1800, 13 & 1300 Numbers: Selecting the Best Numbers for your Business

All 1300 numbers, 13 numbers and 1800 numbers (known collectively as inbound numbers) belong to the Australian government via the ACMA (Australian Communications and Media Authority). When you buy a number, you’re actually only buying the rights to use that number according to its applicable rights of use (as defined by the ACMA).

There are two types of numbers available:

  • Normal issue numbers, which have normal rights of use (similar to the rights of use you have for your mobile phone number).
  • Smartnumbers®, which are numbers that spell words or contain a pattern that makes them easy to remember. These numbers have extended/additional rights of use.

Getting a normal issue 1800/13/1300 number

These numbers are available directly from business telco providers, such as Alltel.

Even though many of the best quality numbers have been reserved as smartnumbers (or are already in use), there are still some good numbers available. Alltel searches through the list of numbers each day and reserves those with patterns or repeating digits for the exclusive use of our customers. (There are around 10,000 normal issue numbers available at any time.)

Alltel’s 1300 numbers and 1800 numbers are updated every day, and are available for a fraction of the cost of a smartnumber. After you obtain one of these numbers, it remains yours for as long as you keep it connected (otherwise it must be cancelled).

We also have access to all available 13 numbers. However, because there is less demand for 13 numbers, we don’t publish these on our web site. Please call our customer service team on 1300 255 835, and we’ll let you know what is available.

Note that if you don’t mind what number you get, Alltel can also issue you with a random number. These numbers have a much faster turn-around and are ideal for businesses who need an inbound number in a hurry!

Getting a smartnumber

Smartnumbers are available from the government through the www.smartnumbers.com.au web site. Numbers are purchased through public auction (with it costing $42 to register, and the bidding for most numbers starting at $250).

  1. KeypadSearch the smartnumbers web site to see if the number you want is available.
  2. If your number is available, complete the registration form so that you can bid for your number.
  3. Apply for your chosen number, and then nominate for it to be added to a future auction. Note that as part of the application you will be asked to nominate a carrier from the list. This is required only for registration purposes and you are not locked in to that carrier.
  4. Check the auction lists to ensure that your number has been added.
  5. On auction day, keep an eye on the auction in case anyone decides to bid against you for your chosen number.
  6. Once you win your number, contact the telco provider of your choice to arrange to get it connected.

The extended rights of use you receive with your smartnumber include the ability to on-sell the number, and to keep it unconnected for up to 3 years.

These numbers attract an annual government fee of $0.80 for 1300numbers and 1800 numbers (which Alltel waives), and of $8,000 for 13 numbers (which Alltel charges at $7980 per year if paid in advance, or $848.84 per month). This government fee is in addition to connection and ongoing usage fees charged by your smartnumber carrier.

Note that there are some telcos who will offer to purchase your smartnumber for you, and then lease it back to you. Alltel strongly recommends that you purchase the number in your own right if it is available.

Buying vs leasing

When you buy the rights to use a 1300 number or 1800 number, you can keep that number for the life of your business. You can move it, not only from office to office as your business expands, but also from telco to telco if you decide to do business with a different provider.

When you lease your 1300 number or 1800 number from a provider, they are the ones with ultimate control. If they increase your monthly lease payment, or insist that you connect your number through a telco that provides poor service, you don’t have many options. Your provider will typically not let you purchase the number from them, which leaves you with two choices: either keep your number and put up with the poor service/high prices, or else walk away and start over again with a new number and new provider.

You can find out more about buying and leasing in the blog post Should You Lease or Buy 1300 Numbers & 1800 Numbers?

Buying your 1300 number or 1800 number is usually a safer option. Your business phone number is essential as both a communications tool and a part of your branding. Therefore, it’s important to have the same level of control over your inbound number as you do over your business’s web site domain name.

smartnumbers® is a registered trademark, held by the Commonwealth for the benefit of the ACMA.