Streamlined numbering plan signals new era | ACMA

Streamlined numbering plan signals new era

The Australian Communications and Media Authority today released a new Numbering Plan that radically simplifies the allocation and administration arrangements for numbers.

The Telecommunications Numbering Plan 2015 provides for the automation of numbering transactions and replaces the current auction process for smartnumbers® with a quicker, more efficient over-the-counter process.

‘Making the new Numbering Plan is a further milestone in the ACMA’s program of continuous improvement of the regulatory framework for numbering,’ said ACMA Chairman, Chris Chapman.

‘The Plan provides for the ACMA’s numbering allocation and administrative services to be outsourced, which will deliver significant cost savings to industry when ZOAK Solutions Pty Ltd begins service provision this August.

‘The Plan has been significantly simplified as a consequence of collaboration with industry and public consultation during the ACMA’s Numbering Work Program. Further, the 150 page reduction to the Plan continues the ACMA’s commitment to reducing red tape and is a further component of the ACMA’s ambitious 2015 deregulation program,' Mr Chapman added.

The new Numbering Plan provides flexible, efficient and effective numbering arrangements for the future communications environment.

The consultation process identified a number of issues which have been addressed in the new Plan, while others will be subject to further consideration as the ACMA and industry continue to work together to further develop the Numbering Plan as a more principles-based document—which will be another key outcome of the Numbering Work Program.

For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact: Emma Rossi, Media Manager, (02) 9334 7719 and 0434 652 063 or

Media release 13/15 - 23 March


Under the Telecommunications Act 1997 Act (the Act), the ACMA must make a plan for the numbering of carriage services in Australia and the use of numbers in connection with the supply of such services.

Under Part 6 of the Legislative Instruments Act 2003, most legislative instruments ‘sunset’ (that is, they are automatically repealed) 10 years after they are registered on the Federal Register of Legislative Instruments. This is an automatic process applying to most legislative instruments regardless of their particular content.

The Telecommunications Numbering Plan 1997 (the Numbering Plan 1997) was made under section 455 of the Act. The Numbering Plan 1997 and three associated instruments are due to sunset in 2015.

The new Numbering Plan has been greatly simplified, with best practice legislative drafting reducing the size of the plan by more than 150 pages.

Two key changes have been made to the Numbering Plan:

  • removing most of the discretionary decision-making, where possible, relating to the allocation, transfer and surrender of most number types so as to enable automation of these processes
  • moving from an auction to an over-the-counter allocation process for smartnumbers®.

Between 2010 and 2012, the ACMA examined a wide range of issues related to the regulatory framework for telephone numbers that emerged as a result of deep changes in industry structures, service offers and consumer behaviour. This work was part of the ACMA’s Numbering Work Program. The aim of that program was to identify what, if any, changes were needed to enable flexible, efficient and effective numbering arrangements for the future communications environment.

A diagram outlining the ACMA’s progress over the last five years in delivering outcomes from this program is below.

One particular outcome of the program was that the ACMA examined alternatives for the sustainable provision of numbering services in the long term. The ACMA found that it would be timely to test the market for the provision of a system dealing with an expanded range of numbering services that are currently provided under delegation by an external provider.

The ACMA conducted a Request for Tender to identify a provider and, on 12 September 2014, awarded ZOAK Solutions Pty Ltd the contract to provide allocation and administrative services for most of Australia’s telephone numbers from August 2015.

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Last updated: 14 April 2016