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The Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) welcomes Telstra's initiative to make mobile phone calls to 1800 numbers free of charge for its customers three months before the ACMA proposed deadline of 1 January 2015. The telco announced the change in a blog post on the Telstra Exchange blog.

ACCAN has previously called for this change and is glad to see Telstra implementing it well before the deadline set by the ACMA.

"We're very happy to see that Telstra has made mobile phone calls to 1800 numbers free of charge and urge other telcos to follow suit as soon as possible," said ACCAN CEO Teresa Corbin. "This is a big win for consumers and one that ACCAN has been working for since 2010."

This initiative to make calls to 1800 numbers free of charge from mobiles is significant in Australia where we are seeing the number of fixed line services dropping each year and mobile phones becoming the preferred universal communications service.

"ACCAN encourages businesses and organisations to switch from using 13/1300 numbers to 1800 numbers so that all consumers can afford to call them," added Ms. Corbin. "This will also ensure that their services are more readily available to all consumers which makes good business sense."

Earlier this year, ACCAN stated that it would hold the industry to its commitments regarding 1800 and 13/1300 numbers. The 13/1300 number range was designed to provide low cost and easy to remember numbers for fixed line calls to government and businesses. These numbers have been adopted by many essential services like Centrelink and drug and alcohol services, which led ACCAN to voice its concerns over the affordability of these calls with ongoing confusion about how they are charged.

"Consumers should be aware of the costs of calling 13/1300 numbers from mobile phones as these calls can quickly chew through pre-paid mobile plans," said Ms. Corbin. "Those using pre-paid services, which are often favoured by low income consumers, should contact their providers to find out the cost of calling such numbers as this can vary widely from three cents/minute to up to $1.39/minute."

Those consumers wanting to know more about how to avoid charges from 13/1300 numbers should access ACCAN's tip sheet on the issue.

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Media contact: Luke Sutton, 0409 966 931 / 02 9288 4017 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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