1800/13 Numbers Will Be Free From Mobiles, But Not Until 2015

A common trap with mobile phone plans is that calls to so-called 'free' numbers (those starting with 1800) aren't free at all — that only happens with landlines. The good news? The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has pledged to introduce legislative changes that will ensure those numbers can be called at landline cost (free or an untimed local call) from any mobile. The bad news? Legislative and process changes mean it won't happen until January 1 2015 at the earliest.

Picture by Cory Doctorow

A handful of providers already include 13 numbers (which are charged on landlines at untimed local call rates) and 1800 numbers in their existing "unlimited" plans (ones that spring to mind include Amaysim, Boost and Red Bull). However, many others charge them at high rates, which is a major nuisance if you're stuck on hold waiting for someone to answer.

Following industry consultation, ACMA says it is prepared to make changes that will eliminate that distinction:

The changes are designed to make calls from mobiles to freephone 1800 numbers free and calls from mobiles to 13/1300 local rate numbers cost no more than a caller would expect to pay from a fixed service.

There will be further consultation on the plan later this year, so don't be surprised if rollout gets delayed even further. It will definitely be a welcome improvement when it happens. In the meantime, if you often use these numbers, consider changing providers or using an app like 13save



    I find it immensely frustrating to call three, be put on hold for fourty minutes and be charged for it.

    Changes can't come soon enough.

      Not calling off your 3 phone are you? It's a free, untimed call. Prior to that it was 30 cents for a long time

      Could always call (02) 9034 8081 which is the international number for 133320

    It does seem exceptionally ridiculous that if you want to call your carriers customer service or technical support, that you get charged for it...

      Yes, I ran out of credit while calling Telstra today.

    with TPG they charge $1.02 plus $0.35 flag fall per minute for 1300-1800 calls, which is billed separately from your included credit .This is charged to your credit card.Leaving shortly to go to Red Bull .

    2015? Pathetic.

    I've been e-mailed or speaking to any company I call that uses 13 numbers to get them to change or advertise a direct telephone number as well. Even if you're not on hold for a long time, something when speaking to these companies you need to be on the phone for a while. If these companies actually cared about their customers they'd advertise direct numbers for mobiles to call along side any 13 numbers.

    The stupid thing is 13 and 1800 numbers cost the companies too when you call them. It is in their interest to publish the standard landline number.

    2015 ! - I could be dead by then

    If it is a done deal - then why nearly thee years to pas the laws ?

    With a lot of customers you can go onto their twitter feeds and PM them and ask them to call you.. Or look on their websites for a "contact me" option and it works the same :)

    Customers? I meant businesses...

    Since I have free local calls on my landline, I always try to find the alternative landline number for the 13 number.

    In doing so, I have created a little directory (for my reference) and for others as well http://www.jackcola.org/directory/13-number-lookup

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