Telephone numbers: Your rights | ACMA

Telephone numbers: Your rights

The ACMA allocates telephone numbers to phone companies, which then issue telephone numbers to their customers.

When you are issued a telephone number, you become a Rights of Use holder (ROU holder) for that number. This means you have a contract with a phone company to use this number.

Can I keep my number when changing phone company?

Number portability lets you keep your number when changing from one phone company to another. Taking your telephone number to another company is known as ‘porting’.

Your current phone company must port your number if you request to port and should not prevent you from keeping your number. However, a new phone company does not have to accept a port request. You may need to find a new phone company that is willing to accept the port request.

It’s important that you don’t disconnect your service as only an active service can be ported.  

Read more about porting your number.

Can I port a number that has been suspended?

Yes—if your service has been suspended you still have the rights to the number and you can request to port your number. Porting, however, does not cancel any contract obligations you may have with your current phone company.

Can I port a number that has been disconnected?

No—when a service is disconnected, you no longer have the rights to the number. A port cannot occur if a service is disconnected.

If a phone company makes a decision to disconnect your service due to credit or debt management reasons, the phone company must give you adequate notice and provide you with a written disconnection notice.

What happens to my number if my phone company goes out of business?

You will need to port your number to another phone company. However, if your service has been disconnected, the number will need to be re-issued to you before you can port to a new phone company.

What happens to numbers after they are disconnected?

After a service is disconnected, your telephone number will be placed in quarantine for a minimum period of six months (12 months if the service was disconnected due to nuisance calls).

Can I get my number out of quarantine?

A phone company may recover and re-issue a number from quarantine before the end of the quarantine period if you are the previous ROU holder or if you have taken over a business that previously used the number.

If you wish to reconnect your service, you should ask your previous phone company or the original allocatee to re-issue the number to you, but there is no obligation on a phone company to do this.

The original allocatee is the phone company that was first issued the number. You can look up the original allocatee by searching for your number in the ACMA’s Numbering System.

Can I ask for a specific number or reserve a number?

You can ask a phone company for a specific number, but the phone company is under no obligation to issue it to you.

You may also request a phone company reserve a number for future use—again, there is no requirement on a phone company to do this.

Can numbers be moved between customers?

Numbers can be moved between customers; however, the phone company must have authority from the ROU holder before issuing it to another customer. There is no obligation on a phone company to do this.


The Numbering Plan and the Rights of Use of Numbers Code outline phone company obligations about the reservation, issue, porting, disconnection and quarantine of numbers.

The Telecommunications Consumer Protections Code ensures phone companies supply clear and accurate information to you in relation to contracts, billing, credit or debt management, and changing phone companies.

Making a complaint

If you have an issue with your number that cannot be resolved directly with your phone company, you may contact the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) or by calling 1800 062 058.

More information

Contact us

If you have any further enquiries, contact:

ACMA Customer Service Centre
1300 850 115 or

Last updated: 02 November 2018