Japan plans for 10 billion 5G devices by adding 14-digit phone numbers

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Increased data bandwidth might be the best-known advantage of 5G cellular technology, but new 5G networks will also support billions of newly connected devices, ranging from cars to internet of things sensors — each with their own telephone number. With its 5G rollout just around the corner, Japan is preparing for a surge in demand for new phone numbers by expanding the maximum number of digits from 11 to 14, a change that will enable mobile carriers to offer 10 billion new numbers starting with the 020 prefix.

In the United States, seven-digit local numbers are always preceded by three-digit geographic area codes, and while Japan has a similar 10-digit system for geographic numbers, it has used either 10- or 11-digit numbers for non-geographic numbers. Japanese mobile phones and other wireless devices are assigned non-geographic numbers.

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