Let’s take a look at the typical costs associated with a business 1800 phone number.
1800 number plans have 3 main cost components that a business will be charged.
1. The purchase price
2. The monthly hosting fee
3. Incoming call charges
choose a 1800 number plan with $0 call rates
The way that call charges are structured can vary greatly across providers. Typically you will see a variation on a model that is referred to as a “source/destination” charging model. This model has different rates based on:
Other 1800 costs
There are two other costs to consider when buying a 1800 number.
Most 1800 number plans have a one-time setup fee included in the first invoice. Typically this costs no more than $25 dollars although some providers will also charge a higher setup fee if you choose a complex routing structure (such as postcode-based routing).
1800 numbers also have a range of features from IVR, to voicemail, data reporting and analysis, diversion to multiple phone numbers, and many more. Some providers will charge extra to switch on these features, so it’s typically recommended to buy a 1800 number plan with all features included in the cost of the monhtly hosting fee.
1800 Smart numbers is an ACMA trademarked marketing term for a 1800 number that spells a word or has a memorable sequence of digits. Example of Smart numbers are 1800 NUMBER and 1800 987 654.
The Smartnumber database is the largest database of 1800 numbers currently available in Australia because it is not limited by carrier/provider. 1800 numbers bought directly from a provider (and not the ACMA) are usually already active on the provider’s network although they can also activate ACMA Smartnumber if required.
The only difference in the cost of a Smartnumber vs a normal 1800 number is that a Smartnumber has a government-mandated purchase price. The ACMA sets the purchase price of a 1800 Smartnumber which costs between $250 and $20,000.
Smartnumbers can be purchased directly from ACMA and attached to your 1800 service. Note that in this case the purchase price of the number is set by ACMA and not your 1800 service provider.
You search and buy a 1800 Smart number direct from the ACMA’s The Numbering System website, then you need to find a 1800 number service provider (like us at Communiqa) to activate your Smartnumber on the Australian network.
There are two completely separate cost components charged for a 1800 call.
The cost to the owner of the 1800 number to receive the call is determined by the 1800 plan that the number is connected to. The section below has more detail on this.
As the caller is charged by their own phone provider, the specific 1800 number plan a business is subscribed to has no bearing on the amount that will be charged to the caller. The cost to dial a 1800 number is either included in the caller’s phone plan at no additional cost, or is charged at a capped rate of around 25-40 cents. See here for more detail on caller costs.
The cost to receive a call made to a 1800 Number varies based on your specific plan and provider.
The majority of providers will charge a per-minute rate for calls received on your 1800 number and is different for each type of call received. This is called a “source/destination” charging model.
This model has different rates based on:
In addition to this the cost of the call may vary based on:
All of these costs are determined by the particular 1800 number provider and plan, so check these details when comparing plans and call rates. Or simply choose a Communiqa 1800 number plan with $0 call rates and all features included free of charge.
Some providers also charge ‘hidden’ fees that are buried deep in their extensive documentation. You might be charged to turn 1800 number features on and off, to change your routing (or answerpoint), for any support enquiries, fees when you cancel or port your 1800 number, and any number of other fees and charges.
Here’s what the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman has to say about hidden 1800 number plan fees.
You should check the Critical Information Summary (“CIS”) for your plan to confirm what all the charges are (note that some providers will have links within their CIS to additional fees and services rather than laying out those fees within the CIS).
It can be tricky to compare 1800 number plans as there are many service providers in Australia and they all charge a little differently. The best way to compare the different 1800 plans is to read the Critical Information Summary (also referred to as a “CIS”).
The CIS was designed specifically to eliminate consumer confusion between 1800 number plans by making it easier to compare all the available options. Every telco is required by law to provide a Critical Information Summary, and they all must include the same information in a prescribed format (or layout).
You should consider the following costs and service conditions when comparing 1800 number plans.
Lastly, you might come across included value 1800 number plans, or plans with capped call rates. How do you compare 1800 number plans that do or don’t offer this? We explain more on this in the next section.
Learn more about how to get a 1800 number here.
The cost for a caller to dial a 1800 number is determined entirely by the specific phone plan that you are connected to. The charge does not fluctuate for you to make a call to different 1800 numbers - it should be the same across the board.
Generally we find that with the widespread use of all-included mobile phone plans, the cost to call is free for most callers.
The owner of a 1800 number may be charged different rates based on where you are calling from. But again this depends on the specific plan that the 1800 number is connected to, and won’t impact the amount the caller is charged to make the call in any way.
The person making a call to a 1800 number is charged a flat-rate from anywhere in Australia. The cost is capped typically at around 25 cents, though this may vary (for example one of Telstra’s cheapest phone plans charges calls to a 1800 number at 40 cents).
If you are dialling an Australia 1800 number from overseas, the rates will vary based on your overseas provider. You may be charged for an international call (or higher), and the call may not be a flat-rate call.
The cost of making a call to a 1800 number is determined by the caller’s own phone plan with their provider.
As a general principle:
Also with the prevalence of “all included” phone plans, we find that the majority of callers do not experience any charges to call a 1800 number.
The cost to the caller when making calls to a 1800 number should be free. In 2020, the majority of providers also include calls to 1800 numbers in their plans at no extra cost - though this varies across providers and plans.
The first place to start is by getting in touch with your current phone provider. You may be able to find this information in the Critical Information Summary (CIS) that you received when you started your service. Alternatively the information might be availble on their website.