Feeds

Mobile number exhaustion accelerating in Oz

Regulator plots out new numbering plan

High performance access to file storage

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) says mobile numbers could be exhausted by 2017, according to a discussion paper canvassing revisions to this country’s numbering plan.

The last time the ACMA mapped out the future of telephone numbers, it expected the mobile pool to last until 2027, but Australia’s limitless hunger for mobiles has raced ahead of expectations.

It’s not just consumers that are soaking up the numbers – although many households have multiple phones as well as tablets and 3G data devices. Australia is also deploying millions of SIMs in everything from EFTPOS terminals to e-readers.

At the same time, our appetite for fixed numbers is on the wane – not as rapidly as is suggested by those who measure only Telstra’s PSTN services, since many customers are switching their fixed lines to other providers via Naked DSL offerings, but the paper notes a “slow decline” from 10.67 million fixed telephone numbers allocated at the end of 2009 to 10.59 million at the end of 2010.

One proposal offered to address the looming shortage of mobile numbers is simply to allow mobiles to be assigned numbers outside their traditional “04” range. The ACMA is also eyeing the “0550” range, created long ago for ‘location-independent communications services’ but largely unused.

Directory service numbers are also under scrutiny in the paper, with the ACMA stating that “current practices … no longer meet the original intent of the legislative scheme, may be causing consumer confusion on both service type and price, and may have the potential to stifle innovation.”

A number of service types are slated for removal, including numbers allocated to Enum trials (remember how Enum was going to take over the world?). The number range allocated to old-style analogue mobile services (AMPS) is also on the end-of-life list, more than a decade after the last service was discontinued on the mainland.

In a move that’s bound to spark at least a little controversy, the regulator is also asking whether Australia’s long devotion to the untimed local call is becoming an anachronism. The problem, it notes, is deciding what counts as “local”, considering that someone calling the home phone from a mobile 500 meters away will be charged differently to a call between Parramatta and Penrith.

The paper also notes that growing use of VoIP services (which today can only connect to the PSTN using a geographic number) and the rollout of the National Broadband Network (which will probably spark new growth in VoIP) will also change the way telephone numbers are used.

The numbering plan consultation is being conducted here. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
A black box for your SUITCASE: Now your lost luggage can phone home – quite literally
Breakfast in London, lunch in NYC, and your clothes in Peru
Broadband Secretary of SHEEP sensationally quits Cabinet
Maria Miller finally resigns over expenses row
Skype pimps pro-level broadcast service
Playing Cat and Mouse with the media
Beat it, freetards! Dyn to shut down no-cost dynamic DNS next month
... but don't worry, charter members, you're still in 'for life'
EE dismisses DATA-BURNING glitch with Orange Mail app
Bug quietly slurps PAYG credit - yet EE denies it exists
Like Google, Comcast might roll its own mobile voice network
Says anything's possible if regulators approve merger with Time Warner
Turnbull leaves Australia's broadband blackspots in the dark
New Statement of Expectations to NBN Co offers get-out clauses for blackspot builds
Facebook claims 100 MEEELLION active users in India
Who needs China when you've got the next billion in your sights?
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.