Phone Words – the ultimate marketing tool

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Phone Words – the ultimate marketing tool

– Phone words are premium numbers
– The ultimate marketing tool for a corporation or business
– Easy for customers to recall and gives your business scale


PHONE words are 1800, 1300 or 13 numbers followed by a word.
These premium numbers are perfect for a business looking to secure a number that is instantly remembered.
The phone word chosen either connects directly to the brand name of the business or best represents what the enterprise is all about.
Phone words were introduced into Australia by the independent statutory authority, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) in 2004.
“Phone words can be easier for callers to remember, particularly if they can be linked to an organisation’s name, product or function. For example, 1300 POTATO is much easier to remember than 1300 768 286, especially days or weeks after first seeing or hearing the number advertised,” says ACMA.


How do phone words work?

Each alphabet in the number corresponds to a number on the keypad. A phone word is spelt out through the alphanumeric keypad on a mobile or landline telephone handset.
Let us look at the example of inbound telecommunications services provider Fonebox. Their signature number is 1800 FONEBOX. So a word is in place of the number after the 1800. One glance at this number tells us that the company name is Zintel and it operates in the telecommunications industry.
Staying with this example, each letter in this number corresponds to a number on the keypad. So 1800 FONEBOX would be keyed in as 1800 366 3269.

What types of phone words are available?

Phone words can be 1800, 1300 or 13 numbers followed by words that either spell out a company or brand name or convey an essence of what the company is about.
13 phone words are the number 13 followed by four digits or alphabets.
1800 phone words are the 1800 number followed by at least six digits or alphabets and can go up to 10 digits or alphabets.
The same goes with 1300 phone words.
Phone words can be generic or have a company name.
The 1800 Zintel example is a good illustration of a phone word utilising the company or brand name.
The other type, the generic phone word, illustrates what the company’s product is about. Not only do they spell out what your brand is about, but other competitors would not be able to use that unique word in their numbers.

Why phone words are important to your business

Phone words are five times more memorable than phone numbers, according to industry research. Phone word usage in Australia has more than doubled since 2006.
A customer’s ability to recall your number is better when they see a catchy word after the 13 or 1300 or 1800 prefix. So not only does it make your number unforgettable to your existing customers, but it can also turbocharge your promotions by pushing your product or service to new customers and generating fresh leads. Phone words can also up the tempo in word-of-mouth marketing, thus enhancing your business branding. It is one of the most effective ways to get your brand to be recalled again and again.
So not only do you stand out from your competitors with a phone word, but the business can maximise results from its marketing activities.

Smart number allocation

According to the Australian Communications and Media Authority Communications report 2015-16, the smart numbers “auction system was introduced in 2004 as an efficient way to allocate freephone and local rate numbers (FLRNs) – numbers commencing with 13, 1300 and 1800 – and to enable an appropriate return for this valuable and limited resource.”
According to the report, in 2015–16, ACMA sold 5051 numbers, raising approximately $1.75 million in revenue. “This quantity of numbers was a 17 per cent increase on the 4330 numbers sold in 2014-15 (which raised approximately $1.66 million in revenue).”

On 9 July, 2015, ACMA completed the last smart numbers auction, according to the report. From August 2015, the sale of smart numbers changed from auction to immediate purchase. “This change benefits individuals and organisations that purchase smart numbers by reducing the delay, uncertainty and complexity inherent in the auction process.”


As many as 93 per cent of Australians are aware of phone words and the idea of alphanumeric dialing, a Roy Morgan Research study revealed in 2014.


Do I need a new telephone line for a phone word?

You do not need a new, physical line or cabling requirements. A phone word is a digital representation of your business. Calls to phone words simply travel via the existing land line and mobile networks across Australia. Basically, a phone word is a 13, 1300 or 1800 number followed by a keyword describing your particular business or service.

How much does a phone word cost to lease?

When you buy a phone word, you generally pay a $35 registration charge to secure your number with ACMA. Above that, there is the allocation charge for the number.

The cost of obtaining a phone word depends on the specific phone word being requested. Certain in-demand keywords may cost more than others.

ACMA controls all telephone numbers in Australia. Companies like Zintel work with corporate and enterprise clients to help them obtain and operate phone words that are best suited to their business.

Call 1800 122 004 or contact us via this page to discuss options:

How do letters in phone numbers work?

Each number on the telephone keypad from 2-9 corresponds to three or four letters. The number may actually be any of those three or four letters. In effect, one press of “2” corresponds to either an A, B or C. The combination of number translating into letters helps make up the phone word.


What is the difference between 13, 1800 and 1300 phone words?

In Australia, there are three main types of inbound numbers: 1800-, 1300- and 13-prefixed.

A 13 phone word starts with the number 13 and then comes the appropriate phone word. When forming a phone word, 13 numbers need minimum four letters after the prefix and no more than eight.

An 1800 number starts with the prefix 1800 and is followed by the phone word. Likewise, a 1300 number begins with 1300 and the signature word follows.

While forming a phone word, 1800 and 1300 numbers require minimum six digits and preferably no more than 10 after the prefix.

13 numbers cost more to set up than both 1300 and 1800 numbers.

Can I receive international calls to my phone word from outside of Australia?

It would be better if you research which countries can dial a phone word number in Australia.

It may work for some countries, while it may not work for others. Even if it does work for a country, it is still not a guaranteed method of contacting the phone word number in Australia. Speak to a consultant at Zintel for more information.

If I have an office or call centre based outside Australia, can calls from my Australian clients be directed to these offices or call centres?

Zintel routing suite will swiftly get your customers to their right answer point, giving them the best call experience possible.

There are several types of call routing solutions offered by Zintel – Preset Call Menu, Postcode Prompting, Exchange-based Routing, Call Forwarding, Time & Date Routing, State-based Routing and Custom Routing.

Each of your incoming calls will be sent to a destination specified by you via the call routing suite.

Call routing solutions take care of this. A call routing strategy deployed with a phone word ensures that your business is always connected to potential customers.

Your phone calls can be redirected based on percentages, the time or day of the call, or geographic region of the call. If, for instance, your business has staff located overseas, your phone word can be easily set up to be answered in several countries across the world.

Can I get a call answering service for my phone word?

Zintel can also customise a call answering service for your business. Your incoming telephone calls are routed to Zintel inbound contact centre where Virtual Receptionists answer your calls. Virtual Receptionists are the perfect scalable solution for businesses who want to optimise inbound lead capture and provide 24/7 customer service.

Their highly-trained, professional team of Virtual Receptionists answer your business’s calls like one of your own staff – they just happen to be in Zintel Brisbane office.

Can I choose my own phone word?

You can choose your own phone word subject to availability. The customer support team at Zintel works with the business client to set up the most effective 1300 and 1800 phone words with up to ten letters, and 13 phone words with up to eight letters.

Will phone words work from a mobile phone?

Phone words work via mobile phones. Customers can call your business from any Australian mobile phone using the alphanumeric keypad.


What is the difference between a phone word, smart number and vanity phone number?

Different telecom companies use the three terms interchangeably. A phone word and a smart number is essentially the same thing – a 1300, 1800 or 13 number which includes a keyword. ACMA uses both the terms.

A vanity number is not too different. The term is used for any custom number – phone word or all-numeric phone number – requested by a business owner or any subscriber, for that matter.

What is ‘over dial’ for phone words?

If a customer is calling a phone word that has more than 6 digits for a 13 number, or 10 digits for a 1300/1800 number, the call connects automatically. That is referred to as ‘over dial’. What happens is the extra digits just get discarded when the caller dials your phone word.

Zintel provides ‘over dial’ but check if your carrier has this facility.

Well known phone words in Australian business

There are hundreds of examples of enduring phone words used by prominent Australian businesses that have extracted huge consumer mileage with catchy numbers.

Here are a few that come to mind instantly:

13AAMI for AAMI Insurance; 13BANK for National Australia Bank; 1300QANTAS for Qantas airlines; 1300PRIMUS for Primus Telecom; 1800HOLDEN for Holden cars; 1800STORAGE for Storage King.

Why choose Zintel?

Zintel is Australia’s leading provider of inbound telecommunication services for corporate business. It provides key services to some of Australia’s biggest businesses and has been recognised for innovation by the likes of SmartCompany, Deloitte, BRW and AIM.

Getting a phone word is a simple task – give us a call on 1800 946 835 and our team will work with you to develop the phone word that is right for your business.