Japan is running out of phone numbers, so it’s making longer ones

Japan’s communications ministry plans to create 10 billion 14-digit phone numbers in response to fears that the country’s 11-digit numbers could run out by 2022. Japan Times reports that the proposal has already been approved by the country’s three major mobile operators — NTT Docomo, KDDI, and SoftBank — and the new numbers could be introduced before the end of 2021.

The 10 billion numbers will start with “020,” the prefix that Japan currently uses for Internet of Things devices. Despite only being introduced at the beginning of 2017, 32.6 million out of the country’s 80 million “020” numbers had already been assigned as of the end of March 2019. With Japan’s 5G network due to launch in 2020, the amount of connected devices is likely...

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