Owners of Unused 1-800 Numbers Urged to Relieve Demand

With the availability of new 1-800 numbers rapidly declining as demand for toll free service skyrockets, industry insiders are urging the owners of unused toll free numbers to release them back into the system.

Experts say if the database of numbers isn’t beefed up soon, the finite supply of toll free numbers could run out. It is estimated that 8,000 numbers are registered each day.

The value of toll free service has become a necessity for any business. The limited availability of new numbers and the limited turnover of used numbers have created an intense and competitive demand for 1-800, 888, 877 and 866 numbers. According to the FCC, popularity of toll free service is increasing for both business and personal use.

When an 800 number is disconnected, it goes into what is referred to as the aging process. At some point it becomes available on the 800 Service Management System (SMS/800) database. Then the race is on to obtain it.

The demand for retired numbers is so great that some companies are charging subscribers thousands of dollars to reserve one. Industry experts say that turnover of claimed numbers is minimal because toll free service is so effective and profitable that businesses, organizations, and non-profits who secure an 800 number tend to keep it.

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. Yet, the supply of 800 numbers, including vanity numbers, is at an all-time low with more than two-thirds of the available numbers taken. There are no immediate plans by the FCC to introduce a new pre-fix. In fact, insiders say the reserved 855 numbers may not be launched until 2011.

Advisors say the best way to obtain a toll free number before the supply runs out is to use a reliable toll free service provider that has access to the database of available numbers.

62 Responses

  1. I know some people in the industry that have been contacted about giving up there unused toll free numbers

  2. 2000 numbers were released

  3. over 100,000 new numbers were released not too long ago

  4. all of the numbers that were released were taken almost right away

  5. we\’re still losing numbers at an alarming pace

  6. this can not continue forever

  7. this is a problem

  8. legislation may be due soon to help regulate

  9. people are still releasing numbers. Thanks

  10. that is nice of them

  11. With so few 1-800\’s left the unused ones should be released ASAP for businesses needing one.

  12. 2011 for 855 numbers? I searched at chooseanumber.com and found some pretty cool numbers under 888…

  13. Great info! I\’m glad I read this before getting a toll free number – thanks!

  14. Likewise… I\’m racing to obtain a certain toll free number myself.

  15. My toll free for my business really draws in a lot of business. I 100% recommend a toll free 🙂

  16. I\’ve heard about this before. I read in The New Yorker an article that projected that by 2011 all toll free numbers could be taken if a new area code isn\’t opened up. That\’s a scary prospect for the small businessmen of today\’s world. I\’m not worried though, I got mine a couple years ago. You gotta strike while the irons hot and it doesn\’t get much hotter than this.

  17. Good luck getting some of these guys to release numbers. I think they\’re trying to profit by jacking up prices as demand increases. Until legislation is passed all we can do is go with the few reputable companies out there.

  18. good point

  19. All it says is “For stimulating conversation call this number”, and then it hangs up on you.

  20. nice

  21. well said

  22. 1-800-I-love-brand-new-carpet

  23. I am so clever that sometimes I don’t understand a single word of what I am saying.

  24. If you want truly to understand something, try to change it.

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

  26. If you’re not very clever you should be conciliatory.

  27. 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..

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

  29. This whole article is based on an incorrect assumption — that all calls cost the same. The huge majority of people have regular home phones, which do not have any sort of “all numbers are the same” plan. On top of that, not all mobile phone plans are the same. I’m a heavy mobile user, but my plan doesn’t have any special “all numbers are the same” plan, because the majority of my calls are local. The only thing that will kill 800 numbers, I think, is the end of the local/long distance distinction, which may happen, but not for the reasons the article lists.

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

  31. Anything similar for the uk?

  32. It’s faith in something and enthusiasm for something that makes life worth living.

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

  34. well said

  35. That’s the secret to life… replace one worry with another…

  36. Just keep trying it only took me about 7 tries to get through.

  37. Wisdom begins in wonder.

  38. interesting article. much appreciated

  39. I guess next we will have to hack the gibson.

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

  41. They have to be clever, cunning, imaginative, dogged and wily, whereas society merely has to lean its weight a little.

  42. That’s the secret to life… replace one worry with another…

  43. well said

  44. The world belongs to the enthusiast who keeps cool.

  45. God is clever, but not dishonest.

  46. very good

  47. 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..

  48. Noo, I can’t dial 1-800-MYLEMON!!!

  49. “Please hold while your call if forwarded to our customer service department in India”… ***** ***** ***** *****!!! ‘ello dis is Dakshesh how may I assist you? Hahahaaa….. can’t wait to try that one!! Then I can get out my cursing before the call, great! Who knew?

  50. Two things are infinite : the universe and human stupidity; I’m not sure about the universe.

  51. My PDF Download extension works fine with FFx 1.5

  52. Always forgive your enemies, but never forget their names.

  53. All it says is “For stimulating conversation call this number”, and then it hangs up on you.

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

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

  56. […] more here. Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)Business Toll Free Number ServiceTemporary Phone […]

  57. […] January 29, 2010 · Leave a Comment If you have a toll free number that you are not using, you may soon be asked to give that number up for someone who may get more use out of it. Of course, many people don’t want to do this and are trying to urge the government to release new area codes instead. What would you vote for? […]

  58. […] Premature Toll Free Aging? Posted on December 14, 2010 by smsgov When an 800 number is disconnected, it goes into what is referred to as the aging process. At some point it becomes available on the 800 Service Management System (SMS/800) database. Then the race is on to obtain it. Many people wish to get toll free numbers that aren’t properly aged. If you are one of those people, read more here. […]

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