1300 Numbers for Small Business: The Definitive Guide (2020)

CHAPTER 1: 1300 Number Fundamentals

In this chapter I’ll answer the question: “What Are 1300 numbers and how do they work?”.

I’ll also show you why 1300 numbers are still important for business in 2020.

Let’s get started.

What is a 1300 number?

Ten digit 1300 numbers are recognised around Australia and the world, as a number type that’s commonly used by Australian businesses. All 1300 numbers are ‘virtual numbers’ in that they get routed to a real number or answering point. When you get a 1300 number, you can choose to route the calls to either your landline or mobile number.

You can route a 1300 number to one answering point or a range of answering points. Most providers allow you to preset what calls go where when you setup your 1300 number. Because they’re virtual numbers, 1300 numbers are portable. This makes them a wise choice for businesses that have growing or changing needs.

Virtual 1300 numbers are only used for receiving calls and cannot be used to call out. That’s why they are also referred to as inbound numbers. Businesses use 1300 numbers to give a consistent point of contact – only one number Australia-wide. This also helps to save cost on advertising.

1300-numbers-australia-wide

1300 numbers are also called ‘Local Rate’ numbers

Because customers can call your business for the cost of a local call. A little known fact is all 1300 numbers remain the property of the Australian government. Instead of actual ‘ownership’, you gain what’s known as “Rights of Use” to your 1300 number service.

Most 1300 numbers have ten digits – 1300 followed by 6 unique digits. Some providers now offer longer numbers, although it’s still the 6 digits after 1300 that get used to make the call.

Types of 1300 number?

Standard Numbers

Standard Issue numbers have a random 6 digit number combination after the 1300 prefix. They are typically less appealing number combinations with less rhyme or memorability. This makes them cheap or free to obtain.

Smart Numbers

Smart numbers are numbers that spell words, OR numbers that come in appealing patterns and easily remembered. There is usually a premium attached to buying these more sort-after number types.

Types of 1300 Service Providers Networks?

There are two voice network classes available, and knowing the difference between each one could have a significant impact on services performance and feature sets:

  • Tier one - Service Providers Networks
  • Tier two - Service Providers Networks

Tier one - Service Providers Networks

Tier one providers are the carriers who own, operate and control substantial infrastructure and large, robust networks. Tier one network are typically carriers/resellers who can provide routing to any phone number within Australia without any additional third-party networks. They maintain reciprocal agreements with all other Tier 1 carriers nationally.

Pros Tier one services are used on an enterprise-grade voice network used for delivering high volume call traffic on an exceptionally reliable call forwarding network, and it entirely maintained by a major carrier. It has a guaranteed 1:1 call contention ratio, and high-level guarantees on outages, call drops and call quality.

Cons Tier one services come with a couple of catches; they lack next-gen feature sets; modifications to call forwarding setting can incur fees and days to action requests and can be more expensive operate.

Tier one networks offer the following fundamental features:-

- Customised call barring, e.g. selected callers or certain calling areas
- Flexible call distribution, including:
- Australia wide routing;
- state-based routing;
- mobile location identifier (MoLI) routing;
- charge district routing;
- standard zone unit routing;
- exchange service area (ESA) routing;
- postcode routing;
- call splaying;
- call overflow;
- time of day routing;
- day of week routing;
- day of year routing
- selected caller routing; and
- Customised Voice Response (CVR);
- call reporting

Tier one networks are operated by Telstra, Optus and AAPT.

Tier two - 1300 Service Providers Networks

Tier two carriers maintain their own Voice network on a far smaller scale than Tier 1 Carriers. They will have a commercial agreement with one of the major carriers for call collection and handoff to their network, this allows the service provider to offer a more advanced features sets and integrations with third-party applications e.g Salesforce and Google Analytics.

Pros Tier two services are used on a business-grade voice network used for providing a better caller experience without the need for purchasing an expensive phone system and changed to call forwarding can be made in real-time. It can integrate with your CRM, analytics and instant messaging platforms.

Cons Tier two services can be risky when using Budget Providers who don’t regularly upgrade and invest in their own network; your service will be at more risk of call drop out and poor call quailly issues. These services can be oversubscribed and have limits on concurrent calls and limited fail-over options, meaning not all call will be connected successfully.

Tier two networks offer the following fundamental features:

- Customised call barring, e.g selected callers

- Next-Gen feature set: 
- call Whisper;
- call Tracking;
- call Recording;
- event Tracking;
- apps & API's;
- menus (IVR);
- simultaneous ring
- voicemail to Email
- voice Transcription

- Flexible call distribution, including:
- Australia wide routing;
- call splaying;
- call overflow;
- time of day routing;
- day of week routing;
- day of year routing
- selected caller routing, and:
- call reporting

Tier 2 networks are operated by Symbio and iPrumus.

Tier 1 vs Tier 2 Activation Trends

This report shows that Tier 2 1300 numbers have out preformed Tier 1 services for 5 years running now, while Tier 1 services are on the decline .

1300-Services-providers-tier-1-vs-tier 2-networks

Running Total of 1300 Number Connected since 1991

running-total-of-1300-numbers-since-1991

CHAPTER 2: 1300 Number Costs

Cost to own a 1300 number

By investing in a 1300 number, business makes it easier and (in most cases) cheaper for customers to contact them. Instead of the customer paying to call you, the cost to call a 1300 number is paid by the business that owns the number and receives the call.

There are just 3 items to factor into the cost of a setting up and running a 1300 number. Buying the number, access charges, and call rates.

1. Buying the number

The cost of a 1300 number depends greatly on the attractiveness of the number being bought. Completely random number combinations can be acquired for free from most providers.

Memorable numbers and attractive sequences known as ‘SmartNumbers’ or ‘PhoneWords’ range from $250 to more than $4,500.

2. Monthly access charges

Like ‘line rental’ for landlines, most providers charge a small monthly access fee for your 1300 number service.

Depending on the volume of calls and features you need, this can range from only $10 per month all the way up to hundreds of dollars for some high end services.

3. Choosing a monthly plan for calls

The most important decision is your call plan. There are so many plans and options out there it can be hard to narrow it down to the right one. As a general rule of thumb, you will trade off between per minute rates and monthly access fees.

For example: A high monthly access charge usually attracts a lower per minute inbound call rate. This is ideal for businesses expecting large numbers of inbound calls.

Alternatively, plans with a low monthly access fee will often have a higher per minute rate. If you expect a low volume of inbound calls this can be a good option.

Are there contracts involved with a 1300 number? There should be no contracts when you buy your number. Anyone can buy a number direct from the government website. For this reason, reputable providers don’t use contracts.

Many providers (not all) do have contracts for their call plans. This means that although your number is yours and you own it, the service provider that may ask you to sign a contract.

Before you get a 1300 number from any provider, you should look for and review the “1300 Number Critical Information Summary”. This document is required for all Telco’s and contains important information about the use and management of your number.

Cost to call a 1300 number

There are 2 different parties to consider when talking about 1300 number costs.

First, what are the costs to the business that owns the number being called. Second, what are the costs to the customer to call the number.

Cost to receive a call from a 1300 number (for business)

When receiving a call from a 1300 number, there is a per minute rate typically charged to receive a call which is determined by two things;

First, receiving the call - This rate is different depending on if the caller is using a landline or mobile to call the 1300 number.

Second, forwarding the call - This rate is different depending on where the 1300 number is connecting the call too, such as a mobile or a landline number.

Cost to call a 1300 number (for customers)

When calling from any Australian landline, the caller is charged the standard local call rate. This is why inbound numbers are sometimes called ‘Local Call Numbers’.

A higher rate does apply for customers calling from a mobile. The cost to call 1300 numbers from mobiles are set by the caller’s own mobile service provider and will vary between carriers. Below are some publicly available 1300 call charges from various carriers in Australia.

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Nick Younan

CEO and Co-Founder at Think Pickle.

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