Telephone numbers in Australia

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Australia telephone numbers
Australia (orthographic projection).svg
Location of Australia (dark green)
Location
Country Australia
Continent Oceania
Regulator Australian Communications and Media Authority
Type Open
NSN length 9
Typical format (0x) xxxx xxxx
04xx xxx xxx (mobiles)
Access codes
Country calling code +61
International call prefix 0011
Trunk prefix 0

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 and Media Authority taking place between 1994 and 1998.[1]

Overview[edit]

For landline telephony, Australia is now geographically divided into four large areas, most of which cover more than one State and/or Territory. All "Local" telephone numbers within these four areas are of eight digits, consisting (mainly) of a four digit "Exchange" code plus a four digit number. The "National 'Significant' Number" consists of a double digit "Area" code followed by the "Local" eight digit number - a total of ten digits. To access the "National 'Significant' Number" of a landline telephone from a different "Area" (or from a "Mobile" 'phone), within Australia it is necessary to dial the Australian "Trunk Access Code" of 0, plus the "Area" code, followed by the "Local" Number. Thus, the "Full National Number" (FNN) has ten digits.

The Australian "Trunk Access Code" (0) and the following digit(s) specify the type of service required. The following is a high level listing of the numbering plan (including the "Trunk Access Code"), presented in domestic format. (Geographical region boundaries do not exactly follow State borders.)

  • 000 Emergency access
  • 0011 International access (Certain other prefixes are also in use by certain service providers, see below)
  • 01 Alternative phone services
  • 02 Geographic: Central East region (NSW, ACT)
  • 03 Geographic: South-east region (VIC, TAS)
  • 04 Digital Mobile services (GSM, 3G and 4G)
  • 05 Digital Mobile services (0550 allocated to Location Independent Communication Services)
  • 07 Geographic: North-east region (QLD)
  • 08 Geographic: Central and West region (SA, NT, WA)
  • 1 Non-geographic numbers (mostly for domestic use only) and override prefixes.

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. In addition, each current area code has large number "ranges" unallocated.

When dialling from outside Australia it is necessary to dial the Country Code for Australia (61) followed by the nine digit "National 'Significant' Number" (the + symbol is used to represent International Access Code, e.g. +61 3 xxxx xxxx for a number in Victoria/Tasmania or +61 4xx xxx xxx for a mobile number). Some numbers beginning with a 1 may be dialled without any replacement, after dialling the required International Access Code and the Country Code for Australia (+61). (see below)

Australian "Local Area" numbers are of eight digits in length, conventionally written in the form xxxx xxxx. "Mobile" (Cell Phone) numbers are in the form of ten digits in length but must also include the Trunk Access Code 0 (when dialed in Australia) plus 4, which indicates the Service required is a "Mobile" number. Mobile numbers are conventionally written 04xx xxx xxx. If a landline or mobile number is written where it may be viewed by an international audience (e.g. in an email signature or on a website) then the number is often written as +61 x xxxx xxxx or +61 4xx xxx xxx respectively.

(The Australian National "Trunk Access Code" of 0 is not used for calls originated from overseas locations.)

Geographic numbers[edit]

Fixed line telephone numbers in Australia exist within four "areas", each specified by a double digit "area code". In major centres, the first four digits specify the CCA (Call Collection Area, also known as an "exchange"), and the remaining digits specify a number at that exchange, up to 10,000 of which may be connected. Smaller Exchanges in more remote areas may be specified by five or six "local" digits, meaning that no more than 1,000 or 100 numbers respectively could be connected to such exchanges.

To access numbers in the same area, it is necessary to dial only the eight digits concerned. To access a number in another area it is necessary to dial the "Trunk Access Code" (0), followed by the area code (2, 3, 7 or 8) and the specific "local" number.

The area codes do not exactly match State/Territory 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,[2] and Wodonga, which is in Victoria but is within the New South Wales (02) area code. Physical exchanges can be allocated one or more prefixes and modern technology allows sub-sets of these number ranges to be allocated to switching entities physically located at a distance from the "exchange" in which their controlling computer is located. (Thus, the concept of what is a "telephone exchange" can become somewhat blurred.)

Landlines use an open dialling plan: if the caller's phone shares the same area code as the called phone, the area code may be omitted. For example, a call from the number (02) 5551 5678, to the number (02) 7010 1111, will be connected if the caller dials only 7010 1111. Similarly, a person who dials 7010 5678 on a land-line 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 specified 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" (untimed) call.

However, the "Full National Number" may always be dialled. In fact, the full "International Number" may always be dialled, since the Australian telephone network has the "intelligence" to recognise when the destination required is either "International", in a different "National" area or within the "Local" area – and to switch and charge the call accordingly. Thus, it is strongly recommended that telephone numbers should be stored in mobile phones in the form of the full international number, should the owner of the phone be likely to use the phone concerned in an area away from "home", either within Australia or internationally.

Mobile phones[edit]

Within Australia, Mobile phone numbers traditionally begin with 04 - the Australian National "Trunk Access Code" 0, plus the Mobile indicator 4 - followed by eight digits. This is conventionally written as 04yy yxx xxx within Australia, or as +61 4yy yxx xxx for an international audience.

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, regardless of the caller's location. 04 is the National Trunk Access Code plus a prefix indicating the service required and not an "area code", as such.

In 2015 the 05 range (other than 0550) was also allocated to Digital Mobile Phones.

Geographic numbers[edit]

Geographical areas are identified by the first few digits of the local number:

Central East region (02)[edit]

South-east region (03)[edit]

North-east region (07)[edit]

Central and West region (08)[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa Prefixes proposed by ACMA and legislated in early 2008.[3] Note, some of these numbers are now actually in use
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o New in 2012
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al Added since renumbering
  4. ^ a b c d e f 0x 5550 and 0x 7010 reserved for fictitious use.[4]

Non-geographic numbers[edit]

Mobile phone numbers (04, 05)[edit]

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.[5]

Allocation for numbers in the range 04xy z00 000 – 04xy z99 999
y 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
z 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
040yz Telstra Optus Vodafone Telstra
041yz Vodafone Optus Vodafone Telstra
042yz * Vodafone Optus Vodafone Telstra
043yz Vodafone Optus Vodafone Optus Spare Telstra
044yz Spare T * Spare Telstra Vodafone
045yz Vodafone Spare Telstra
046yz Spare Optus Telstra Optus Lycamobile
047yz Lycamobile Spare Telstra Optus
048yz Spare Optus Spare Telstra Spare Telstra P T * * P
049yz Telstra * Spare Telstra
*Allocation of numbers in these ranges
Multi Range Provider
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 039 999 Symbio Network Pty Ltd
0420 040 000 – 0420 089 999 Spare
0420 090 000 - 0420 099 999 CLX
04201 0420 100 000 – 0420 109 999 Pivotel Satellite Pty Limited
0420 110 000 – 0420 119 999 COMPATEL Limited
0420 120 000 – 0420 199 999 Spare
04445 0444 500 000 - 0444 599 999 MBLOX
04888 0488 800 000 – 0488 899 999 Pivotel
04890 0489 000 000 – 0489 909 999 Novatel Telephony 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
04899 0489 900 000 – 0489 999 999 Pivotel
04915 0491 500 000 – 0491 569 999 Spare
0491 570 000 – 0491 579 999 ACMA
0491 580 000 – 0491 599 999 Spare

Satellite phone numbers (014)[edit]

Numbers beginning with 014 are predominantly used for satellite services. Parts of the 014 prefix had previously been used as a 9 digit, AMPS mobile phone access code.

The 01471 prefix is the ten-digit replacement for the previous, nine-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; the rest of the 014 prefix range is currently not allocated to any other service type. There is not a lot of demand for these services, and many satellite phones now have normal mobile phone numbers (prefix 04), so it is not likely for the entire 014 range to be allocated to satellite services.

Location independent communications service (0550)[edit]

These numbers are designed for VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) systems, where they 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.[6]

Data numbers (0198)[edit]

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[edit]

Most numbers that are no longer used have been removed from the Telecommunications Numbering Plan 2015, whether in previous variations or in this complete replacement. (See below)

However, the 0163 prefix is still allocated for use with pagers. This was reduced from 016 in a variation to the previous numbering plan. As of March 2011 only 1000 numbers were allocated, and by the end of 2012 there were none allocated.

Non-geographic numbers (domestic use)[edit]

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 services
    • 1100 – Dial Before You Dig
    • 112 – Alternative access to Emergency Services (Police, Fire, Ambulance; diallable from GSM mobile phones only)
    • 119x – Community services (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, except for VoIP and mobile phone users
  • 1345 xxxx – Local rate calls (only used for back-to-base monitored alarm systems)
  • 180 xxxx and 1800 xxx xxx – FreeCall
  • 188 xxxx – Premium SMS (since moved to 19 range)
  • 189 xx – Calling card service
  • 19 xx xx and 19xx xxxx – Premium SMS
  • 190x xxx xxx – Premium rate services (usually 1902 and 1900)

Some notes:

  • These numbers do not have a trunk prefix (0).
  • The 106 number is believed to be the first nationwide 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.[7]
  • 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)
  • 911 will not re-route to triple zero as the prefix 911x has been allocated to landlines under the current numbering plan.[8] 911 may redirect to 000 when using a mobile phone, like 112, but it is not encouraged as knowledge of these numbers causes confusion

Emergency services numbers (000, 106, 112)[edit]

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 landlines.[9] 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.).[10] 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.[11]

Local Rate and FreeCall numbers (13, 180)[edit]

Australia uses the free call prefix 1800 for 10 digit freecall numbers. This is similar to 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.[12] They are also known as priority 13, and priority 1300 numbers. These work across large areas (potentially the whole of Australia) and charge the caller only 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 current 8-digit local numbering plan. Businesses looking for local callers tend to connect to a "1300" number. 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.

Though promoted as "local call rate" calls, calls to 13 and 1300 numbers cost more than a local call fee for those people using VoIP and having all local and national calls free.[citation needed]

1800, 1300 and 13 numbers are reverse charge networks. Other than the length of the number, the differences between a 13 number and a 1300 number is that the shorter number has a higher fee for the owner of the number: there should be no difference in cost to the caller. A call to an 1800 is free when dialled from a landline. It depends on the individual mobile plan as how these numbers are charged: many plans now do not charge for 1800 but 1300 may still be charged at a high rate, or outside included calls.

These numbers "forward" to a geographic or mobile number. The recipient is usually charged at a set rate per second for each call, depending on plan and destination.

Premium numbers (19)[edit]

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 local 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.

International access[edit]

Default (0011)[edit]

The main international prefix is 0011. (E.164 international format is supported from phones with the ability to dial the '+' symbol. [13])

Others[edit]

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.
  • 0018 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.

Override prefixes[edit]

Provider override codes (14)[edit]

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. It is not clear if all these prefixes will actually work.

  • 1410 – Telstra
  • 1411 – Telstra
  • 1412 - Chime
  • 1413 – Telstra
  • 1414 – AAPT
  • 1415 - Vodafone
  • 1422 - Premier Technologies
  • 1423 - Soul Pattinson
  • 1428 - Verizon Australia
  • 1431 - Vodafone Hutchison
  • 1434 – Symbio Networks
  • 1441 – Soul Pattinson
  • 1447 – TransACT
  • 1450 - Pivotel
  • 1455 - Netsip
  • 1456 – Optus
  • 1464 - Agile
  • 1466 – Primus
  • 1468 - Telpacific
  • 1469 - Lycamobile
  • 1474 – Powertel
  • 1477 - Vocus
  • 1488 – Symbio Networks
  • 1499 - VIRTUTEL

Supplementary Control service (183) works from both landline and mobile[edit]

  • 1831 – Block caller-id sending
  • 1832 – Unblock caller-id sending

Caller identification control, on a Call by Call basis - mobile only[edit]

  • #31# - Block caller-id sending, for this call, then dial the the number you are calling.
  • *31# - Unblock caller-id sending, for this call, then dial the number you are calling.

Unlike the feature codes below, these caller-id prefixes work with all/most carriers.

Other numbers and codes[edit]

Feature codes – Telstra[edit]

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

Test numbers[edit]

  • 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
  • Other
    • 12711 – Current long-distance Carrier Name

Historic numbering plans[edit]

2010s[edit]

A lot of old numbers were officially removed from the Telecommunications Numbering Plan in the 2015 version, whether in the replacement version or a previous variation.

  • 018 AMPS (analogue) phone numbers are completely removed.
  • 0500 Personal Numbers are removed.
  • Unused prefixes such as 114 mass calling service are removed.

1990s[edit]

0055 numbers were previously premium-rate numbers, but have been moved into 190 numbers before 1999. They are still referenced by many Australians.

The original toll-free area code was 008, but the format was changed to 1800.

Directory assistance used 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.

0011 was initially the code for the operator, which later became the international exit code.

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.

1960s[edit]

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. For example, the exchange prefix for Essendon was FU (which translated to 37 and later became the 37x [then 937x] exchange used by the whole City of Essendon [which became the City of Moonee Valley in late 1994]). Although Melbourne city numbers began with 6, it was only rarely, and probably by accident, that any other exchanges had matching letters. Numbers using the old alphanumeric scheme were written as ab.xxxx, for example FU 1234 (the actual train of digits sent to the phone was "371234") or MW 5550 (685550). Seven-digit numbers started appearing as early as 1960, and were all numerical from the start. There were still some six-digit numbers in Melbourne as late as 1989, but by the 1990s, they all had been converted to seven-digit numbers. Footscray used 6-digit numbers in exchange code 68 until 1987, when they were changed to 687 or 689.

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.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]