How does toll free telephone service work?

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 800 numbers are decreasing while demand is growing at unprecedented rates.

A toll free number forward to, or rings, at any local number and on any phone. It does not require a special set-up of installation of any kind. There are four toll free pre-fixes, 800, 888, 877, and 866, and they all work the same way. Calls to these numbers are charged to the subscriber, not to the caller. Vanity numbers spell a word or phrase that relates to the business.

Available numbers are managed through a database maintained by the 800 Services Management System (SMS/800). Service providers assign and reserve numbers off the database for their customers on a first-come, first-served basis. To get started, subscribers simply contact a service provider such as the ones we list on our site and find a suitable vanity number or numerical sequence, then sign on for service.

When choosing toll free service, subscribers typically can select from a menu of services—calls routed to land lines, faxes, emails etc. and a variety of other features that suit their needs and their budget. Once a number is assigned, it stays with the owner permanently. If a company grows or moves locations, the numbers remains, safeguarding the connection to all their customers.

According to the FCC, toll free numbers are becoming increasingly popular for business and personal use. Toll free numbers increase market reach, enhance customer confidence, establish recognition of brand image, and sustain businesses during times of a weak economy.

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.

Industry insiders are looking ahead to the release of the 855 numbers reserved by the FCC. However, the launch of these numbers is not expected anytime soon and experts advise that anyone looking for toll free service should sign on now. Waiting for the “perfect” toll free number is a mistake. Dwindling stock and increase demand is creating a competitive market for 800 numbers.


51 Responses

  1. how can i get toll free phone service

  2. yeah where is the best place to get service?

  3. Any recommendations on where we can obtain more information on this

  4. yeah where is the best place to get service?

  5. I got my service through ATT

  6. Great advice

  7. Any recommendations on where we can obtain more information on this

  8. Any recommendations on where we can obtain more information on this

  9. Good article it answered my question

  10. how can i get toll free phone service

  11. good point

  12. good point

  13. good point

  14. Pressure makes diamonds.

  15. It’s good to be clever, but not to show it.

  16. Aim Low, Reach Your Goals, Avoid Disappointment.

  17. You never lose by loving. You always lose by holding back.

  18. Someone needs to record it for the rest of us…

  19. how long will it take before the NSA starts using this, no more calling from phone booths, to hide your number

  20. HELLO – Sprint has starting doing this ages ago!!!!!!!!! With success!

  21. Teamwork…means never having to take all the blame yourself.

  22. my number 1. my debt collectors have been calling me alot lately

  23. So…lets all call the RIAA free 800# and then report minor piracy reports. Like things that can never be proven.

    Example: A friend of mine, I think he might have downloaded a copyrighted song at some point. His name? Tom Smith. I don’t know where he lives or anything. No I don’t know his phone number.

    Imagine them getting 20,000 of those calls.


    Is this weight watchers? No? Sorry wrong number.

  24. Winners never quit and quitters never win.

  25. very good

  26. This is great marketing. Can’t wait to see how it turns out.

  27. Speak softly and carry a big stick, you will go far.

  28. interesting article. much appreciated

  29. If Sallie Mae stops calling me by using #1… I will be lonely cause no one else calls me 😦 I refer to “Sallie” as my girlfriend… God, im pathetic..

  30. The hardest thing in the world to understand is the laws

  31. When in doubt, consult your inner child if it doesn’t come naturally, leave it.

  32. Nice, now we need a toll free number that forwards to other numbers in the US!

  33. Without a rich heart, wealth is an ugly beggar.

  34. very insightful

  35. Like a welcome summer rain, humor may suddenly cleanse and cool the earth, the air and you.

  36. Try not to become a man of success but rather to become a man of value.

  37. A friend is someone who has the same enemies you have.

  38. Money can’t buy you happiness, but it does bring you a more pleasant form of misery.

  39. A wise man does not need advice and a fool won’t take it.

  40. very insightful

  41. Wow, that google 411 thing almost seems to good to be true. Free 411, sure. Connecting you for free? Sweet!

  42. A conclusion is simply the place where you got tired of thinking.

  43. Be nice to your kids . . . they’ll be the ones choosing your nursing home.

  44. […] more here. Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)Despite Efforts, 1-800 Supply Continues to […]

  45. […] New Toll Free Area Codes Posted on December 27, 2010 by smsgov You’ve decided to get a new toll free number for personal or business use and, alas, the number it took you three hours to think of is already being used by someone else – what to do? Luckily, a new toll free area code may soon be the wave of the future – get ready to make that reservation! The (855) is the next scheduled area code to come out and people are lining up to get first choice. Learn how you can be the first in line for your number of choice here. […]

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