7-digit numbers. It is common to write phone numbers as (0xx) yyy-yyyy, where xx is the area code. The 0 prefix is for long-distance dialing from within the country.

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