Special numbers overview | ACMA

Special numbers overview

Special numbers used for Australian telephone services give you some information about the number you are calling.

Calls to special numbers are different to local calls and charges can vary.

For instance:

  • calls to '1800' numbers are not charged to the caller (except from mobile phones)
  • calls to '190' numbers are charged at a 'premium' rate
  • calls to emergency numbers are free

Some businesses also choose to use smartnumbers or phonewords. Phonewords use the letters of the alphabet on telephone keypads to form words like ‘1300 TAXI’ that are easier for callers to remember.

These smartnumbers can be an effective business marketing tool and are made available through an on-line auction system.

Certain numbers have also been reserved for use in radio, books, films and television. These numbers are unlikely to be allocated for individual use.

Australia's Telecommunications Numbering Plan 1997 makes sure telephone companies use a standard approach to telephone numbers. This makes it easier for you to:

  • recognise numbers associated with particular services
  • be aware of call costs


Last updated: 18 September 2017