1300 numbers and 1800 numbers are 10 digit premium rate phone numbers used by businesses in Australia. They have more functionality than a local area phone number so they’re ideal for managing a small business call flow without the expense of a PBX. Whilst identical in functionality, there are a few key differences between 1300 and 1800 numbers.
1300 and 1800 numbers are also known as ‘virtual phone numbers’ because they must connect to an existing phone line. When you buy a 1300 number you choose to divert calls to that number to your handsets (landline, mobile or VoIP). Calls to your business 1300 phone number can be sent to multiple phone numbers.
1300 vs 1800 numbers - which number is best for business? In Australia, businesses selling goods or services usually have a 1300 number to signal they are a professional, national business. 1800 numbers are typically preferred by not-for-profits and information-providing businesses as they are always free to call.
Callers do not receive a charge to call a 1800 number from within Australia. Historically, calls made to a 1300 number would cost the caller a small fee (around 25 cents per call). However, with the move to mobile phone plans with all-inclusive call costs, the vast majority of callers also make calls to 1300 numbers for free.
Your business needs a 1300 or 1800 number for many reasons. Here’s just some of the benefits to having a 1300 or 1800 number for your business phone calls.
It gives the impression of substance
A business 1300 or 1800 phone number shows you’re a reputable company. It’s a bit like the difference between firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.
It’s instantly re-configurable
Emergencies can mean you’re not available to answer calls or otherwise be out of the office for a few hours. Instantly change your 1300 number call forwarding options to ring your mobile and still take business calls on the go.
Understand your customers’ call behaviour
1300 numbers come with powerful reporting metrics to manipulate call data to learn the best ways and times to reach out to people. Understand from where and when your callers ring, and the type of device they use.
Manage your business call flows seamlessly
If you have multiple teams, or multiple locations you can set the 1300 number to direct to the most appropriate team at any time. It will do it all automatically based on your configuration, and you can even set time of day routing so your after-hours calls are forwarded appropriately (such as to a voicemail or a live phone answering service).
1300 numbers and 1800 numbers have exactly the same call forwarding functions.
Divert calls to your existing phone numbers (landline or mobile). If diverting to multiple phones, choose whether to ring each phone individually and if no answer to call the next number and so on. Or, ring all phones at the same time and whoever answers first takes the call.
There are also different ringing behaviours to suit sales teams, such as round robin calling which ensures that each salesperson receive an equal number of calls. Caller 1 is diverted to phone number 1, caller 2 is diverted to phone number 2, and so on.
Play callers a pre-recorded message confirming your business name so they know they’ve rung the correct number.
Business hours and out-of-hours
Configure your 1300 number to only ring your phones during business hours. Automatically send calls to a voicemail during after-hours time periods.
Also perfect for businesses that have a shift schedule to send calls to different teams based on the time of day.
Businesses that operate from a mobile phone often use that number for business as well as personal calls. Call Whisper will play a pre-recorded message advising the call is a 1300 or 1800 number call so you know to answer in the business name.
1300 and 1800 numbers can detect where a person is ringing from and send calls to different phone numbers based on the caller’s location. This is perfect for franchise businesses with a single 1300 number as point of contact for all callers.
Understand the quality of your callers’ phone experience by listening to the call and train your staff on proper phone use. Every call is recorded and you receive an audio file via email at the termination of every call. Due to privacy regulations, you will need to advise callers that their call will be recorded.
IVR - Interactive Voice Menu
Play callers a pre-recorded message that prompts them to enter a number on their dial pad to self-direct their call to the correct person or department. Typical scripts of an IVR are, “Thanks for calling [my business], please press 1 to speak to Sales, press 2 for Accounts.”
Missed call alert
If diverting your 1300 number to a landline, get an email with details of any call that goes unanswered.
Block nuisance callers directly at the 1300 number level and only receive calls from people you choose to do business with.
Most phone providers that sell 1300 numbers are also likely to offer 1800 numbers, but a 1800 number plan will usually cost a little more than a 1300 plan. The most important consideration for a business is who owns the number.
All 1300 and 1800 numbers are owned by the Government, but businesses can buy the right to exclusive use of a number - the business is then referred to as the 1300 EROU holder (“enhanced rights of use”). This means that you can transfer your number to another provider at any time. EROU holders of 1300 numbers retain ownership of the number as long as it is active on a network.
Some 1300 number providers bought many 1300 numbers and only offer them for lease to their customers. It is always better to own your business 1300 number rather than lease it because usually you will have to sign a long contract (typically 3 years) and you may not be happy with the service you receive and won’t be able to take your number to another provider.
The ACMA regulates the use of all 1300 and 1800 numbers in Australia. ACMA release these phone numbers to the market via phone providers who offer them to business customers to use. 1300 and 1800 numbers have been available for many years, but as there are 102,400 different permutations of each type of phone number there are still plenty of available numbers.
1800 and 1300 numbers that spell a word or that have a memorable sequence of numbers are called Smartnumbers. Examples of Smartnumbers are 1800 NUMBER, 1300 PURPLE and 1300 999 888.
Contact a phone number service provider who can search for available 1300 numbers instantly. Most of the popular or highly marketable numbers were sold many years ago, but with a little creativity you can find the best 1300 number for your business.
1300 Smart numbers are phone numbers that spell a word and are sold by the ACMA for a once-off purchase price. The 1300 Smart number purchase price depends on the desirability of the number and ranges from $250 to $20,000. For example, 1300 987 654 is more desirable than 1300 813 694.
There is no difference between a standard 1300 or 1800 number and a 1300 or 1800 Smartnumber other than the Smart number has an initial purchase price determined by ACMA.
Search for your new 1300 or 1800 Smartnumber on ACMA’s website.
For all types of toll-free numbers as defined by ACMA, the recipient business pays for incoming toll charges and telco sets the phone call charges for the service connecting the caller to your business.
Contrary to what many people think, Telstra do not own 1300 and 1800 numbers. There are hundreds of 1300 phone providers, and every single 1300 and 1800 number comes with the same features and functionality. Some providers may charge you extra to use those features, but if they are offering these phone numbers then they will work exactly the same way as a 1300 number from Telstra.
Telstra phonewords is the name for an old marketing campaign run by Telstra advertising 1300 and 1800 numbers which are exactly the same as an ACMA Smartnumber 1300 phone number.
There are many 1300 number service providers so choose the one that offers you the best deal to match your business needs.
All 1300 number plans follow the same basic structure:
No, a 1300 number is not free. If you’re the business that owns the 1300 number you will usually have to pay your 1300 phone provider a monthly hosting fee, and may even have to pay per-minute call rates.
1300 numbers are not free to call from mobiles or landlines. If you’re calling a 1300 number from any phone that doesn’t have an unlimited call plan (such as a typical Australian mobile plan) you will be charged a small fee (around 25 cents) if you’re ringing from within Australia.
Yes, a 1800 is free to call from anywhere in Australia, from a mobile or a landline.
If you’re the business that owns the 1800 number you will usually have to pay your 1800 phone provider a monthly hosting fee, and may even have to pay per-minute call rates.
1800 numbers are freecall numbers which means you will never pay to call a 1800 number when you’re in Australia, regardless of whether you’re ringing from a landline or mobile.
1300 numbers are also called ‘local call phone numbers’ because you will pay the cost of a local call to ring a 1300 number. The ACMA sets the maximum call rates that your provider can charge to ring a 1300 number.
The cost of calling a 1300 number varies, depending on the device you’re using (landline or mobile) and also on your phone provider. If you’re calling from a landline, your phone provider will charge you a single fee of around 25 cents per 1300 call. Most Australian mobile plans include unlimited calls, so if you have this type of mobile plan you will never pay to call a 1300 number if you’re in Australia.You should check with your phone supplier to be absolutely sure.
Your mobile provider sets the cost of calling a 1300 or 1800 number from an international location. If you’re ringing from a mobile device, you will pay your provider’s roaming charges and may also have to pay a flagfall fee (a one-time), or even a timed (rated) fee - it all depends on your provider’s terms.
It is possible to buy cheap 1300 numbers. New 1300 numbers are even available with unlimited calls included free of charge, so all you pay is the cost of your monthly plan fee. There are lots of 1300 number service providers in the market so choose the one that has the best matches your business needs.
Calls to a 1800 number are free of charge. Ringing a 1300 number will cost the caller the same price as a local call (typically no more than 25 cents).
Businesses using 1300 and 1800 numbers will pay a monthly plan fee, and sometimes will also pay call rates to receive calls. New 1300 and 1800 number service providers also offer unlimited calls included in the cost of your monthly plan fee.
6 digit 13 numbers (like 13 13 13) are exactly the same as 1300 numbers, except that they incur a mandatory Government annual levy (a charge) of almost $8,000. This is why you only see large enterprises using a 13 number. Businesses that own a 13 number should not pay more than $8,000 for this fee - if you are paying more you need to change provider.