Telephone numbers in Australia
Location of Australia (dark green)
|Regulator||Australian Communications and Media Authority|
|Typical format||(0x) xxxx xxxx|
|Country calling code||+61|
|International call prefix||0011|
The Australian telephone numbering plan describes the allocation of phone numbers in Australia. It has changed many times, the most recent major reorganisation by the Australian Communications Authority taking place between 1994 and 1998.
- 1 Overview
- 2 Geographic numbers
- 3 Non-geographic numbers
- 4 Non-geographic numbers (domestic use)
- 5 International access
- 6 Override prefixes
- 7 Other numbers and codes
- 8 Historic numbering plans
- 9 See also
- 10 References
- 11 External links
Australia is divided geographically into four large area codes, most of which cover more than one state and/or territory. The standard telephone number in Australia (which within the telecommunications industry is referred to as an FNN – Full National Number) has ten digits, of which the first is '0'.
The first digits specify the type of service. The following list is a high level of numbering plan presented in domestic format. Geographical region boundaries do not exactly follow state borders.
- 00 Emergency and International access
- 01 Alternative phone services
- 02 Geographic: Central East region (NSW, ACT)
- 03 Geographic: South-east region (VIC, TAS)
- 04 Digital Mobile services (GSM and 3G)
- 05 Location Independent Communication Services (formerly "personal" numbers)
- 07 Geographic: North-east region (QLD)
- 08 Geographic: Central and West region (SA, NT, WA)
- 1 Non-geographic numbers (mostly for domestic use only)
Internationally the first 0 is replaced by the +61 country code (e.g. +61 3 xxxx xxxx for Victoria or +61 4xx xxx xxx for a mobile number). Some numbers beginning with a 1 may be dialled without any replacement. (see below) There has been careful planning to avoid clashing with 01x numbers in this case.
End-user numbers are 10 digits long, conventionally written in the form (0x) xxxx xxxx for geographic and 04xx xxx xxx for mobile numbers. If the number is written where it may be viewed by an international audience (e.g. on an email signature or website) then the number is often written as +61 x xxxx xxxx or +61 4xx xxx xxx respectively (the initial 0 is not used for calls from overseas).
Fixed line telephone numbers in Australia consist of the area code (two digits, starting with '0'), and an eight-digit local number. The area codes do not exactly match state boundaries. Notable are the part of New South Wales around Broken Hill (a large part of the state's area but less than 1% of its population), which uses (08) 80xx numbers, and Wodonga, which is in Victoria but is within the New South Wales (02) area code. The first four, five or six "local" digits generally specify the CCA (Call Collection Area, also known as an exchange), and the remaining digits a line at that exchange. Virtually all exchanges have more than one prefix: prefixes were added as demand grew.
Landlines use an open dialing plan: if the caller's phone shares the same area code as the receiver, the area code may be omitted. For example a call from the number (02) 5551 5678, to the number (02) 7010 1111, will get through if the caller only dials 7010 1111. Similarly, a person who dials 7010 5678 on a landline or mobile phone in Melbourne (i.e., within the 03 area) will be connected to 03 7010 5678. For this reason, landline numbers are often given out without the area code. If a person's number and the destination number share the same area code, then the area code is not required, even if it is not a "local" call.
Mobile phone numbers begin with 04, followed by eight digits. e.g. 04yy yxx xxx. The y-digit codes are allocated per network, although with the introduction of number portability, there is no longer a fixed relationship between the mobile phone number and the network it uses. New numbers are still allocated to phone companies in blocks, so a new number will generally still be on its "home" network.
Within Australia, mobile numbers must always be dialed with all 10 digits, no matter where they are being called from. 04 is a prefix, not an "area code", as such.
Geographical areas are identified by the first few digits of the local number:
Central East region (02)
South-east region (03)
North-east region (07)
Central and West region (08)
Number prefixes used in state capital cities
Mobile phone numbers (04, 05)
Each mobile phone company is allocated numbers in blocks, which are listed below. However mobile number portability means an individual number might have been "ported". There are also many MVNOs which use numbers from their wholesaler or might have their own ranges. A search function is also available on the ACMA website.
ACMA plans to introduce the "05" range for mobile numbers in 2017, when the "04" range is expected to be exhausted.
|04200||0420 000 000 – 0420 019 999||Rail Corporation New South Wales|
|0420 020 000 – 0420 029 999||Dialogue Communications Pty Limited|
|0420 030 000 – 0420 099 999||Spare|
|04201||0420 100 000 – 0420 109 999||Pivotel Satellite Pty Limited|
|0420 110 000 – 0420 199 999||Spare|
|04888||0488 800 000 – 0488 899 999||My Number Pty Ltd|
|04898||0489 800 000 – 0489 839 999||Spare|
|0489 840 000 – 0489 849 999||Victorian Rail Track|
|0489 850 000 – 0489 899 999||Spare|
Satellite phone numbers (014)
Numbers beginning with 014 are predominantly used for satellite services. Parts of the 014 prefix had been used as a 9 digit, AMPS mobile phone access code. While these parts are still "reserved" for analogue mobile phone services there are none allocated for this purpose.
The 01471 prefix is the 10 digit replacement for the previous, 9 digit ITERRA satellite phone code 0071 xxxxx. Prior to its use for ITERRA (and other satellite services). These numbers were allocated in March 1999.
0145xxxxxx numbers are used for services utilised on the Optus network in Australia. This is predominantly used for MobileSat and Thuraya mobile satellite services. These numbers were allocated in December 1992: 220,000 with the rest "spare".
The prefixes 0141, 0142, 0143, 0145 and 0147 are set aside for satellite systems – presumably the entire 014 prefix will eventually be made available. However, there is not a lot of demand for these services, and many satellite phones now have normal mobile phone numbers (prefix 04).
Location independent communications service (0550)
These numbers are designed for VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) systems, where they are work like a fixed number but not allocated on a geographical level. It is possible that LICS numbers will be absorbed into mobile numbers in the future, as they provide similar features. Indeed, the July 2012 variation of the numbering plan allocated the rest of the 05 range to digital mobile numbering.
Data numbers (0198)
All calls to 0198 numbers are a "local call" cost like 13 and 1300 numbers but are used for internet service provider access numbers. They are used both with dial up modems and ISDN. e.g. 0198 379 000 is the Dial-Up PoP number for iiNet
Obsolete numbers (014, 015, 016, 017, 018)
Some numbers are still in the plan that are no longer used.
The 016 prefix is used for pagers. As of March 2011 only 1000 numbers were allocated, and by the end of 2012 there were none allocated.
The 015 and 018 prefixes (along with parts of 014 and 017) were used for Analogue (AMPS) mobile phones. As of March 2011 only 3 numbers are allocated. These numbers were migrated into the 04 range in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
Non-geographic numbers (domestic use)
The following codes are not generally dialable from international points, but used in domestic dialling:
- 000 – Emergency (Police, Fire, Ambulance)
- 106 – TTY emergency (for the hearing-impaired)
- 11 – Community service
- 1100 – Dial Before You Dig
- 112 – Emergency (from GSM mobile phones only)
- 114x xxxx – Mass calling service
- 119x – Community service (e.g. 1194 is time and 1196 is weather)
- 12 – Network services
- 122x – Operator services (e.g. 1223 is directory assistance)
- 1225 – International directory assistance
- 123x – Operator services (e.g. 1234 is Sensis personal assistance)
- 124xx – Operator services (e.g. 12456 is Sensis Call Connect)
- 125xxx – Telstra Mobile Services (e.g. 125111 is Telstra Mobile Customer Service)
- 1268x, 1268 xxxx and 1268 xxx xxx – Internal network services
- 127 – Testing numbers (e.g. 12722123 reads your number from a Telstra line, 12723123 reads your number for an Optus line) (length varies)
- 1282 – Call information service
- 128xx – Call information service
- 13 xx xx and 1300 xxx xxx – "Local Rate" calls
- 1345 xxxx – Local rate calls (only used for back-to-base monitored alarm systems)
- 15 – Internal network testing
- 180 xxxx and 1800 xxx xxx – FreeCall
- 188 xxxx – Premium SMS (since moved to 19 range)
- 19 xx xx and 19xx xxxx – Premium SMS
- 190x xxx xxx – Premium rate services (usually 1902 and 1900)
- These numbers do not have a trunk prefix (0).
- The 106 number is believed to be the first nation-wide TTY emergency service in the world.
- 13 xx xx, 1300 xxx xxx and 1800 xxx xxx numbers can provide source-based routing, used by organisations such as pizza chains that advertise one number nationwide that connects customers to their nearest store.
- Virtually all FreeCall numbers in use are 1800 xxx xxx, though some organisations do use the shorter 7-digit version.
- Some of these numbers are dialable from overseas, it is up to the individual owner to set this up correctly (for 13 and 18 numbers at least) (e.g. +61 13x xxx)
The current numbering plan would appear to be sufficient to cope with potential increase in demand for services for quite some time to come. The 06 and 09 area codes are completely unused, plus each current area code has large spaces unallocated.
Emergency services numbers (000, 106, 112)
000 is the primary emergency telephone number in Australia. Secondary emergency numbers are 106 (for use by the hearing impaired with a TTY terminal) and the international GSM mobile emergency telephone number 112.
Increased awareness of the 112 emergency number in Australia has led to the potential for confusion over which number to call in an emergency. As a secondary emergency number, 112 is not guaranteed to work from all technologies; most notably, it does not work from land lines. In order to encourage use of 000, mobile telephones imported commercially into Australia are required to be programmed to treat 000 in the same fashion as 112 (i.e. dialling with key lock enabled, use of any carrier, preferential routing, etc.). On older or privately imported (e.g. roaming from another country) telephones, 000 may not receive such preferential treatment.
A proposed amendment to the Telecommunications (Consumer Protection and Service Standards) Act 1999 would prevent carriers from providing emergency services access to SIM-less devices, i.e. mobile telephones that do not have a SIM installed.
Local Rate and FreeCall numbers (13, 180)
Australia uses the free call prefix 1800 for 10 digit freecall numbers. This is copied from the North American or NANPA prefix 1–800, but while in North America, the 1 is the long-distance or toll prefix and 800 is the area code; 1800 in Australia is itself a "virtual area code" (prior to the introduction of 8-digit numbers, the free call code was 008). There are also seven digit freecall numbers beginning with 180 – the only numbers currently allocated begin with 1802.
The 13 and 1300 numbers are known as Local Rate Numbers or SmartNumbers. They are also known as priority 13, and priority 1300 numbers. These work across large areas (potentially the whole of Australia) and only charge the caller a low cost, routing the call to the appropriate place in a given area. For example, a company could have the number 139999 and have the telephone company set it up so that calls made in Melbourne would route to their Melbourne number, calls made in Brisbane to their Brisbane number, and calls made anywhere else in Australia route to their Sydney number, all at a local charge cost to the caller. 13 numbers were not available before the introduction of the new numbering plan. Businesses looking for local callers tend to connect a "1300". Note that these numbers are called "Local Rate" and not "Local" numbers, so do not necessarily cost the same as a local call: Indeed many (landline and mobile) phone plans do not even include them in the "included" credit and/or charge them at a higher rate than "normal" numbers.
1800, 1300 and 13 numbers are reverse charge networks. There is no real difference between a 13 number and a 1300 number other than the length of the number, though the shorter number has a higher fee for the owner of the number. The difference between a 13 number and an 1800 number is that a 13 number attracts a local call connect fee (around 25c) when dialled from a landline. A call to an 1800 is free when dialled from a landline. Note that higher fees usually apply when either type of number is dialled from a mobile phone. These numbers "forward" to a geographic or mobile number. When a 13 number is called by a user in the same local call area there is usually no cost to the recipient for the first 20 minutes. The recipient is usually charged at a set rate per second for each call, depending on plan and destination.
Premium numbers (19)
190x (not to be confused with 0198) is the prefix for premium rate services (e.g. recorded information, competition lines, psychics, phone sex, etc.). (Prior to the introduction of 8-digit numbers, the area code was 0055.) 190 numbers incur a rate as charged by the provider – either at a per-minute rate (limited at $5.50 per minute) or a fixed rate (up to $38.50 per call). The latter method is most often used for fax-back services, where a timed charge is not appropriate. Costs of 190 calls for competitions involving chance are also often limited by state legislation to $0.55 per call. (In the previous numbering plan, 0055 numbers were limited to three bands: Premium Rate, Value Rate and Budget Rate, with per minute rates of $0.75, $0.60 and $0.40 respectively.)
Other numbers beginning with 19 are used for premium-rate SMS services. These were originally trialled using the 188 prefix. These can range from a standard SMS cost (usually 25c), up to 55c for competition use, to several dollars for other uses, such as unique bid auctions.
The main international prefix is 0011. (For mobile phones, the plus symbol "+" can be used instead of the prefix.)
There are other codes for using a non-default carrier or a special plan:
- 0014 will route through the Primus network
- 0015 will use the Telstra network on a special mode for international faxing.
- 0016 will use the Telstra network
- 0019 will use the Optus network
- Other 4 and 5 digit prefixes beginning with 001 (and even 009) are available but have not been allocated.
However, carrier selection codes (14xx) are now also used, and carrier pre-selection is widely used.
Provider override codes (14)
These four-digit numbers are dialled before the destination number to complete and bill a call by a carrier other than the subscriber's service provider. For example, to use AAPT to call a number in Tokyo, Japan, subscribers would dial 1414 0011 81 3 xxxx xxxx, or to use Optus to call a Perth they would dial 1456 08 xxxx xxxx.
- 1411 – Telstra
- 1414 – AAPT
- 1434 – GOtalk
- 1441 – Vodafone
- 1447 – Corporate Holdings
- 1456 – Optus
- 1466 – Primus
- 1474 – Powertel
- 1477 – Vocus Communications
- 1488 – Axicorp
Supplementary Control service (183) works from both landline and mobile
- 1831 – Block caller-id sending
- 1832 – Unblock caller-id sending
Caller identification control - mobile only
- #31# - Block caller-id sending
- *31# - Unblock caller-id sending
Unlike the feature codes below, these caller-id prefixes work with all/most carriers.
Other numbers and codes
Feature codes – Telstra
These codes are only true for Telstra-infrastructure based landline phones
- Call waiting
- *#43# – Check call waiting status
- *43# – Enable call waiting
- #43# – Disable call waiting
- *44 – Dial before a number to disable call waiting for the call duration (Enabled on Ericsson 'AXE' and Alcatel 'S12' based exchanges)
- Call forward – immediate
- *#21# – Check Call Forward Immediate Status
- *21 [forward number] # – Enable Call Forward Immediate on all incoming calls
- #21# – Disable Call Forward Immediate
- Call forward – busy
- *#24# – Check Call Forward Busy Status
- *24 [forward number] # – Enable Call Forward when line is Busy for incoming calls
- #24# – Disable Call Forward Busy
- Last call return
- *10# – Check last missed call
- 0# – Redial last number (This is only enabled on Ericsson based Exchanges)
- Call control
- *30 [old pin] * [new pin] * [new pin] # – Setup/change current Call Control PIN
- *#33# – Check Call Control Status
- *33 [pin] # – Enable Call Control on line
- #33 [pin] # – Disable Call Control on line
- Telstra Landline Test numbers
- 12722123 – Playback the last connected or current landline number (add 1832 in front for private numbers)
- 12722199 – Ringback the current landline number
- Optus landline test numbers
- 1272312 – Playback the last connected or current landline number
- 1272399 – Ringback the current landline number
- From other subscribers including VoIP providers
- 1800801920 – Playback the last connected or current landline number
- 12711 – Current long-distance Carrier Name
Historic numbering plans
0055 numbers were previously premium-rate numbers, but have been moved into 190 numbers before 1999. They are still referenced by many Australians.
Directory assistance was split into various numbers: 013 for local calls, 0175 for other national calls, and 0103 for international. The two domestic numbers have been replaced with 1223, while 0103 has been replaced with 1225. Other numbers for directory assistance, often with a call connection option, exist depending on the carrier.
014 was originally the number for the time, (later 1104), which was changed to 1194 in 1976.
0176 was previously the reverse-charge call operator, which has been moved to 12550 or 3rd-party companies such as 1800 REVERSE.
Until the early 1960s, the first one or two digits of telephone numbers in metropolitan areas were alphabetical, with each letter representing a distinct number on the telephone dial. Each one-letter or two-letter code signified an exchange within an urban area. Rural and regional areas typically relied on manual exchanges, or only one automatic exchange for the whole town, so rural and regional numbers did not feature these letter prefixes.
This alphanumeric scheme was significantly different from the current system used for SMS messages.
The former alphanumeric scheme was:
- A = 1;
- B = 2;
- F = 3;
- J = 4;
- L = 5;
- M = 6;
- U = 7;
- W = 8;
- X = 9;
- Y = 0
The letters did not relate to the exchange name. Although Melbourne city numbers began with 6, it was only rarely, and probably by accident, that any other exchanges had matching letters.
The old call back number was 199, and could be used on public pay phones, and private numbers too. This has been moved to a new number 12722199.
- Telecommunications Numbering Plan – 1997 as amended 4 January 2008
- Telecommunications Numbering Plan Variation 2007 (draft)
- ACMA: Fictitious numbers for radio, books, film & TV
- "Demand pushes mobile numbers into the 05s". The Age. 18 July 2012. Retrieved 2012-07-18.
- Telephone numbering plan p224
- Official ACMA smartnumbers site
- Telephone Feature Codes
- List of Telephone Exchanges
- Excel file of exchange prefixes via Telstra Wholesale site
- Telecommunications Numbering Plan 1997
- All Areas by Prefix (official site)
- Australia dialing codes