1300 vs 1800: The Difference Between 1800 and 1300 Numbers
1800 numbers have been around in Australia for long enough that most people are familiar with them: they understand that a 1800 number is a free call number and feel comfortable about dialling these numbers.
1300 numbers are not quite as well known. We still see the occasional posting on places like Whirlpool with people worried about how much it costs them to phone a 1300 number—although these postings are becoming less and less frequent.
So what are the differences between 1300 numbers and 1800 numbers?
1300 and 1800 numbers are both inbound numbers that are exclusively used to receive incoming calls. The difference between these numbers lie on how call costs are divided between the caller and the business (account holder).
When calling from a landline, calls to an 1800 number are free, while calls to a 1300 number is charged at the least the cost of a local call. Note that when calling either type of number from a mobile phone, the cost is determined by the caller’s mobile carrier.
As far as the business receiving the call, they pay the full cost of calls made to 1800 numbers, and share the cost of 1300 numbers with the caller. Different 1300 numbers offer free minutes for local landline to landline calls. For example, Alltel's most popular plan provides 30 free minutes for local calls. At the end of the free minutes, the business pays the call rates determined by their carrier.
1800 and 1300 numbers both provide many benefits:
- Portable—keep one number for the life of your business, and move it from office to office, and from service provider to service provider.
- Flexible—with routing options that allow you to specify which phone rings when someone dials the number based on factors including where the caller is based, time of day, and whether your phone is busy or not being answered.
- Measurable—with built-in reporting options that allow you to gauge and measure the effectiveness of marketing campaigns.
- National—advertise a single number for your business Australia-wide that allows your customers to contact your for free or the cost of a local call. You can also provide extended support hours for your customers, for example by routing calls to your Perth office after 5:00 p.m. EST when your east coast workers have gone home for the day.
- Professional—both 1300 and 1800 numbers are widely recognised as business phone numbers. Having one makes your business appear more reliable, even if you don’t have a fixed office.
So, how do you choose which one is best for you?
In the past, it was true that more people were likely to dial a 1800 number than a 1300 number, but that is becoming less of an issue.
Both types of numbers have similar setup fees, monthly charges, and national and mobile rates.
So it really comes down to who is going to be phoning you.
If the majority of your calls are going to be local, landline-to-landline, the 1300 number is the way to go. The first free minutes will likely cover most calls, so you'll often pay little more than your monthly service fee.
If the majority of calls are NOT going to be local, landline-to-landline, there is very little difference cost-wise between 1300 numbers and 1800 numbers. In that case, you might decide to go for a 1800 number so that your customers can call you for free.
Another thing to consider is which type of 1300 number or 1800 number has the best number/word available for your business. Numbers that spell words or have repeating patterns are easier for you and your customers to remember. For example, Alltel uses 1300 ALLTEL (1300 255 835).