Number is up for national telephone plan

Man dialing number on mobile phone
A review is under way of Australia's telephone Number Plan. | Photo: Abdullah Durmaz (iStock)

The doubling of Australians only using mobile phones in their homes over the past 10 years is one of the drivers of a review of the nation’s telephone number system.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has released a discussion paper on the nation’s Number Plan, which is due to be updated next year.

The paper notes that since the current plan was created in 2015 there had been significant changes in the services provided by carriage service providers and used by customers.

“For example, since 2015, the proportion of Australians who only have a mobile for voice calls at home has more than doubled from 29 percent to 63 percent,” the paper states.

“In contrast, in the six months to June 2023, only 18 percent of Australians reported using a fixed line for home calls compared with approximately 70 percent in 2015.”

The paper stated that Australians using messaging and calling apps rose from 24 percent to 84 percent over the past 10 years.

It stated that consumers now expected greater connectivity, coverage, and more sophisticated devices and the growth of other technologies had enabled a range of new services and ways to connect over networks, including using non-numeric identifiers, such as alpha tags, that were not included in current numbering arrangements.

It also flagged the ongoing high volume of scam calls and texts, with scammers also leveraging off new technologies, and exploiting and misusing numbers.

ACMA said with the current Numbering Plan due to sunset in 2025, it was reviewing the rules for the allocation and use of phone numbers across Australia.

“This review will help us promote effective and efficient numbering arrangements and ensure the rules remain fit for purpose for the innovative and changing telecommunications environment,” it said in a statement.

Submissions to the ACMA consultation close on July 1.

View the discussion paper.