Safaricom and Airtel already have 5 million numbers of the new 01xx prefix

One of the roles of the Communications Authority of Kenya is to assign new mobile numbering prefixes that we use on Safaricom, Airtel, and Telkom. At the moment, we have 07xxxxxxxx as the common prefix used by all operators, but as from “immediately” these telcos can begin assigning users phone numbers with prefix 01xxxxxxxx.

According to the CA:

The move to release the new series of numbers is necessitated by increased demand for SIM cards, mobile data and Machine-to-Machine (M2M) communications and other emerging technologies that require telecommunication numbers.

The CA notes that each prefix can be assigned up to 100 million phone numbers. Thus, like 07xx that has a capacity of 100 million, the new 01xx prefix also gets a similar capacity. Out of this, Safaricom and Airtel have already grabbed 2 million and 3 million phone numbers, respectively.

What this means is you can already get yourself a Safaricom or Airtel phone number with the new prefix in the country. I’m yet to confirm this myself, though.

It also means that soon, a phone number that reads like 010012345678 will call you, so don’t freak out and instead pick it up because it’s a genuine Kenyan number. I believe the usual +254 code will be there, too.

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