U.S. Supply of 1-800 Numbers Running Low

Experts warn that the U.S. supply of available 1-800 numbers, dwindling for years, is now nearly depleted.

Toll free numbers enable callers to reach businesses, organizations, and non-profits without having to pay for the call. This marketing tool has been so successful that the available 1-800, 888, 877, and 866 numbers are decreasing while demand is growing at unprecedented rates.

The popularity of the 1-800 number, launched in 1967, led the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to add the new pre-fixes 888 and 877 in the mid-1990s. When availability of those numbers plummeted, 866 was added in 2000 to overcome the shortage. Now, eight years later, the stock of toll free numbers in the United States is once again severely limited.

Industry insiders are recommending that anyone wishing to obtain a toll free number secure one immediately. There are an average of 8,000 new toll free numbers registered each day. With a limited number of numerical possibilities, the finite supply is nearly expended.

There are no immediate plans to add another toll free pre-fix. In fact, the reserved 855 pre-fix is not expected to be released for several years. Meanwhile, toll free phone numbers have become a staple of the business world and demand is consistently rising.

According to the FCC, toll free numbers are becoming increasingly popular for business and personal use. The supply of disconnected numbers is low because 800 numbers are extremely effective in helping businesses thrive. Toll free numbers increase market reach, enhance customer confidence, establish recognition of brand image, and sustain businesses during a weak economy. Because businesses that offer 1-800 numbers prosper, disconnected numbers returned into the system are scarce.

The best way to obtain a toll free number before supply runs out completely is to contact a reliable toll free service provider that has access to the database of available numbers. On the SMSGOV.COM “companies” page, we list providers that will assist subscribers in finding a quality toll free number at a very low cost. Until a new pre-fix is launched, which could take years, it appears the race is on to secure the remaining numbers.

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Toll Free 855 Numbers Will Not Yet Be Released

Widespread concerns about the dwindling supply of toll free numbers may not be addressed anytime soon. According to sources at the 800 Service Management System (SMS/800) the reserved 855 pre-fix, intended to restore stocks of toll free numbers, may not be released by the Federal Communications Commission for several years. In fact, industry insiders say the release of 855 may be put off until 2011.

To overcome shortages of 1-800 numbers in the past, 888 and 877 were introduced in 1996 and 1998 respectively. Then, in 2000 the 866 numbers debuted. But toll free numbers have become such a valuable commodity that the stock is once again depleted. With an estimated five year wait before another new pre-fix is added, experts advise that obtaining a number immediately is essential.

The value of a 1-800 number has become a necessity for any business. Toll free numbers allow callers to reach businesses, organizations and even friends and relatives without being charged for the call. A toll free number lends credibility to any business, enhances customer service, and increases customer confidence. There are no additional installations needed for a 1-800 number and the calls can be routed to any cell phone, landline, or fax. Studies show that sales can double and word of mouth referrals can increase by as much as 200% making toll free service indispensible for business.

With several million new toll free numbers registered each year, the supply of toll free numbers is quickly depleting. The scarcity is causing a rush to obtain new toll free numbers or to register for disconnected numbers returned back to the system. Experts say this type of intense demand can lead to price-gouging and unethical hidden fees. The safest and most cost effective way to secure a toll free number is to contact a reputable service provider such as the one we list on our COMPANIES page at SMSGOV.COM.

Once someone obtains a toll free number, they can retain it permanently. The number is portable and moves with the household, organization, or company. With the finite supply of 1-800 numbers diminishing and new numbers not expected to be introduced for several years, experts advise that anyone interested in a toll free phone number should get one immediately.

Toll Free 1-800 Number Supply Reaches An All-Time Low

An unprecedented decrease in the availability of 1-800 numbers has business owners and organizations nationwide scrambling to subscribe for toll free service.

With more than 8,000 toll free numbers registered each day, the supply of available numbers is quickly depleting. This scarcity is causing a rush to obtain new toll free numbers or obtain disconnected numbers returned back to the system.

Toll free numbers were introduced in 1967. By the 1980s, nearly half of all long distance calls would be toll free. Today, 98 percent of adults say they regularly use toll free numbers. Meanwhile, the supply of 800, 888, 877, and 866 numbers are at an all-time low. More than two-thirds of the available numbers are taken and there are no immediate plans by the Federal Communications Commission to introduce a new pre-fix.

According to the FCC, toll free numbers “have proven successful for businesses and are increasingly popular for personal use.” Toll free phone numbers give companies an edge over the competition by allowing customers to call for information on a product or service without being charged. This type of personal service is key to a successful business. The ability to speak to a company representative about the product, shipping options and availability of the item provides a sense of security in the product and lends legitimacy to the business.

But the limited availability of toll free numbers could have an impact on small business owners. The supply is the lowest it has ever been, while popularity of 1-800 numbers is soaring. Insiders fear that customers waiting to secure a toll free 1-800 number or vanity number may find the supply of suitable numbers gone.

Experts say the demand drastically outweighs supply and advise that the only way to guarantee obtaining a toll free number is to get one immediately.

When a 1-800 number is disconnected and cooled-off, it is returned to the database and becomes instantly in demand. Waiting for a “perfect” retired number is a mistake. Only a small percentage of used numbers become available each year; and new unused numbers are going fast. The most cost effective and efficient way to secure a toll free number is to contact a reputable service provider such as the ones listed on https://smsgov.com/companies/ for example. With these types of services, securing a number can be completed by phone or on the website in just minutes.

Black Market: Toll Free Phone Number Brokering

As with any commodity in high demand, a black market for toll free numbers has emerged in the United States, sending regulators scrambling to control the illegal sales of valuable 800 numbers.

With toll free service soaring in popularity while finite supplies of available numbers drop, attempts to illegally buy and sell choice numbers on the black market is increasing.

According to regulations enacted on April 11, 1997 by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) toll free phone numbers cannot be sold or brokered. These rules were approved after the FCC fielded numerous complaints about price gouging for catchy vanity numbers and popular numeric sequences.

The FCC reports that anyone caught attempting to sell or broker an 800 number faces significant fines. But that hasn’t stopped brokers from attempting to sell numbers on Internet websites and auction sites such as eBay.

As “public resources” that cannot be bought or sold, the FCC deemed the practice of selling specific vanity numbers or numerical sequences illegal. Opponents say this practice hurts the industry because it limits the best use and most practical assignments of specific numbers. Still, the FCC has held fast, cracking down on illegal sales and regulating the assignment of numbers on a first-come, first –served basis from the main database of available numbers maintained by 800 Services Management System (SMS/800).

In 2005, the FCC yanked control of 1-800-Red-Cross from a private California business owner who was leasing the use of the number to local chapters of the Red Cross. When the charity filed a formal complaint, the FCC determined that the brokering was illegal and handed over control of the number to the non-profit.

The attempts to profit from the illegal sale of 800, 888, 877, and 866 numbers are in response to rapidly dwindling supplies. Experts advise anyone interested in obtaining an 800 number should legally obtain a toll free number through a a reputable service provider.

Black Market: Toll Free Phone Number Hoarding

To overcome severe shortages of available 800, 888, 877, and 866 numbers, hoarding of these cherished phone numbers by toll free providers, and also by individual subscribers, has emerged into an unwelcome black market.

Under rules established in 1997 by the Federal Communications Commission, toll-free service providers cannot reserve a toll-free number without having an actual toll-free subscriber for whom the number is being reserved. By law, available numbers must be doled out on a first-come, first served basis off the main database maintained by the 800 Service Management System (SMS/800).

Hoarding by individual subscribers is likewise illegal. A subscriber may not acquire more toll-free numbers than they intend to use. By FCC definition, “hoarding” also includes “brokering” –the illegal lease or sale of toll-free numbers for a fee.

The FCC began investigating hoarding of 800 numbers as far back as 1995, but despite the subsequent release of 888, 877, and 866 pre-fixes, the practice continues to grow along with the skyrocketing popularity of toll free service. The FCC has the 855 pre-fix reserved to alleviate the shortage but has not yet announced plans to release those numbers.

Concern about the diminishing stock of 800 numbers is creating an even higher demand for toll free service, a marketing tool that the FCC says is “proven” to increase business. Studies show that telephone orders can increase up to 60 percent and word of mouth referrals can rise by 200 percent if a toll free number is advertised.

If the FCC discovers illegal hoarding, they immediately send out disconnect and suspend letters to the owner of the numbers. Additionally, the brokering of toll free numbers can result in hefty fines.

Toll Free Costs – What to expect.

Toll free phone service has become an affordable and reliable option that offers customers countless features and price points to meet their individual needs.

Subscribers will never encounter any surprise costs and hidden fees with toll free numbers obtained through a reputable service provider. Subscribers can choose from a list of specific services and products not available through regular phone service. With toll free service, they never pay for options they don’t need and won’t use.

Subscribers to toll free service have a distinct advantage because they retain ownership of their 800 number permanently. The service and number goes with them if they move and expand their business, and the cost is dependent on the specific services used. Subscribers simply sign up for service and choose the precise features they need.

If a business or company expands, their toll free service options can grow along with them.

Once cost prohibitive for small businesses or personal use, toll free service has now become affordable and easy to obtain. Experts say that most consumers recognize that the advantages of 1-800 numbers far outweigh standard local phone service.

A toll free number lends credibility to any business, enhances customer service, and increases customer confidence. There are no additional installations needed for a 1-800 number and the calls can be routed to any cell phone, landline, or fax. Studies show that sales can double and word of mouth referrals can increase by as much as 200% making toll free service an affordable and indispensable tool for any type of business.

With several million new toll free numbers registered each year, the supply is quickly depleting. The scarcity is causing a rush to obtain new toll free numbers or to register for disconnected numbers returned back to the system. Experts say the safest and most cost effective way to secure a toll free number is to contact a reputable service provider such as the ones we list here