There are plenty of reasons you might want a little bit of extra protection when handing out your mobile number. Once, you might have even gotten a second phone for temporary contacts, business deals or “business” deals, but now, all you need is Burner.
The original plan behind Burner was to allow users to ditch numbers as quickly as they could create them, using them for one-off communications instead of paying up for secondary phones. That type of usage might conjure up an image of your favourite drug dealer or your favourite drug dealer TV show, but Burner actually focuses on inviting users with more long-term (legal) needs.
Burner’s case studies and outspoken fans cross a wide range of people, industries and reasons to need a burnable number. Think teachers avoiding prank calls, individuals selling goods on Craigslist, police officers protecting their personal lives while remaining available during open investigations. Burner appeals to anyone looking to create some separation between professional and private communications, whether for security, anonymity or both.
“With the internet, people have become accustomed to having multiple names, pseudonymous characters, and multiple points of contact they can distribute and eliminate as needed. But with phones most people are still stuck with this monolithic number they need to use for work, family, and recreation. It doesn’t make any sense”, says Greg Cohn.
Users can create as many new numbers as they want, and burn them with one quick tap from the app itself. Your first Burner comes with your free app download, and it’s good for 7 days or 30 texts to see what you think. In-app purchases score you credits to buy new numbers that are measured in days, voicemails or number of texts. And when you’re done with a number, just burn it and it’s gone forever.
Credit packs range from 3 for US $1.99 to 25 for US $11.99, which means anywhere from AU $2.60 to AU $15.60 or so when your App store purchases processes the exchange rate.
Burner is available for Android and iOS, and it has already gotten plenty of attention since it launched a few years ago for users in the US and Canada. The news this month is of their Australian launch (and pending NZ launch), but functionality is considerably slimmer for Aussie users. You’ll only be able to create new numbers that are either American or Canadian, and you can only text or leave voicemails with other US or Canadian numbers.
If you’re keeping in touch with someone in the US or Canada, Burner may be cheaper than the international options in your mobile contract (as long as you don’t need voice calls). Australians buying or selling anything online from the US or Canada might want an easy burner number. If you happen to be conducting illicit or inappropriate business between those countries and Australia, also useful.
(Maybe don’t do that.)
But unfortunately, no luck for Aussies with more innocuous reasons to want a temporary, disposable number to use closer to home. Posting on Gumtree, and don’t want your real number visible to all the Internet? Met someone at a bar and not quite convinced they should have your real digits? While Burner is specifically handy to anyone with a stake in the US or Canada, Aussies miss out on some of the more subtle uses that make Burner so appealing.