After reports last week that Chinese mobile phones will get new prefixes to enlarge the universe of possible numbers, now local media report that China may increase mobile phone numbers from 11 digits to 12 digits.

But unnamed analysts quoted in local media say it is unpractical to solve the problem by adding an extra digit because it will cause inconvenience not only to users but also to telecom operators who have to modify exchanger data. It seems adding new prefixes is the better way of increasing the number of options.

In order to deal with the growing mobile demand, China Mobile formally launched the "134" prefix during the National Day holiday in 2004. Then last week the Ministry of Information Industry allocated number sections prefixed with 15 and 18, respectively, for future 3G mobile phone users.

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