the net in
numbering and naming
This page considers phone number allocation, domain naming
and administration, and directory services in Australia
and New Zealand.
It covers -
- area codes, landline and mobile numbers, premium,
freecall and local rate numbers, and number portability
naming - domain naming and resource
identification on the 'network of networks'
- silent numbers, reverse directories and database access
Not Call regimes in Australia and New Zealand
Identification of resources on the Australian
and New Zealand networks is founded on the premise that
individual users do not own a phone number or domain name.
Instead use of that number/name is licensed by a government
agency with responsibility for telecommunications or by
the two nongovernment entities responsible for administration
of the dot-au and dot-nz ccTLDs.
Information about those numbers and addresses is shared
by network operators and by registrars, with competing
carriage service providers in Australia for example having
access to the integrated public number database (IPND)
is an industry wide database of all listed and unlisted
public telephone numbers.
Control of public and private versions of that information
can be contentious, with disputes about unauthorised reverse
directories of phone numbers and restrictions on WHOIS
data in the dot-au domain
Perceived misuse of opportunities for unsolicited calls
have led people in both countries to propose Do Not Call
Registries, in essence databases of residential and mobile
numbers that should not be contacted by telemarketers.
In both Australia and New Zealand the national government
has responsibility for a framework regarding allocation
and use of individual telephone numbers and numbers identifying
networks/types of services.
That framework is embodied in a formal numbering plan
landline numbers, often characterised as geographic
numbers because they broadly reflect a specific location
mobile phone numbers
service numbers, with a charge to the receiver rather
than the caller
local rate numbers, with long distance calls being charged
at the local rate
premium rate numbers, charged at several times the standard
numbers, with calls being routed to police, fire or
another emergency services agency.
accommodates provision of connectivity by different network
operators (carriage service providers). It also accommodates
'number portability', with consumers in some circumstances
being able to use the same number despite moving from
one network operator to another.
In Australia the national Telecommunications Numbering
1997 is administered by ACMA under the Telecommunications
Act 1997. The New Zealand plan dates from 1993. Both
feature differentiation between competing mobile phone
networks and scope for identification of landline numbers
on the basis of location, ie an 'area' code that reflects
a hierarchy of exchanges within a specific region.
Most landline numbers in Australia consist of a two digit
area code (eg 02) - a relic of the military districts
at the time of federation - and an eight digit sequence
that is sometimes characterised as the local number.
The following area codes have been in use since reorganisation
of the numbering plan between 1996 and 1998 -
New South Wales
02 Australian Capital Territory
08 Western Australia
08 Christmas Island and Cocos (Keeling)
08 South Australia
08 Northern Territory.
first four digits of the local number generally specify
the exchange, with the final four digits in the sequence
identifying a line at that exchange. (The shift to digital
switching has meant a consolidation of many small exchanges,
so that most exchanges now encompass several four digit
exchange codes.) Prior to the introduction of eight digit
numbers in the early to mid-1990s, landline numbers were
seven digits in the major capital cities (with a single-digit
area code) and six digits in other areas (with a two-digit
Since 1993, landline numbers in New Zealand generally
consist of a single digit area code and seven digit local
numbers, the first three of which generally specify the
exchange and the final four a line at that exchange.
The five regional area codes are -
03 the South Island and the Chatham
04 Wellington Region except the Wairarapa
06 the remaining southern and eastern
North Island (Taranaki, Manawatu-Wanganui except Taumarunui,
Hawke's Bay, Gisborne, the Wairarapa and Otaki)
07 the Waikato, the Bay of Plenty and
09 Auckland and Northland
phone numbers in Australia have a 04 prefix, followed
by two digits that identify the network operator and the
number that is specific to the subscriber. The introduction
of number portability means that there is no longer necessaily
a relationship between the mobile phone number and the
network it uses. In New Zealand mobiles have a 02 prefix,
followed by one digit identifying the network operator
(eg 5 for Telecom, 1 for Vodafone) and the subscriber's
number, which is either six, seven or eight digits.
The 1997 Telecommunications Numbering Plan ensures a common
approach to use of telephone numbers by different network
operators, so that consumers are able to recognise that
a particular number (eg with a 1300 or 190 prefix) is
associated with a specific type of service and call cost.
Local Rate Numbers (identified with 13 and 1300 prefixes)
work across large areas (up to across Australia) and only
charge a local call, routing the call to the appropriate
place in a given area. Australia uses a 1800 free call
prefix. New Zealand free call services generally use the
prefix 0800 (although some use 0508), with local rate
(often internet access numbers) having the 08 prefix.
The 190 prefix in Australia is used to identify premium
services such as recorded finance or sports data, competition
lines, horoscopes and
adult services. In New Zealand premium rate services are
identified with an 0900 code followed by five digits.
In April 2007 ACMA amended the 1997 Numbering Plan, introducing
a "location-independent service type and number range
to facilitate the introduction of innovative communications
services" with the 0550 number range. The expectation
was that the "innovative services" would include
some kinds of voice over internet protocol (VoIP) services.
Providers wishings to offer a traditional fixed telephone
service will continue to be able to access geographic
numbers or to diversify to the new 0550 number range.
ACMA expects that non-traditional services (eg where those
not fixed to a particular location) will only be offered
on the 0550 number range.
The emergency number in Australia is 000; in New Zealand
it is 111. The global GSM mobile emergency number 112
works on some mobiles in Australia.
Administration of the dot-au domain name space is the
responsibility of auDA, discussed
in a detailed profile on this site.
Administration of dot-nz is discussed here.
The integrated public number database (IPND) in Australia
is an industry wide database of all listed and unlisted
public telephone numbers.
It was established in 1998 and is managed by Telstra under
the Carrier Licence Conditions (Telstra Corporation Limited)
The IPND contains all public numbers and associated information
such as the customer's name and address and the name of
the service provider providing the carriage service. It
encompasses geographic numbers (landline numbers), mobile
numbers, numbers used for paging, numbers used for services
that charge a local call fee or transfer the charge to
the called party and numbers in conjunction with prepaid
Information associated with each public number in the
IPND includes -
the public number
customer name and address
service location (if practicable)
the carriage service provider name
the telephone is to be used for government, business,
charitable or private purposes, if practicable.
information may only be accessed and used for "approved
providing directory assistance services
operator services or operator assistance services
public number directories
location dependent carriage services
operation of emergency call services or assisting emergency
law enforcement agencies or safeguarding national security
other activities specified by ACMA through written notice
to the IPND Manager (currently Telstra), although neither
ACMA nor its predecessor the ACA is reported to have
specified such other activities.
Telstra as the IPND Manager is responsible for maintaining
the IPND. It receives data from registered data providers,
provides data to registered data users, tests data for
errors and provides feedback to data providers on errors
Privacy aspects of the IPND are discussed here.
In May 2005 ACMA's predecessor sought public submissions
on a draft industry standard
about the protection of customer personal data. That standard
new measures designed to balance community and commercial
expectations about the use of personal information in
the contemporary environment. Concern about the
improper use of telecommunications customer information
led the then ACA to make a draft mandatory standard
covering the use of this information.
For much of the past century telephone directories were
building blocks for profiling individuals and organisations.
They were published by the monopoly telecommunications
provider, which was first reluctant to suppress name/address
details for particular numbers and then, as consumers
became more privacy aware, embraced as a revenue mechanism
(ie a consumer could go 'ex-directory' or get a 'silent
line' in return for payment to the network operator).
A 'silent number' (aka 'silent line') is a fixed line
service for customers who seek enhanced personal information
protection by not having their telephone numbers included
in publicly available print and electronic directories
(and similarly not disclosed by directory assistance).
Silent line customers pay a fee to have their names, addresses
and phone numbers withheld from directories. Silent line
customer addresses and phone numbers are also not available
through some directory assistance services, though the
operator on these services may indicate that there is
a listing for a silent number under the name requested.
How many people are 'ex-directory'? As of 2000 Telstra
had around 800,000 silent line customers in Australia.
About 16% of residential customers in Melbourne and Sydney
(and an average of 12% in country areas) have silent lines.
In Australia the 1997 Telecommunications Act
and industry codes relating to the IPND - eg the ACIF
IPND Data Provider, Data User & IPND Manager
- provide Telstra subsidiary Sensis, Acxiom and a handful
of other commercial entities with direct access to the
national 'master registry'. That is discussed in the ACA
2004 Who's Got Your Number - Regulating The Use Of
Telecommunications Customer Information discussion
of the Telecommunications Act 1997 prohibits
unauthorised creation of reverse directories.
During 2001 the 2600.org.au group launched a free 'Black
Pages' online reverse search service for Australia, discontinued
after a few months because of complaints from privacy
groups and apparent pressure by regulators.
Desktop Marketing Systems (DtMS)
subsequently marketed CD-ROMs with a reverse directory
facility. DtMS managing director Andre Kaminski reportedly
dismissed privacy concerns, commenting
is no such thing as privacy. Information is just a commodity.
As Australia becomes a more sophisticated market, there
is a demand for people like us.
successfully argued in the Federal Court that DtMS had
breached its copyright; the product is no longer available.
In New Zealand the 1992 Privacy Act prohibits
reverse searching for New Zealand residential phone numbers,
although reverse searching of business numbers is permitted.
Network operators in Australia and New Zealand, as in
many parts of the world, have differentiated between 'white
pages' and 'colour pages'
The white pages directory provides basic contact details
(surname and initial or corporate name, street address
and telephone number.
The 'colour pages' version comprises categorised listings
for businesses and other organisations, with most pages
of the print format directory featuring advertisements
by those businesses prepared to pay a premium for such
display. They are thus a precursor of online
directories such as Yahoo!
Do Not Call regime
Australia has adopted a national mandatory Do
Not Call registry, discussed
in a more detailed note elsewhere on this site. As of
2007 the registry has gained substantial consumer support.
New Zealand has yet to establish such a registry.