ACMA Consultation: Options for calls to freephone and local rate numbers

From the ACMA:  The Australian Communications and Media Authority (the ACMA) has started a public consultation process to identify the best way to achieve the following objectives:

  • To make calls from mobile phones to freephone (1800) numbers free;
  • To make calls from mobile phones to local rate numbers (13/1300) numbers cost no more than a caller would pay for a local call from a fixed telephone; and
  • For these changes to be in effect by 1 January 2015.

A consultation paper released today seeks comment and feedback on two different options. Both would see a variation of the Telecommunications Numbering Plan 1997 (the Numbering Plan) to ensure that calls from mobile phones to freephone (1800) numbers would be free.

For calls to local rate (13/1300) numbers, one option would limit the cost by varying the Numbering Plan. The other option involves a range of industry initiatives that would see the development and promotion of mobile phone service plans in which the cost of calls to local rate numbers would be incorporated into the included value allowances of those plans.

‘Industry support for free calls from mobile phones to freephone (1800) numbers is an important step towards meeting the objectives that the ACMA announced in April 2012,’ said ACMA Chairman Chris Chapman.

‘The ACMA looks forward to working constructively with stakeholders to identify the best approach to ensuring that the Numbering Plan reflects the changing use of telecommunications services such as calling local rate (13/1300) numbers from mobile phones, while also improving price transparency for consumers,’ Mr Chapman added.

Written submissions on the matters raised in the paper are welcome. The deadline is close of business, 28 February 2013.

Contact Matthew Nicholls (ph: +61 3 8376 7131) to discuss your requirements.