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Finite number of mobile numbers.


DANZIG

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I had a thought earlier.

A mate of mine changed his mobile number just by phoning his operator who gave him a new number over the phone, quite impressive service I thought. However there must be a finite amount of numbers out there to be used, I haven't done the maths to work out how many that finite number is, but it IS finite.

So....is his OLD number simply reused by someone else or discarded??

If it is re-used, wouldn't that cause privacy issues if the number was given to an -ex-contact (for example) of the phone owner?? Admittedly it would have to be an incredible coincidence though.

If its discarded - when are the numbers available going to run out? Then what??

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interzone55

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Mobile numbers are re-used, as long as a number is cancelled it will be re-used after about 6 months, but there's an awful lot of Pay As You Go numbers that will never be re-used as the number isn't cancelled. I've got an emergency phone with about £5 of credit in my glove box, every few months I power it up and call my other phone to keep it live.

Regarding one billion numbers being enough for 60 million people, in theory that should be enough, but many people have two phones (personal & work, wife & girlfriend etc), and mobile phones aren't the only devices that use a SIM with an 07 number.

At my last house there was an electric gate. The gate had a controller that contained a SIM so I could call the gate and it would open. Useful because if I had a delivery the courier could ring me and I'd then be able to open the gate from anywhere.

Many intruder alarms now have cellular modems so they can contact monitoring centres if the phone line is cut, and some of the cameras you see along the motorways have 3G modems built in to send snap shots of traffic conditions every 5 minutes or so (the cameras that are constantly streaming are linked either by fibre or Wireless with repeaters, a 3G signal is not reliable enough to stream video full time).

A recent study showed that in some countries there are now more mobile phones in use than people - Germany has about 5 million more phones than people, but the UK is coming close to parity...

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spider9

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Bremner "Your figures are somewhat out."

I think not. I was addressing the question of how many possible combinations there were of 11 digits, as the OP had originally asked.

I had expressly said "..in theory" and I therefore never considered the 07 digits that you mention, it was merely a theoretical observation.

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bremner

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Spider9

But if I were to count 11 digits instead of the 9 I have, then the total number of worldwide telephone numbers available would be 1000 billion not the 10 billion you suggested.

The number, however big is more than sufficient for every person and business to have as many landline and mobile numbers as they want.

And should the world populations become 10's of billions then they can make phone numbers 12 digits long but of course by then phones will have long since be relegated to museums :o)

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Pineman100

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Different countries have different mobile dialling prefixes and different numbers of digits. In France, for example, mobile numbers start with 06, and they have 10 digits as compared with our 11.

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spider9

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Bremner

Just to be a bit pedantic, if you look back I think you'll see my calculation was correct and was 100 billion! (A rogue 'space' may have confused you). Granted, I fell into my own trap later when I said "4 billion spares' - but as you say, the numbers are huge, anyway.

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interzone55

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spider9

what you aren't considering is the fact that each country has their own international dialling prefix, which means that phone numbers only have to be unique in their own country

07123 456 7890 can be a phone in the UK, and in the US, and China.

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spider9

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alan14

As I previously explained, I was only showing the theoretical number of permutations available, as asked by the OP. This I did, nothing more, nothing less.

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