Media release No. 35 - 06 May 2004
Reserve prices proposed for SmartNumbers™
The Australian Communications Authority (ACA) is proposing reserve prices of up to $45,000 for easy-to-remember phone numbers which will be sold in the first-ever commercial online number auction starting in August 2004.
In the auction, valuable six-digit 13 numbers and 10-digit 1300 and 1800 numbers, to be called smartNumbers™, will be offered for the first time. The ACA developed the new allocation system following an announcement in the 2003 federal Budget.
"Certain phone numbers are expected to be highly valuable because they can form a word, such as 13 TAXI or have a numeric pattern, like 1800 27 27 27," Acting ACA Chairman Dr Bob Horton said. "The highest reserve prices cover up to four per cent of all the numbers available for auction.
"Reserves for other less memorable number combinations could be as low as $500," Dr Horton said. "These numbers make up most of those to be made available."
"What we've done is to differentiate reserve price ranges for certain word and number patterns. This will ensure that numbers are available to meet demand while providing a fair return to the community for this valuable resource."
The ACA has called for comment about the reserve prices it is proposing and has released a discussion paper. Reserve pricing for SmartNumbers™ auctioned freephone & local rate numbers, which is on the ACA website.
Proposed ranges for reserve prices for smartNumbers™ and some examples of patterns and numbers are set out in the tables below.
"We're looking for feedback about the ACA's approach to setting the reserves, the different categories nominated and the price ranges proposed for each category," Dr Horton said.
"The auctioning of valuable local rate numbers provides an alternative to the existing administrative allocation system where the choice of numbers is minimal.
"It also provides immediate access to the whole population of 13, 1300 and 1800 numbers available, while the existing approach of a slow, sequential allocation will also be maintained for non-auction applications."
The new system will enable users to individually target and bid at auction for more than 1.8 million specific numbers, including approximately 1.2 million numbers not previously available.
There will be a separate preferential auction system for charities. To recover costs, a nominal reserve price of $100 has been set for this system, which is expected to commence in July 2004.
Successful bidders in both auctions will have the right to use the numbers indefinitely, subject to some constraints.
Submissions and comments on the discussion paper should reach the ACA by 26 May 2004. They can be sent to:
Ms Bridget Smith
Table 1: Proposed ranges for reserve prices for SmartNumbersTM
Some examples of patterns and numbers
The Australian Communications Authority is a government regulator of telecommunications and radiocommunications