Number portability

Number portability

Number portability lets a customer keep their number when changing telephone company or provider, although moving to a new telephone company does not cancel any obligations they may have in relation to the previous provider.

The regulatory framework

The regulatory framework for number portability is a combination of formal government regulation and industry-wide self regulation. It is co-ordinated and governed by the:

  1. Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA)

  2. Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC)

  3. Communications Alliance

The Telecommunications Act 1997

The Act sets out the main responsibilities of the ACMA and the ACCC in relation to the portability of allocated numbers.

ACCC directions

The ACCC has amended the definition of 'portable services' to include the following services for which number portability must be provided:

  • Local number portability

  • Local rate & freephone number portability

  • Mobile number portability.

A direction to include Premium Rate Number Portability as a service for which number portability must be provided was revoked by the ACCC in 2009, as Telstra remains the only carrier offering premium rate services; therefore premium rate numbers are not portable. The directions and revocation are available here.

The Telecommunications Numbering Plan 2015

The Numbering Plan rules ensure carriers and CSPs :

  • have the capability and technology to provide portability

  • allow a customer to port away their number

  • provide an equivalent service on the ported number if it agrees to a provide a service on the ported number.

The ACMA has a role enforcing compliance with the requirements of the Numbering Plan.

Industry codes

Industry codes are used to set out procedures between telephone companies that enable a customer to retain their phone number when transferring from one company to another or changing carrier networks. The codes also specify time frames for portability transactions.

More information on industry codes is available from:

The ACMA has a role enforcing compliance with registered telecommunications industry codes.


A telephone company that cannot meet its obligations under the Numbering Plan may apply to the ACMA for an exemption.

In deciding the application the ACMA must consider:

  • the network capacity of a CSP or carrier

  • the support systems available to a CSP or carrier

  • any other matters the ACMA considers relevant.

The ACMA may approve an exemption if:

  • it is not practicable for an applicant to meet its porting obligations

  • it would be in the long-term interests of end-users to do so.

The ACMA may consult the ACCC on the application or may consult other stakeholders in making its decision.

Contact us

Networks Section or (03) 9963 6800

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Last updated: 20 May 2016

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