By Andy Sambidge
Telco regulator says numbers will change from seven to eight digits from July 28.
Phone numbers in Qatar will change from seven digits to eight from July 28 to meet increasing demand for both fixed and mobile subscribers, the country's telecom regulator has announced.
The Supreme Council of Information and Communication Technology (ictQATAR) said the new numbering plan will create an additional 36 million mobile and nine million fixed telephone numbers, surpassing the highest forecasted demand for the next 15-20 years.
William Fagan, executive director of ictQATAR said: "Population and business growth has had an enormous impact on telecommunications service. Competition has driven growth in the demand for telephone numbers, with many customers having more than one handset.
"As the nation's ICT policy and regulatory body, ictQATAR is ensuring that businesses and individual consumers will be able to access a broad range of network services for years to come."
The change to eight digit numbers will happen automatically on July 28 for all customers - whether Qtel or Vodafone - with no interruption of service or affect on both networks, he added.
For both fixed and mobile users, the first digit of the number will be repeated, so that numbers that currently begin with 3 will now start with 33, those starting with 7 will now be 77. The only affected numbers will be those starting with 3,4,5,6 and 7.
All emergency telephone numbers within Qatar, including 999 and 112, will not be affected by the change.
For a period of three months after July 28, people who dial the current seven digit numbers will receive an automated recorded message asking them to dial again with the correct new eight digit number.