Algeria’s telecoms regulator the Post and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (ARPT), has announced plans to replace the existing nine-digit number system with ten digits, effective from 22 February 2008. The existing system has been in place since December 2000 but is creaking under the strain of increased demand for both fixed and mobile services in the country. ARPT chairman Mohamed Belfodil announced the decision last month; the new plan was developed by French firm ARCOM, with co-operation from the country’s mobile operators Djezzy, Mobilis and Nedjma. The upgrade will take place in two phases: phase one will involve mobile telephones and so-called ‘short numbers’, while the second phase (scheduled for 5 July 2009) will affect fixed telephones. Under the new system it should be possible to keep up with current demand and double the penetration rate by 2015, which is expected to increase five-fold, the regulator said.