It has already announced, in July, plans to introduce new mobile numbers beginning with 05 and more flexible landline numbers. These changes were in response to submissions received on its consultation paper: Telephone numbering: Future directions, issued in November 2011.
The ACMA announced last Thursday that it had now completed its consideration of all submissions to the paper, which proposed 24 specific changes to create "a managed evolutionary approach to increase the flexibility and efficiency of numbering arrangements, and make pricing clearer for consumers."
ACMA chairman, Chris Chapman, said: "With NBN and the next generation mobile services both offering IP-only voice services, these changes will mean Australia is well placed to exploit the benefits of these exciting new delivery platforms. The new arrangements will allow providers to be innovative and should create a better customer experience."
- allow more flexible use of general numbers;
- provide additional capacity for mobile numbers by removing unnecessary technical limitations in the specification of those numbers, in parallel with providing more capacity for mobiles in the 05 number range;
- streamline the Numbering Plan to make numbering arrangements simpler and more transparent for consumers and providers;
- introduce measures to improve number management and charging, including the removal of charges from carrier access codes, which will improve efficiency and remove an encourage development of new services;
- maintain existing arrangements for premium services, to enable these to be easily identified by consumers;
- make no change in the medium term for numbering of directory and information services, noting the continued development of online search engines and other market substitutes for directory and information services are fundamentally changing the way that people receive these services.
Chapman said: "Our vision for telephone numbering is for numbers to be flexible and readily accommodated as new technologies, uses and new entrants emerge in the communications sector.
"Our numbering work is about ensuring Australia is ahead of the game as we move into the broadband-enabled future. In the networked world, voice services will be 'apps' among many other communications and media apps. These apps will be used when, where and how they are wanted – numbering and addressing will also need to work this way.
"By establishing an agreed roadmap for the managed evolution of telecommunications numbering, the ACMA is enabling all Australians to capitalise on the benefits of new technologies, especially in the exploding arena of mobile apps and new voice services."