Mobile phone: a tool that changed the way we are communicating today. Today more and more people have access to mobile phones whether it's smart or not. And what's the main goal of mobile phones? Calling. Calling requires you to have a subscriber identification module aka SIM. That SIM card is generally (if not always, in the case of telephony at least) associated with a phone number.
A phone number is a sequence of a given number of digits. Those digits put together must be unique in your country. Your phone number is an ID that allows your operator to identify you. To make sure all numbers are unique each country has its own regulator. In Côte d'Ivoire the regulator is the ARTCI. The regulator determines how many digits should each phone number have. That number must be big enough so that each citizen can have at least one phone number. In Côte d'Ivoire, the number of digits for each number at the time of writing is 8. How many phone numbers of 8 digits can we generate? Do the math :). Each phone number has a format:
# General phone number (8 digits) XX-XX-XX-XX # where X is a digit between 0 and 9.
The truth about those 8 digits is that the first two digits belong to an operator (Moov, MTN, etc.). So we can generalize like this:
# General phone number (8 digits) AB-XX-XX-XX # where A, B, and X are digits between 0 and 9. AB belongs to an operator.
That gives an operator 6 digits to generate all the possible phone numbers for its customers (at this point you should make sure you do the math correctly ;)). To simplify let's say we have two operators:
- Operator 1 whose customers numbers will start by 99
- and Operator 2 whose customers numbers will start by 11
The possible phone numbers now are:
# General phone number (8 digits) 99-XX-XX-XX # where X is a digit between 0 and 9. 11-XX-XX-XX # where X is a digit between 0 and 9.
We suddenly have fewer possibilities to generate phone numbers. Once we don't have enough room to generate new phone numbers what can we do? We increase the number of digits. But we have to be smart about how we increase that. Some well-known solutions consist in adding digits:
- at the beginning of the old phone number
- or at the end of the old phone number
If we decide to migrate all phone numbers from 8 to 10 digits the phone number format will be:
# case 1: MP-99-XX-XX-XX # where X is a digit between 0 and 9. MP-11-XX-XX-XX # where X is a digit between 0 and 9. # case 2: 99-XX-XX-XX-MP # where X is a digit between 0 and 9. 11-XX-XX-XX-MP # where X is a digit between 0 and 9.
This means that each citizen will have to add MP (start or end) to all phone numbers in it's contacts. The same goes for developers who saved 8 digits phone numbers into their database. To save you this complexity I introduce numbering plan. A library that will help developers migrate phone numbers from old format to the new format.
In this article, I took Côte d'Ivoire as an example to simplify things. But
numbering plan is not specific to Côte d'Ivoire. Instead, it's a configurable library.
First, you start by defining the migration rules for your country
val ivoryCoastPlanFactory: CountryPlan = CountryPlan.Builder() .setOldPhoneNumberSize(8) .setInternationalCallingCode("225") .setDigitMapperPosition(Position.START) // Position.END .setMigrationType(MigrationType.PREFIX) // MigrationType.POSTFIX .setPrefixesMapper( mapOf( "07" to "07", // Orange "08" to "07", // eg: 08 XX XX XX => 07 08 XX XX XX (if MigrationType.PREFIX is used) => 08 XX XX XX 07 (if MigrationType.POSTFIX is used) "09" to "07", "04" to "05", // MTN "05" to "05", "06" to "05", "01" to "01", // MOOV "02" to "01", "03" to "01" ) ).build()
Let’s break down all that:
setOldPhoneNumberSize(8): This means that your country has 8 digits phone numbers before the migration.
setInternationalCallingCode("225"): The International Calling Code for you country (USA: 1, France: 33, UK: 44, etc.).
setMigrationType(MigrationType.PREFIX): Explained below.
setPrefixesMapper(...): Key-Value pairs of digits. The key is the old digits and the value is new digits to add to the existing phone number. To understand let's assume that your phone number is
08 XX XX XXand your regulator decided that operators must add
07to all phone numbers starting with
08. The regulator decides where they must add the new PREFIX". If they decide to add the new.PREFIX at the beginning of the phone number then your new phone number will be
07 08 XX XX XXat the end of the migration. As a general library, we must think about different use cases. That's why we introduced
MigrationType.PREFIX|MigrationType.POSTFIXwhich determines where to add the new.PREFIX. If it must be added before the old phone number then use
MigrationType.PREFIX. Otherwise, you should use
MigrationType.POSTFIXthat will add the new digits after the old phone number.
setDigitMapperPosition(Position.START): In the example above we had to add (start or end)
07to phone numbers starting by
08(this corresponds to
Position.START). But what if you want to add (start or end)
07to old phone numbers ending with
08? For the last use case, you should use
Then you pass those rules to
NumberingPlan and you can start the migration:
val ivoryCoastPlanFactory: CountryPlan = ... val numberingPlan = NumberingPlan(ivoryCoastPlanFactory) val newPhoneNumbers = numberingPlan.migrate( mapOf( "userId-1" to "08060709", "userId-2" to "06060709", "userId-3" to "03060701", "userId-4" to " 03 060 701 ", "userId-5" to " 03-060-701", "userId-6" to "zezae/03-060-701", "userId-7" to ")'.03-060-701" ) )
After the migration
newPhoneNumbers will be equal to:
mapOf( "userId-1" to "002250708060709", "userId-2" to "002250506060709", "userId-3" to "002250103060701", "userId-4" to "002250103060701", "userId-5" to "002250103060701" )
Invalid phone numbers are removed.
migrate is a synchronous method that takes as input the list of phone numbers to migrate and returns the new phone numbers. Only valid phone numbers will migrate.
A valid phone number is a phone number whose size is the one specified by
setOldPhoneNumberSize and that of course contains only digits, spaces, and/or dashes.
At the time of writing, here are some known limitations:
- Migrates only valid phone numbers.
- Can add new digits before or after the old phone number. We decided to not handle in between insertions.
- Can only look for digits to replace at the start or the end of old phone numbers. We think this shouldn't be a problem (generally) but as of now, we decided to not handle such cases.
- It is synchronous. This is a choice that will let you pick any library you want to handle async tasks.
The limitations may (will) change. That's why you should always check the project repo at https://github.com/ouattararomuald/numbering-plan. The library is open-source and of course contributions are welcome.