We throw around words like “international toll free numbers” all the time, and sometimes we forgot that not everyone knows as much about them as we do.
Did you know that there are three different types of toll free numbers? Yes, three. Although they all have the same purpose — to allow your customers to call you, free of charge — there are some subtle differences.
The 3 Types of International Toll Free Numbers:
- Domestic Toll Free Numbers
- International Toll Free Numbers
- Universal International Freephone Numbers
In this article, we’re going to explain what they are, how they work, and how you can get ’em.
Domestic Toll Free Number
A domestic toll free number is a true “800 number” that can be called from anywhere in the country where it’s located, but it’s usually free of the some restrictions that may associate with ITFS numbers. For example, in some countries, it’s not possible to call an ITFS number from a mobile phone. Alternatively, there may be extra charges for calling from a pay phone or mobile phone. Domestic toll free numbers are usually free of these restrictions.
For example, in the United States or Canada, one kind of domestic toll free numbers starts with 800. As domestic toll free numbers grew in popularity, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) added more prefixes to the available inventory of domestic toll free numbers. Today, there are six toll free prefixes from which to choose: 800, 888, 877, 866, 855, and 844.
The person who calls a domestic toll free number must live in the United States or Canada, otherwise the call won’t be free. Toll free numbers can be called from a landline, computer (using VoIP), or mobile phone. Although it’s possible to call a toll free number from a mobile phone, some mobile phone providers will tack on additional charges for this type of call.
International Toll Free Number
International toll free numbers are country specific. This means that each country has its own toll free number, and it will only work within that specific country. For example, a call to a UK toll free number won’t be free unless the caller also lives in the UK. Just like domestic toll free numbers, international toll free numbers can also be called from a landline, computer (using VoIP), or mobile phone. It’s more common for mobile phone providers outside of the United States to charge additional fees or completely restrict calls made to toll free numbers.
Some countries, like China, have different toll free numbers that are mobile friendly. These numbers are specifically for callers using mobile phones.
- UK Toll Free Numbers – 0808, 0800, 0330, 0843, 0845, 0870
- China Toll Free Number – 10 800
- China Toll Free Number (mobile friendly) – 400
Because each country has a unique toll free number, the monthly charge and rate per minute will also vary by country.
Universal International Freephone Number (UIFN)
Universal international freephone numbers are similar to International toll free numbers except with UIFN numbers, one number can be used from multiple countries. UIFN numbers are currently available in 40 countries around the globe, and have to be registered in a minimum of two countries. Although there may be a slight difference in the prefixes for UIFN depending on the country, UIFN numbers are usually an eleven digit fixed format number. Mobile phone users may encounter fees or restrictions when calling a UIFN.
These numbers typically cost a little more than domestic or international toll free numbers.