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Participate in a smartnumbers® auction Participate in a smartnumbers® auction
Update the rights of use details for your smartnumber Update the rights of use details for your smartnumber

Pre-auction questions

[ - ] What is a smartnumber?

A smartnumber is a freephone (1800 number) or local rate (13 or 1300 number) telephone number allocated through an online auction system by the Commonwealth Government agency the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).

A smartnumber, or phoneword, can be a valuable marketing tool if it is a highly patterned number, for example 1800 222 222; or it can be translated into a memorable phoneword, for example 13 CATS (13 22 87). A caller dials a phoneword by pressing the corresponding letters on a telephone keypad. Phonewords can be easier for callers to remember, particularly if they can be linked to an organisation's name or function, for example 13 RSPCA.

[ - ] What does "Enhanced Rights of Use" mean?

Phone numbers are a national resource. The successful bidder for a number does not become the 'owner' of the number. The winning bidder is awarded the enhanced rights to use the smartnumber. This rights allows the holder to sell or lease the number.

To maintain the enhanced rights you must have the number activated within three years of paying the winning bid amount. If at any time the number is deactivated the enhanced rights of use continue as long as the number is activated again within three years.

[ - ] If a number spells my business name, why is another company allowed to acquire it?

Each number on the phone keypad has three or four letters assigned to it (except 1 and 0). Therefore some smartnumbers may spell several words. For example, 2253 can spell: able, bake, cake and calf. This means that whilst the number may spell your business name, product etc it may also spell something meaningful to another person.

[ - ] The number I want is longer than the standard number size, is that ok?

All 13 numbers are followed by four numbers and all 1300 and 1800 numbers are followed by six numbers.

From an advertising perspective however, the word may be displayed longer. For example, 1300 SMARTDOG (1300 762 783 64). The true phone number is 1300 762 783 and this is the number that should be entered when going through the auction process.

Once the number has been acquired it can be advertised as 1300 SMARTDOG. When somebody calls the number it will start to connect once 1300 762 783 has been entered but the caller will continue to enter the 6 and 4. This is referred to as an "over dial".

Consider limiting your over dial to no more than one number for the 13 range and three or four numbers for the 1300 and 1800 range to avoid confusing your callers.

It is recommended that, before purchasing a number, you confirm with your phone company that an over dial is suitable.

[ - ] What is the process to obtain one or more smartnumber?

There are four steps to acquiring the enhanced rights of use for a smartnumber:

  1. Use search on the smartnumber homepage to check a number's availability. "Available" and "Scheduled for Auction" numbers are the only ones you can bid on.
  2. Next register to use the website. You will be required to enter your details and pay a "once only" fee of $42. A username and password will be emailed to you, allowing you to use the full site. The password is only temporary and will require changing when you first login.
  3. After you have logged in you must first apply for a number, this expresses an interest in it. If the number has a status of "Available" you can place an opening bid for it. This will put the number into the next available auction. It also places the obligation on you to pay that amount should it be the only bid for the number on auction day.

    "Scheduled for Auction" numbers already have an opening bid submitted by somebody else, so you only need to apply for the number to be able to bid for it on auction day. To ensure you are to bid on the day of the auction we recommend you submit your application prior to the auction day.

  4. Online auctions take place on the date advised. If you have submitted the opening bid you only need to bid on the day if a counter bid is placed against you. Notification of this bid will be emailed to you.

The successful bidder will be sent an invoice via email shortly after the completion of an auction. Once the payment has been received you can arrange for the connection with a phone company of your choice.

[ - ] How much is this all going to cost?

You will need to pay the ACMA:

  • A once off $42.00 registration fee.
  • The reserve price listed is the minimum amount you will pay for the number. If there is bidding on the number during the auction the amount will be more. You only have to pay the winning bid amount once, it is not an ongoing fee.

Once you have successfully won a number, you will also need to pay your phone company various charges that may include but are not limited to:

  • The cost of installation, connection, rental, call charges and other costs associated with providing a service on a smartnumber.
  • Possible annual numbering charges.

[ - ] What is the annual numbering charge?

Phone companies are required to pay an annual numbering charge, to the ACMA, for 13, 1300 and 1800 numbers that are activated with them. The ACMA collect this charge in April each year.

The approximate charge for a 13 number is $8,000 per annum and for 1300 or 1800 number is $0.80 per annum. Phone companies usually incorporate this charge into the service charges you pay them. For more information about how this charge is apportioned please contact your phone company.

Click here for further information about the annual numbering charge.

[ - ] Do I have to go through the auction process to get the number I want?

If the number has a status of "Available" or "Scheduled for Auction" the only way of obtaining the enhanced rights of use is through the auction process. The entire process is conducted online through the smartnumbers® website and the auction website.

[ - ] Is there another way of getting a 13, 1300 or 1800 number?

If your organisation needs a phone number straight away but does not have a preference for a specific number you can obtain one directly through a phone company. We call this the administrative allocation process this is a small pool with a limited choice of numbers, none of which will be highly patterned

Unlike a smartnumber, you will not be allocated the enhanced rights of use for the number. Instead you will only maintain the right to use the number if there is continuous active service on it. Once one of these numbers has been disconnected it is quarantined for a period of time and then returned to the auction pool.

You must contact a phone company for an administrative allocation.

[ - ] How does the administrative allocation process work?

The ACMA has a pool of approximately 2 million numbers, a small quantity of randomly selected numbers are placed into the administrative allocation pool. Phone companies can issue numbers from this pool to customers. These numbers are listed on the smartnumbers website with a status of "Not for Auction".

Numbers are allocated on a 'first-come, first-served' basis. Phone companies can only offer a limited choice of numbers, none of which will be highly patterned.

Phone companies should be contacted regarding any administration fee and service charges

[ - ] What is a carriage service provider?

Carriage service providers are more commonly known as phone companies and they supply a variety of telecommunication services. Some companies may only supply freephone and local rate services.

smartnumbers are unable to recommend a phone company we suggest a good starting point would be to search through the internet.

Once you have paid the winning bid amount and obtained the enhanced rights of use for a smartnumber, you can contact your phone company to get the number activated. It is recommended that you carefully read the terms and conditions of the contract you enter into with the phone company.

[ - ] Why do I have to register?

Registering and paying the $42.00 registration fee provides you with access to the smartnumbers® website when you wish to apply and place an opening bid for a number. You do not need to register to search for a number.

Obtaining a smartnumber, including participating in an auction, is only conducted online, this cannot be completed over the phone, via email or any other method. You will receive your username and password via email.

[ - ] Can registration fees be refunded?

No. You should check to see whether the number(s) you wish to obtain are available for auction before registering as the registration fee cannot be refunded. The auction schedule and cut-off dates for placing opening bids should also be checked.

[ - ] Do I have to register every time I want to buy a number?

Registration is only required once. Registration will only be required again if you want to buy numbers in a different individual or business name.

[ - ] How do I pay my registration fee?

The $42.00 payment can be made via any of the following options

  • Credit Card (VISA or MasterCard)
    Payment will clear immediately and you will receive your password straight away, giving you immediate access to the smartnumbers® website.
    Click here to make a credit card payment
  • BPAY for any transaction amount using internet or phone banking.
    Payment can take up to five days to clear.
    Biller Code:24067
    Reference Number:Your invoice number
  • Cheque
    Payment can take up to five days to clear, delaying when you will receive your password.
    Please make your bank or company cheque payable to the Australian Communications and Media Authority and post it with your payment slip to:

    Australian Communications and Media Authority
    GPO Locked Bag 3370
    MELBOURNE VIC 3001

[ - ] How do I update my registration details?

If you want to change your contact details please follow these steps:

  1. Login to the smartnumbers® website.
  2. Click on "View or edit my details" under the "Quicklinks" heading.
  3. Click on "Edit".
  4. You can then update the available fields.
  5. Click on "Update".
  6. Click on "Confirm" if the new details are correct.

Please Note:

  • This process does not alter the details for any smartnumber(s) won at auction before you made the changes. To change those details please refer to How do I generate a ROUpin? and How do I update the details associated with my smartnumber ? for more information.
  • You will not be able to change any of your "Business Details". You must send an email listing the current and new details to smartnumbers@acma.gov.au. This request must come from the contact listed in the registration details. If this person has left the organisation then a written request on company letterhead from the CEO or Director is required.

[ - ] What if I forget my username and/or password?

From the "Login" page you can select either "Forgotten your password?" or "Forgotten your username?". You will be asked to provide some further information. Once that has been completed the requested information will be emailed to you.

If this is not successful, you can contact smartnumbers® by emailing smartnumbers@acma.gov.au or phoning 1300 793 919.

[ - ] Why has my account been locked?

Your account may have locked for one of two reasons, either

  • It has been inactive for 28 days or more, which causes the account to automatically lock; or
  • Five or more attempts to login with an incorrect password have occurred.

In either event smartnumbers® can be contacted by emailing smartnumbers@acma.gov.au or phoning 1300 793 919. We will reset your account and you will receive a new temporary password via email.

[ - ] What do the statuses mean?

  • Auctioned
    These numbers have been auctioned and the enhanced rights of use allocated to the "Current ROU Holder".
  • Available
    These numbers are available for auction.
  • Decision Pending
    These numbers are currently not available for auction. This may be reviewed shortly so contact smartnumbers® on 1300 793 919 for more information.
  • Not for Auction
    These numbers are not available for auction. They may be available for allocation through a phone company and you can contact them to discuss availability.
  • Payment Pending
    The ACMA is waiting for payment from the winning bidder.
  • Scheduled for Auction
    These numbers have an opening bid submitted. You must apply for these numbers if you want to bid for them on the auction day.

[ - ] When do the auctions take place?

Generally smartnumbers auctions are held fortnightly on a Wednesday, from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm. Click here to check the schedule of upcoming auctions .

Opening bids or the cancellation of opening bids must be submitted four working days prior to the auction taking place. For example, if an auction is scheduled for Wednesday 20th February then the closing date will be midnight on Wednesday 13th February. If a Victorian public holiday occurs between the closing date for opening bids and the auction date, the closing date is moved back by the relevant number of days.

[ - ] How does a number come up for auction?

A smartnumber is only scheduled for auction when someone submits a valid opening bid for the number at www.smartnumbers.com.au. The number will be placed into the next scheduled auction day, which is advertised on the smartnumbers® website.

[ - ] Can I cancel my opening bid?

Opening Bids can be cancelled up to four workings days prior to the auction date. Beyond this date your opening bid is locked in and cannot be cancelled for any reason. You are legally required to pay that amount should it be the final bid amount.

[ - ] Can I cancel a bid I make on auction day?

Auction day bids cannot be cancelled or withdrawn. By submitting a bid, you are legally required to pay that amount should it be the final bid amount. You should check the identity of the current highest bidder before placing a bid. This is to ensure that you do not accidentally bid against yourself.

[ - ] What time do the auctions operate?

Auctions normally commence on Wednesday at 11 am and conclude at 4 pm AEST. However, in periods of daylight savings AEDT is used as smartnumbers auctions are conducted in Victoria.

[ - ] How long does an auction run for?

The majority of auctions run for one day (from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm).

For an auction to be completed there must be one full hour of non-bidding. This means that if there are no bids placed between 3:00 and 4:00 pm the auction will be completed at 4:00 pm on the first day.

If a bid is placed between 3:00 and 4:00 pm the auction will recommence at 11:00am the following business day. If no further bids are received the auction will conclude at 12:00pm. If there are any further bids between 11:00am and 12:00pm the auction will be extended a further full hour and conclude at 1:00pm. Further bids will extend the auction time by one full hour. If further bidding continues the auction will close at 4:00pm and then reopen at 11:00am the next business day. From the second day onwards the auction will conclude when there are no further bids for a full hour.

Details of when the auction will close are outlined in the email that will be sent to you when a counter bid is placed against any bid made by you.

Auction day questions

[ - ] How do I know what numbers are up for auction?

Click here to check the schedule of upcoming auctions , followed by the relevant "Auction Event Start Date" to view the numbers.

Alternatively you can select Auction calendar to view current and upcoming auctions

[ - ] Can I bid for a number when someone else has placed the opening bid?

Only people who have registered with smartnumbers and submitted an application for a number can bid in an auction.

Please note: If you submit an application for a number on the day it is being auctioned you must phone smartnumbers® on 1300 793 919, as your details must be added into the auction. This procedure can take some time and we cannot guarantee you will be able to participate in the auction.

[ - ] How will I know if someone bids against me?

This can only happen once an auction has opened. You will be notified via an automated email if a counter bid is placed against you. This email will contain information about when the auction will close, what the current highest bid is and the minimum bid increment amount.

You can also monitor the auction throughout the day by clicking on Auction calendar and searching for your number. This information is live and clicking F5 or refresh will ensure it is up to date.

[ - ] Can I see who has bid against me?

Yes you can view this information by following these steps:

  1. Click on Auction calendar
  2. Enter the number in the "Auction search" box in the top right hand corner and click "Search".
  3. Click on the number listed under "smartnumbers auction search results". This will display the "Auction details".
  4. Click on "View Bid History" at the bottom of the page and you will be able to see the:
    • Identity of the person or organisation bidding.
    • Time a bid is placed.
    • Bid amount.

This information is live and clicking F5 or refresh will ensure the server time is up to date As server times may vary you must use the smartnumbers® server time to ensure the correct time associated with an auction.

[ - ] How do I place a bid on auction day?

If you placed an opening bid on a number you do not have to make a bid on auction day unless someone has bid against you. You should check the name of the current highest bidder before placing a bid. This is to ensure that you do not accidentally bid against yourself.

The minimum bid increment is 10 per cent of the previous bid for amounts less than and equal to $50,000. For example if the previous bid was $500 then your minimum bid is $550. If the previous bid is greater than $50,000, the minimum bid increment is $2500.

You can place a bid by following these steps:

  1. Click on Auction calendar.
  2. Enter the number in the "Auction search" box in the top right hand corner and click "Search".
  3. Click on the number listed under "smartnumbers auction search results".
  4. At the bottom of the "Auction details" page enter the same username and password as used on the smartnumbers® website.
  5. Check you are happy with the bid amount and click "Submit Bid".

All bids received during an auction are final and cannot be withdrawn. By submitting a bid, you are legally bound to make payment to the ACMA should it be the winning bid.

[ - ] Why would an auction be suspended or cancelled?

We may suspend or cancel an auction in the following limited circumstances:

  • If we have excluded or suspended an entity from participating in an auction.
  • If there is a technical failure in the auction website or system.
  • Due to an event beyond our control.
  • To give us time to investigate an irregularity in the auction.
  • If we are satisfied that in the circumstances it is appropriate to do so.

When an auction has been suspended we may either:

  • Resume the auction from the last valid bid; or
  • Cancel the auction.

All participants will be given at least one full working day's notice of the date and time when the auction is to resume. Generally an email will be sent to each participant notifying them of the recommencement.

If we resume the auction from the last valid bid, and no further bids are made, the person who made the last valid recorded bid prior to the suspension will have the option to either:

  • Confirm their bid; or
  • Apply to us for a cancellation of the auction containing the number. In these circumstances we may, after considering all the circumstances, cancel the auction.

[ - ] How will I know if I've won the number?

Invoices will usually be emailed to the successful bidders within 30 minutes of the close of the auction. You will only receive this email and invoice if you have successfully won a number at auction. Your email junk box should be checked if you did not receive the email, as it is sent from auto_mailer@acma.gov.au and your email package may treat it as junk.

Other auction results can be obtained by following these steps:

  1. Click on Auction calendar.
  2. Enter the number in the "Auction search" box in the top right hand corner and click "Search".
  3. Click on the number listed under "smartnumbers auction search results". This will display the "Auction details".
  4. Click on "View Bid History" at the bottom of the page and you will be able to see the:
    • Identity of the person or organisation bidding.
    • Time a bid is placed.
    • Bid amount.

Post-auction questions

[ - ] How long do I have to pay for my smartnumber?

Your payment must be received within 30 days from the completion of your auction. You will be sent an invoice, via email, which will advise what the exact due date is and what your payment options are.

Payments by credit card are generally processed immediately whereas BPAY and cheques can take up to five days to clear.

If your payment is not received in full by the due date:

  • The rights of use to the smartnumber may not be allocated.
  • The number may be returned to the auction pool for resale.
  • We may suspend your smartnumber registration thereby excluding you from participating in further auctions.
  • Your winning bid amount will remain a debt to the Commonwealth.
  • We will initiate a debt recovery process which could include enlisting the services of a debt collection agency.

[ - ] What are my payment options?

You can make payment for your smartnumber via any of the following options:

  • Credit Card (VISA or MasterCard) for transaction amounts under $30,000.
    Payment will clear immediately.
    Click here to make a credit card payment
  • BPAY for any transaction amount using internet or phone banking.
    Payment can take up to five days to clear.
    Biller Code: 24067
    Reference Number: Your invoice number
  • Cheque for any transaction amount.
    Payment can take up to five days to clear.
    Please make your bank or company cheque payable to the Australian Communications and Media Authority and post it with your payment slip to:
    Australian Communications and Media Authority
    GPO Locked Bag 3370
    MELBOURNE VIC 3001

[ - ] What do I do after I pay?

Once payment has been received for your smartnumber an automated email will be sent to you advising you now have the rights of use to the number. You can then:

  • Generate the rights of use pin (ROUpin). This should be kept secure and not given to your phone company. To assist with your connection you should generate the ROUpin prior to contacting your phone company.
  • Change any of the details associated with the number.
  • Contact your phone company to get the number activated (this must be done within three years of payment).

[ - ] When does the number have to be activated by?

It must be activated within three years of payment of the winning bid amount. Activation means that if someone was to call the number they would be connected through to you. Failure to activate the number in time will result in the automatic loss of the rights of use for the number.

We do not have any discretion to extend the three year period, so you should give your phone company plenty of time to activate the number. Each phone company is different but as a guide you should allow at least 10 working days. Simply lodging paperwork with them to activate the number will not be sufficient to meet this activation requirement.

If your contact details remain up to date then we will endeavour to send you a reminder letter 12 months and again six weeks before this activation period is to end.

The three year activation period will re-commence if at any time the number is deactivated.

[ - ] How do I get the number activated?

You will need to contact your phone company as we do not provide this service.

  • Your phone company will do a search for your number on the smartnumbers® website and see that you are listed as the "Current rights of use holder". To assist with your connection you should generate the ROUPIN prior to contacting your phone company.

[ - ] Can you recommend a phone company?

As a government regulator we cannot make any recommendations on phone companies. We suggest that you research a few phone companies to find the best deal available to you.

It is also recommended that you carefully read the terms and conditions of the contract you enter into with the phone company.

[ - ] What is a ROUpin?

A Rights of Use personal identification number (ROUpin) is a 10 digit code that allows you to access and change the details associated with your smartnumber online. It can be generated by you once payment has been received for your smartnumber.

After you have generated the ROUpin for the first time you will not be able to do so again. However we can email you a new one. Therefore please ensure the contact details for your number are up to date as the request to do so must come from the contact person listed. If this person has left the organisation then a written request on company letterhead from the CEO or Director will suffice.

Your phone company does not need the ROUpin to arrange the connection of a smartnumber. The Enhanced Rights of Use (EROU) number, which is sometimes requested by phone companies, is the actual smartnumber and not the ROUpin.

[ - ] How do I generate a ROUpin?

A ROUpin can be generated by logging into smartnumbers® website and clicking on "Generate a ROUpin" on the right hand side of the page. Select the number and click on "Generate ROUpin".

A 10 digit pin will then be displayed on the screen.

[ - ] How do I update the details associated with my smartnumber?

Once you have generated your ROUpin please follow these steps:

  1. Click on "Update number" located on the homepage under the Login box.
  2. "Search" for the number and click on it in the search results.
  3. Click on "Update ROU Holder Details".
  4. Enter the ROUpin and click on "Continue".
  5. Update any of the details and click on "Continue".
  6. Click on "Confirm".

A new ROUpin will then be sent to the email address listed in the ROU Holder Details.

[ - ] Can I trade my smartnumber?

Yes, you can trade or on sell the Rights of Use (ROU) to your smartnumber. However, the following must be observed by both parties:

  • 100% of the rights must be traded as partial trading is not permitted.
  • The person who obtains the smartnumber must ensure that the ROU online register is updated to reflect the new ownership details. (For more information see "How do I update the details associated with my smartnumber?").
  • You should be aware of how much time is remaining on the three year activation period for the number. For example, if the number has been inactive for two years and you acquire the rights to it then you only have one year left in which to get the number activated. (For more information refer to "When does the number have to be activated by?")
  • For your convenience this link will take you to a Trade of rights of use of smartnumber form which should be completed by both parties as evidence of the trade. The form does not need to be lodged with us, rather it's for your own records.

[ - ] What if I no longer want the smartnumber?

You can simply let the three year activation period lapse and the number will automatically return to the auction pool. The winning bid amount will not be refunded.

Alternatively you can sell the rights of use for the smartnumber to someone else (for more information see "Can I trade my smartnumber?"). We do not provide a service to trade or on sell your number.

You can also surrender your number by writing to us at smartnumbers@acma.gov.au. The winning bid amount will not be refunded.

[ - ] Where can I get a list of all my numbers won at auction?

Click here to view a list of all numbers won at auction.

[ - ] Where can I get a list of numbers returned to the auction pool?

Click here to view a list of numbers returned to the auction pool.

[ - ] What does the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman do?

The Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) is a free and independent alternative dispute resolution scheme for small business and residential consumers in Australia with unresolved complaints about their telephone or internet services.

If you have been unsuccessful in resolving a complaint directly with your phone company then you can contact the TIO:
Phone: 1800 062 058
Website: www.tio.com.au

[ - ] Who is the Industry Number Management Services (INMS)?

INMS is a not-for-profit company which allocates short-digit Premium Rate (191-199) numbers and 13/1300/1800 numbers on behalf of the ACMA to registered phone companies. The INMS system also facilitates the portability of 13/1300/1800 telephone services and the movement of Premium Rate (191-199) numbers.

http://www.url.gov.au/insertURL
© Commonwealth of Australia 2014