Posts Tagged 1800 number

Who Sets Prices For Phonewords?

The government of course! But let’s not get negative, it is a business concept and a very good one from an entrepreneurial point of view.

Firstly I guess do you all know what a phoneword is?

Basically it is a 13, 1300 or 1800 number which has digits after the prefix, that spell a word when dialed using a numeric/text keypad on a phone. A business can have up to 10 digits/letters following the 13, 1300 and 1800 prefix. This is called over dialing and has been incorporated into all Australia phone networks (including mobile).

Now, generally they are a great marketing concept because it is much easier to remember 1300 WESTPAC, then the number that would represent that, 1300 93 78 72. Many marketing studies have been done and confirm that incoming call traffic and sales increase with the use of a Phoneword. It not only provides an “easy to remember” number for the caller but also enhances the branding of the company.

SO, where do we get these numbers?

Well if you are lucky enough, the number you want will be in the available, FREE Public List provided to all telecommunications companies in Australia.

However, it is very unlikely you will find the number you want within that free list but instead will have one of two choices;

1. Purchase the number outright so you have complete ownership, from the SMARTNUMBERS AUCTION SITE or,
2. Lease the number from a company who has previously purchased the number.

AND, to our initial question, who sets the prices on these numbers because the price at auction can range from a reserve of $250 all the way to $20,000.

The government body that has created the pricing strategy for phonewords purchased at auction is the Australian Communications And Media Authority (ACMA). The ACMA tell us that “the numerical patterns in numbers and the capacity of numbers to be translated to words” are the defining factors as to how prices are set. The table that best defines these elements and the relevant price charged can be found HERE

I hope that has helped and give some background into where the phoneword charges come from.

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Can I have A 1300 Number That Spells My Name?

One of the most common questions we get within the 1300 Number industry is How can I choose my number for my business?

Well there a basically four ways to choose a number;

1. A public list is issued to every telecommunications company in Australia, generally once a week, although it can be obtained as frequently as the company likes to update it really. Make a point of asking for the absolute current list from your chosen supplier. The benefit of this public list is that they come free of charge. That is, you do not have to pay anything to choose the number. You would simply go through the list and choose the number that you want (most companies will ask that you select 4 or 5 numbers in order of preference and they will obtain the highest preference for you).

2. Let your chosen supplier pick one for you, again this will be from the public list so the number will be free of any capital cost. The difference of course, is you would let the company issue one for you rather then have the luxury of choosing your own.

3. One of the problems with the public list, if you are specific about what type of number you are after, is that the government has taken out most of the numbers that would spell words and placed them in their web based auction system called Smartnumbers. You can purchase number from this government auction and the reserve prices start at $250 for the lower ranked or more obscure words. Prices can reach into the tens or hundreds of 1000’s believe it or not for the higher ranked words. So it is a careful decision that a business owner must make.

4. Finally, there are many companies in Australia that purchase these numbers via the auction system and the lease them back to businesses. This can be the most costly of all given that leases can again range from small amounts to very expensive depending on the Phoneword.

So that is basic round up of choosing a number, depending on your business cash flow and model.

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1300 Number routing for mobiles

Routing a 1300 or 1800 number can be done in a multitude of ways including time of day, overflows, barring mobiles or particular incoming callers, delivery by state, by regions, by telstra exchanges and much more.

The concern that has always existed, is the limitations of routing callers calling your 1300 number on their mobile phone.


Because, there are only limited numbers of mobile towers throughout Australia so the best you can do is large areas covered by a mobile tower. Thus, if a franchise has multiple branches in the same area covered by just one mobile tower, you have a problem. Fixed line callers calling your 1300 or 1800 number are different, because a telco can route every Telstra Exchange to its own answer point, and there are 1000’s of Telstra Exchanges. Fixed lines are much more controllable. Thus, if a business wants to mirror fixed line and mobile line callers to their inbound number, It cannot be done by direct routing.


Telco’s have solved this issue by creating the Postcode Prompter technology.

This allows a franchise or business with multiple stores to land their 1300 number to a postcode prompter platform, and instruct the caller to enter a postcode to be delivered to their nearest store. The benefits are numerous including;

– efficient delivery of callers on both fixed line and mobile lines,
– a system that is able to be branded with audio and announcements,
– in depth reporting,
– individual billing to franchisees and more.

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Difference between 1300 and 1800

One of the most common questions to a 1300/1800 provider is why would I choose one or the other, 1300 V 1800?

Well the best way to view this difference is by considering two things, the owner AND the caller of the 1300/1800.

The Owner – would consider a 1300 where they have a majority local callers because a 1300 number has free time (usually 15 to 20 mins) per call where it is a “local call”. That is defined as being where the caller AND the owner are both on fixed phone lines when the call takes place and “generally” the caller is within 50 to 60 km’s from where the owner takes the call. This is a rough estimate, but more relevant, if it is normally a “local call” toll that the caller would pay to call the owner of the 1300 number, then this is a local call.

The Caller – pays a different fee when they call a 1300 number versus a 1800 number. When calling a 1300 number the normal fee is a once off toll of 25c (comparative to a flag fall) whereas a 1800 number is considered a “toll free” call to the caller, thus it is free. Now, keep mind mobile phone companies in Australia do not get on board with this mentality and we will generally be paying a per minute rate when calling a 1800 number from a mobile! I know, it’s rediculous and I can advise you that the governing bodies are receiving an incredible amount of flack regards this. Keep an eye on this blog for more information because there is change afoot.

Apart from that, you will generally pay the same monthly fee and call charge rates for both the 1300 and 1800 but these are the 2 major differences, as explained by this informative link via Ozetel Telecommunications

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