Numbering FAQ | ACMA

Numbering FAQ

What is a carriage service provider?

A person is a carriage service provider if they meet the definition in section 87 of the Telecommunications Act 1997, which generally requires the person to supply or propose to supply telecommunication services to the public.

How does a carriage service provider apply for an allocation of numbers from the ACMA?

Carriage service providers (CSPs) apply via this website for the allocation of phone numbers. Depending on the service type, numbers are allocated as single numbers, in blocks, usually of 1,000 or 10,000 for geographic numbers and 100,000 for mobile numbers. An application charge must accompany an application for allocation of numbers.

What is the application charge for numbers?

Application and registration charges are set under the Telecommunications (Numbering Charges) (Allocation Charge) Determination 2015 and are in Australian Dollars.

The application charge for freephone and local rate numbers is $35 per number.
The application charge for geographic and mobile numbers is $35 per application.
The application charge for all other numbers is $35 per number.
CSPs must be registered to apply for numbers. The registration charge is $35.

How do I find out which carriage service provider has been allocated a specific number or number range?

The Register of Numbers lists the numbers allocated to carriage service providers (CSPs) by the ACMA.

You can search the Register by number, CSP, type of service, type of access or allocation date or you can download the entire Register of Numbers.

How do I find information about appropriately using geographic numbers? 

Carriage service providers (CSPs) using geographic numbers to provide services are required to use them in the standard zone unit (SZU) to which the numbers are allocated. This enables all CSPs to accurately determine whether an untimed local call applies. The use of a number outside the SZU identified by the ACMA in its Register of Numbers may result in the need to update the Register to reflect the new SZU.

Further information about ensuring the accuracy of geographic number records can be found in an industry guideline on the Communications Alliance website.

Where can I find a list of SZUs?

This is available on the ACMA's website at

Where can I find a list of area codes?

A list of area codes is available from two main areas:

  • a list of the four area codes that are used in Australia - (02), (03), (07) and (08) and the areas they cover
  • Schedule 1 to the Telecommunications Numbering Plan 2015 sets out the charging districts where specific area codes and the numbers for use within each area code region are to be used.

The area codes for capital cities can be found in the Telecommunications Numbering Plan 2015 or the Register of Numbers.

Where can I find a list of digital mobile number prefixes?

The Register of Numbers a list of digital mobile number prefixes and the carriage service providers to whom they have been allocated.

Where can I find a list of carriage service provider identification codes or interconnect and routing codes? 

A list of interconnect and routing codes (14xx codes) previously called carriage service provider identification codes, can be found in the Register of Numbers.

As an interconnect and routing code can also be used for preselection, interconnection and override functions, you need to contact the CSP to whom the number has been allocated to find out what the code is being used for.

How do I acquire a particular number for my own use?

The ACMA allocates geographic and digital mobile numbers to carriage service providers (CSPs) in prescribed block sizes. It does not allocate numbers to individual customers. In order to acquire a specific number, an individual can apply to the CSP who has been allocated the block of numbers which contains the desired number.

What is a local call?

A full definition of an 'eligible local call' can be found in section 106 of Part 4 of the Telecommunications (Consumer Protection and Service Standards) Act 1999.

However, a working definition can be summarised as "local calls are made between phones within the same charging zone or to adjoining standard charging zones. Local calls are untimed and a flat rate fee applies".

What information is contained in a telephone number? 

Information about certain aspects of the service being called is contained in a telephone number. For example, an area code - (02), (03), (07) and (08) - at the beginning of a number indicates it is a regular geographic number, whereas a '04' prefix to a number identifies the service being called as a digital mobile service. A number beginning with '180x' is a freecall service (except from a mobile service), while a number with the prefix '1300' or '13' is charged at the local rate. Numbers with the prefix '19' are premium rate services, and numbers beginning with '12' are operator services.

This consistent approach to telephone numbering means consumers can recognise that a particular telephone number is associated with a specific type of service, which helps in providing an indication as to call charging.

How are call charges set? 

Telephone call charges are set by carriage service providers (CSPs). CSPs are not required to lodge tariffs with either the ACMA or the ACCC. In some instances, however, a 'price cap' limits the maximum applicable charge.

Call charges may be affected by different factors such as:

  • the type of service used eg. mobile service or fixed line service
  • distance
  • time of day or day of week.

Should calls to local rate numbers (13 and 1300) cost exactly the same as local calls?

No. Different carriage service providers charge different amounts for calls to local rate numbers, when compared with their charges for local calls.

My service provider has billed me for annual numbering charges. Can they do this? 

The ACMA administers an annual numbering charge which is applied to certain numbers and is collected from carriage service providers (CSPs) who hold the numbers. Geographic numbers such as 8-digit home phone numbers do not incur annual numbering charges.

CSPs can recover these charges from customers. They cannot, however, charge their customers more than the ACMA determined amount of charge per number.

What happens to numbers after they are disconnected and put into quarantine?

After a service is disconnected, telephone numbers are taken out of circulation and put into quarantine for a minimum period of 6 months (12 months if the service was disconnected as a result of nuisance calls). If the number was originally allocated to a different provider (the donor provider), the number is given back to the donor provider. Generally, numbers must not be re-issued during the quarantine period. However, it is a matter for each CSP whether they take a number out of quarantine for a particular person/entity.

What is the Annual Numbering Charge? 

The Government requires the ACMA to annually collect a set amount of revenue (presently $60m) from carriage service providers that hold certain types of telephone numbers. This charge is known as the Annual Numbering Charge (ANC).

Further information about the ANC is available here.

What happens if I have overpaid an invoice? 

If you have overpaid an invoice in error you are entitled to a refund and should contact the ACMA to arrange a refund.

Why has my invoice been cancelled? 

Your invoice will be cancelled if another party applies for and pays for any of the numbers before you have paid. You will receive an email alerting you to the cancellation.

In the event that you have paid an invoice which has been cancelled you are entitled to a refund and should contact the ACMA to arrange a refund.

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Last updated: 13 December 2018