Numbering Systems in Australia: E.164 vs 0-NDC-SN

You’ll often see numbers listed in different formats, which often leads to confusion.

Australian SIP networks may format numbers in either 0NDC-SN or E.164 format, leading some confusion. There’s no “correct” way, ACMA format in 0-NDC-SN, while most Australian tier 1 carriers store the records in E.164 format.

There’s no clear standard, so it’s always best to ask.

Let’s say my number is in Melbourne and is 9123 4567,

This could be expressed in Subscriber Number (SN) format:

9123 4567

The problem is a caller from Perth calling that number wouldn’t get through to me, there’s a good chance they’d get a totally unrelated business.

To stop this we can add the National Destination Code (NDC), for Victoria / Tasmania this is 3, however when dialling domestically a 0 is prefixed.

The leading 0 is a carry over from the days of step-by-step based switching, which had technical and physical design constraints that dictated the dialling plan we see today, which I’ll do a post about another day.

So to put it in 0-NDC-S format we’d list

03 9123 4567

But an international caller wouldn’t be able to reach this from their home country, they’d need to add the Country Code (CC) which for Australia is 61, so they’d dial the CC-NDC-SN

So they’d dial 61 3 9123 4567

This formatting is called E.164, defined by the ITU in The international public telecommunication numbering plan,

Sometimes this is listed with the plus symbol in front of it, like

+61 3 9123 4567

Each country has it’s own international dialling prefix, and the plus symbol is to be replaced by the international dialling prefix used in the calling country. In Australia, we replace the + with 0011, but it’s different from country to country.

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