The government of course! But let’s not get negative, it is a business concept and a very good one from an entrepreneurial point of view.
Firstly I guess do you all know what a phoneword is?
Basically it is a 13, 1300 or 1800 number which has digits after the prefix, that spell a word when dialed using a numeric/text keypad on a phone. A business can have up to 10 digits/letters following the 13, 1300 and 1800 prefix. This is called over dialing and has been incorporated into all Australia phone networks (including mobile).
Now, generally they are a great marketing concept because it is much easier to remember 1300 WESTPAC, then the number that would represent that, 1300 93 78 72. Many marketing studies have been done and confirm that incoming call traffic and sales increase with the use of a Phoneword. It not only provides an “easy to remember” number for the caller but also enhances the branding of the company.
SO, where do we get these numbers?
Well if you are lucky enough, the number you want will be in the available, FREE Public List provided to all telecommunications companies in Australia.
However, it is very unlikely you will find the number you want within that free list but instead will have one of two choices;
1. Purchase the number outright so you have complete ownership, from the SMARTNUMBERS AUCTION SITE or,
2. Lease the number from a company who has previously purchased the number.
AND, to our initial question, who sets the prices on these numbers because the price at auction can range from a reserve of $250 all the way to $20,000.
The government body that has created the pricing strategy for phonewords purchased at auction is the Australian Communications And Media Authority (ACMA). The ACMA tell us that “the numerical patterns in numbers and the capacity of numbers to be translated to words” are the defining factors as to how prices are set. The table that best defines these elements and the relevant price charged can be found HERE
I hope that has helped and give some background into where the phoneword charges come from.