The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) released its latest review of the Telecommunications Number Plan, advising Australia could run out of “04″ mobile telephone numbers by 2017 unless the industry works together to share the available numbers.
“If consumption of mobile numbers continues at its current rate there is a potential expiration of the existing range by 2017,” the manager of regulatory futures at ACMA, Dominic Byrne, said in a briefing this morning.
“If there is any suggestion that we are running short of mobile numbers, then we will specify more numbers.”
Mr Byrne said mobile operators could use their existing allocation of numbers more efficiently.
“The ACMA has formed a view that the current arrangements are under significant pressure as a result of change in technology, commercial arrangements and consumer behaviour,” its review found.
Other changes include removing the requirement to use geographic numbers in a specific location. This would become possible once more people use voice-over-internet-protocol (VOIP) telephones at home, which charge the same rate for local as long-distance calls.
The review plans to simplify telephone numbering in Australia in the immediate future – such as simplifying the prefixes for directory assistance to free, local rate or premium numbers – and for the longer term as technology makes new number systems possible, such as linking a single number to multiple devices.
ACMA will release a discussion paper early next year to discuss ways to avoid running out of the existing 04 range.