International Toll Free Numbers
Your quick, convenient guide to toll free phone numbers. Learn how international toll free numbers work, how to dial toll free numbers internationally, how much international toll free numbers cost, and much more.
What is a Toll Free Number?
A toll free number is a country-specific phone line that allows callers within a country to call your business without being charged for the time they spend on the phone. They have distinct, recognizable dial-codes that vary internationally but usually include an 8 as one of the first two digits (ex. 800, 1800, 0800, 0808, etc.).Depending on the country, these numbers are also known as freephone, freedial, hotline, or 800 numbers.
In most cases, no. Toll free phone numbers are country-specific. Individual countries have their own set of coverage, restrictions, and accessibility rules associated with toll free numbers. Each country has its own dialing format for toll free numbers, too.
International toll free numbers get their name from their most common use-case, which is forwarding calls made from callers in one country to one or multiple locations abroad. Toll free phone numbers are not guaranteed to work when dialed from abroad. If an international caller is able to connect, they should expect to pay long-distance or international call rates associated with their personal phone service.
Yes you can! Companies looking to use a single toll free number globally can set up a universal international freephone number. But be warned, this is not as simple as it sounds. In fact, UIFNs come with many stipulations and add-on costs that make most companies reconsider their plan of attack.
UIFNs are toll free numbers that can be dialed toll free from as many as 50 countries. Unlike international toll free numbers, UIFNs are regulated by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). This matters to you because:
The ITU charges vendors a $200 setup fee per UIFN.
The ITU only covers a few dozen countries, so UIFN’s aren’t truly “universal.”
UIFN’s require an international code before the number itself in order to connect. This code is different in each country, and the number format often confuses potential callers.
Your UIFN only works in the countries you are paying a subscription for. These subscriptions are often more expensive than just buying a dedicated toll free number in that country.
For more information about universal toll free numbers and popular alternatives being used by businesses like yours, check out global phone number options and alternatives.
That depends on your use-case! More often than not, an international toll free number will be easier to remember and more professional looking than local dial-codes being used for your business. More importantly, local call charges can be very expensive for callers in other countries (looking at you UAE). Here are some examples to consider:
In the US and Canada, callers no longer have to worry about long-distance charges, so which number type you use may just be a matter of preference.
If you want your international company to appear more localized in certain markets, choosing a local area code phone number for your business is a great choice.
In countries like Australia and the UK, non-geographic numbers are also popular for businesses. For example, many nonprofits and government agencies in the UK use non-geographic 03 numbers and companies expanding in Australia may opt for shared-cost 1300 numbers rather than toll free 1800 numbers.
For more examples and scenarios to consider, check out toll free vs local phone numbers.
Toll free number porting
Virtual number porting, also known as number transfer, is a system that allows the end-users to keep their existing toll free number while switching from one provider to another.
While the requirements to transfer toll free phone numbers are individual to each country, in most cases you will need some combination of the following to start a toll free number port:
Letter of Authorization: This allows a new carrier to reach out to your current carrier and begin the number porting process
Proof of Ownership: Provide proof of ownership by sending a copy of an invoice that associates your number, name, and billing address.
Number Porting Form: This additional form is sometimes required to port international numbers. This is not required to port US or Canadian phone numbers.
Once these items are taken care of, the transfer can begin by getting your current toll free number released from your provider by providing appropriate documentation to the old provider, the new provider, and the regulatory
If it’s in the US or Canada, yes. The FCC requires this of all vendors. If it’s an international toll free from another country, it depends who you ask. Many providers will say no when it’s actually possible. That’s not because they’re being honest - international telecom is tricky and they probably don’t know!
AVOXI specializes in international number porting. If you’re unsure that your number is transferable, checking their toll free number portability table is a great place to start.
This depends on the provider. Unfortunately, many providers charge a fee to port your number into their network, and even more providers charge a fee before they release your number. Fortunately, there’s no reason porting your international toll free numbers should cost you anything. This is another reason we recommend AVOXI’s toll free transfer service - the company does not charge to port your numbers in or out of their network. Make sure you ask about their porting deals - they are happy to give you a month of toll free calling for free when you transfer a qualified toll free number to their network.
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Callforwarding.com compares the top VoIP services around the world in order to connect our readers to the best provider for their needs. With this goal in mind, Callforwarding.com has partnered with AVOXI, one of the top providers of toll free phone numbers worldwide. The reasons we endorse AVOXI's business phone services include:
- Customers can buy local and toll free phone numbers online and start taking calls within minutes
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For more details about their service plans, visit their dedicated service page: Virtual Phone Numbers
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