A 1300 number is a 10 digit inbound Australian business phone number. Typically they are used as a single point of contact for a business to attract customers from across Australia. 1300 numbers can only receive calls, you can’t use them to dial out. Some callers will pay a small fee to call a 1300 number.
1300 numbers are sometimes referred to as ‘virtual phone numbers’ because they do not have any physical lines and must be answered by an existing phone service, such as a mobile, landline or VoIP. A 1300 number can be routed and configured in complex ways that a local area number can’t be, including time of day settings, geographic routing options, and IVR functions.
When you buy a 1300 number, you will have to nominate an answerpoint (where calls will be sent and answered); then, when someone calls your 1300 number that nominated answerpoint will ring. You can nominate multiple answerpoints, and choose between a number of different call forwarding or routing options that best suit your business needs.
Here’s the three top reasons that businesses use 1300 numbers:
If you have a large sales team, you can route calls in a ‘Round Robin’ format to ensure an even distribution of calls between salespeople. So, caller 1 is diverted to salesperson 1, caller 2 to salesperson 2, and so on.
Call records can be particularly helpful for marketing teams. You can advertise a different 1300 number on different marketing campaigns (for example, digital vs print media) and analyse your call records to identify the ROI of a particular budget and maximise your marketing spend.
1300 numbers can be configured to identify a caller’s location and route specific geographic areas to a local business. This is especially helpful for businesses that serve multiple locations and for franchises.
Time of day routing (business hours vs after-hours)
A 1300 number can be diverted to different answerpoints based on the time of day. Typical businesses use this feature to divert calls directly to a voicemail service during after-hours. Businesses with different staffing rosters use it to divert to Team A when they are working, then automatically divert to Teams B and C (and more) for different roster schedules.
1300 number with IVR
Interactive Voice Response (“IVR”) is sometimes called a Voice Prompt Menu that plays callers a pre-recorded message prompting them to press a number on their phone’s dialpad to self-direct to the best department for their enquiry. A typical small business will play a recording like, “Thanks for calling [my business], please press 1 to speak to Sales, press 2 for Accounts.”” Or a restaurant might use a 1300 number with IVR to prompt callers to press 1 for reservations, press 2 for take-aways, or press 3 for catering.
A 1300 with IVR is both a way for a smaller business to appear larger than their competitors (since all dialled options can be diverted to the same phone number) or for larger businesses to better manage their call flow and provide better customer service.
Reviewing the call reports of a 1300 number IVR also help to understand caller behaviour which can inform operational or executive teams on the best phone answering structure and business needs.
Our comprehensive article explains all the 1300 number features in detail - read it here.
All 1300 numbers function exactly the same way, but you will sometimes see them advertised with different marketing names. So don’t worry about what branding a company chooses to use to sell you a 1300 number, it’s just a word. From a technological point of view, all 1300 numbers are the same.
ACMA 1300 Smartnumbers
1300 numbers are regulated by the ACMA and are either released in batches to 1300 number providers or are sold directly to the public via The Numbering System. ACMA 1300 numbers are marketed as Smart numbers that can spell a word or have a memorable sequence of numbers (like 1300 NUMBER or 1300 987 654).
Once-off purchase prices of a 1300 Smartnumber are set by the ACMA and are non-negotiable. After you have bought your number, you will need to contact a 1300 number host (or service provider) like Communiqa to activate the number on a network and start receiving calls - activation usually takes 1 business day.
1300 Flashwords and 1300 Phonewords
1300 Flash numbers and 1300 Phone words are just another marketing term for 1300 Smart numbers, but usually the service provider has already paid to buy the phone number from the ACMA and may in fact have bought the number many years ago.
These providers might charge a high price and long contract terms for their service, and may only offer to lease the 1300 number to you (instead of you owning the number). This means that you won’t be able to port your 1300 number away to another provider if you don’t like the service you’re currently receiving or the price you’re paying. Make sure to read the Critical Information Summary to see exactly what you’re getting.
Free 1300 numbers
1300 number providers usually have a stock of 1300 numbers on hand ready to sell to a business with no additional purchase price. Frequently, these stock 1300 numbers are ‘good’ numbers with memorable, repeating digits (and, in fact, are usually numbers that ACMA would have sold as a Smartnumber anyway) so if you don’t want to buy a number you can always find a good one from a service provider.
Gold or Platinum 1300 numbers
Some 1300 number providers offer what are called Gold and Platinum 1300 numbers for an additional purchase price that they determine based on the memorability of the number. Try to avoid paying extra for numbers that are just sitting on the telco’s books anyway, because you can find memorable 1300 numbers for no additional purchase price.
Telstra 1300 numbers
Some people refer to Telstra 1300 numbers simply because Telstra ran a large marketing campaign when they acquired a 1300 number service provider. You can buy a 1300 number from any provider that offers the service, you don’t have to buy direct from Telstra (who often charge very high rates anyway).
1300 fax numbers
1300 numbers can also be used as fax numbers. Since 1300 numbers are an inbound-only service, you can only receive faxes not send them. When a fax is sent to your 1300 number, it’s received in the cloud and the incoming fax stream is automatically converted to an email attachment which is sent to you.
If you choose a 1300 fax number provider which charges call rates (i.e. not an unlimited 1300 fax number plan) then you will pay to receive faxes. 1 page takes 1 minute to transfer, so if you receive a 10 page fax, you will be charged as if you had received a 10 minute phone call; it can get quite expensive!
There’s four simple steps you need to take to buy a 1300 number for your business.
Once you’ve chosen your preferred supplier, it should only take a matter of a few minutes to buy the 1300 number and get it set up to suit your business needs. It’s not a long, complicated process so make sure you ask how long it will take when you’re sourcing your 1300 number service provider.
Depending on the service provider, costs for a 1300 number vary quite a lot. A typical 1300 number plan has four elements.
Some 1300 number providers charge minimum monthly fees, and support fees if you need to change your routing or cancel your number. The Critical Information Summary will outline all the 1300 number costs.
Keep reading here for more information on 1300 number call costs.
If you own your 1300 number and no longer need it, you can sell the Enhanced Rights of Use (EROU) of it to another business at any time. Or, you can trade (lease) your 1300 number to another business but retain ownership.
There are strict rules around the trading of 1300 numbers which are regulated by the ACMA but you must agree the terms with the other party.
Here’s what you need to know as both a seller and a buyer of a 1300 number.
When 1300 Smartnumbers were first introduced into Australia, you could only buy them by participating in a competition-heavy auction system. Numbers sold for up to $1,000,000! Fortunately, the 1300 number auction system no longer exists, so now you can buy a business 1300 number direct from ACMA (purchase prices range from $250 to $20,000) or from a service provider (usually with a $0 purchase price when you buy a 1300 number plan).
Traditionally, for-profit businesses use a 1300 number and not-for-profits or information-providing businesses use a 1800 number. That’s mainly because a 1800 number is a freecall phone number, which means it’s always free to call a 1800 number from any phone in Australia.
So, if you want peace of mind that customers calling your business will never pay, you need to choose a 1800 number.
1300 numbers can cost some callers a small fee to call, but most phone traffic comes from a mobile phone these days and almost all mobile plans include unlimited calls even to a 1300 number (note that is not true of every single mobile plan, so you should check directly with your mobile provider if you can call a 1300 number for free).
The other difference is that 1800 phone number plans typically cost a little more than 1300 number plans.
Keep reading here where we have explained all the differences between a 1300 and a 1800 business phone number.