Proposed Rationing Of Toll-free Phone Numbers.

The stock of available toll free numbers is now so depleted that insiders say government agencies may implement another rationing of the 800, 888, 877, and 866 pre-fixes within months. Rumors of a rationing program have subscribers scrambling to obtain numbers, creating an even more limited supply.

The federal government rationed coveted 800 numbers in 1995 until the new 888 pre-fix was introduced a year later. But the U.S. supply of available 1-800 numbers, dwindling for years, is again 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 numbers are decreasing while demand is growing at unprecedented rates.

The force behind the demand for toll-free numbers is not only the traditional business use: a growing market is comprised of residential customers. If rationing is implemented, obtaining a new toll free number will be more difficult than ever before.

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. Since then, there have been no new pre-fixes introduced and supplies are rapidly shrinking.

There are no immediate plans to add another toll free pre-fix. In fact, the reserved 855 pre-fix numbers are 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.

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 but numbers can safely and rapidly be obtained through providers such as AT&T, Verizon, or Qwest.

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76 Responses

  1. oh boy – not good

  2. wht is the estimate time that this will last?

  3. How is this going to affect me as a subscriber?

  4. Current toll free accounts will probably not be affected in any way, but people that try to get new numbers may be delayed it sounds like

  5. 1800 numbers are just for America is this pertinent only in the USA or does it affect 0800 numbers too

  6. i am from india and it is very difficult to get a free number from our mainline phone company. the price and wait time make it more inconvenient than simple.

  7. psshh, Figures.

  8. What can be done about this?

  9. Im not sure if we can take this seriously. For all we know its more talk to jack up prices.

  10. I don’t think so. I just bought a vanity 888 number to go with my company’s name. It’s not so much because it is toll free, it is because it is a little more professional to give out an easy to remember number than just any old regional number.

  11. Okay, I remember a trick back in high school that someone taught me but I’ve since forgot. They would pick up the phone, dial a number, and hang up the receiver a couple times. Several seconds later, the phone would ring continuously until someone picked it up. But there was no one on the other line. Anyone remember/know how to do that?

  12. The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.

  13. Between thought and expression lies a lifetime.

  14. How do you use the free service

  15. 800s are really popular . I tried to advertise my biz in a biz magazine and they denied me bc I didn’t have a tollfree! I’m going to get one today though.

  16. Is it true that peeps are using tool free numbers for personal use too?

  17. Years???? I want an 855 now!

  18. Can a person buy a toll free number from someone else that already owns one?

  19. I want to be in on this!

  20. There is so much to know in business!

  21. Can anyone recommend a good provider who has good service and can find a good toll-free?

  22. I thought, people aren’t scrambling for toll frees. But when I looked in to it they really are! I wanted something specific and everything I was searching was taken already! Dang!

  23. I want to meet these “industry insiders”.

  24. Uh! AT&T is so expensive. Does anyone know an alternative to the big-wig gurus who want to charge the pants off us?

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

  26. 1-800-I-love-brand-new-carpet

  27. Nothing shows a man’s character more than what he laughs at.

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

  29. Sports do not build character. They reveal it.

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

  31. Speaking of financial institutions, State Farm Insurance/Bank has been using a voice authentication for about 2 years now. Their system has you repeat about 8 numbers back to it before you can use the telephone teller. I can honestly say that I have had less problems with their system than any other voice recognition/speaker recognition system.

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

  33. nice

  34. Phone call for Al…Al Coholic…is there an Al Coholic here?
    Wait a minute…
    Listen, you little yellow-bellied rat jackass, if I ever find out who you are, I’m gonna kill you!

  35. To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.

  36. good point

  37. It was about time! This is good news! Hopefully they’ll do the same with the others

  38. Remember that time is money.

  39. interesting article. much appreciated

  40. Speaking of financial institutions, State Farm Insurance/Bank has been using a voice authentication for about 2 years now. Their system has you repeat about 8 numbers back to it before you can use the telephone teller. I can honestly say that I have had less problems with their system than any other voice recognition/speaker recognition system.

  41. well said

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

  43. 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.

  44. American Idol is gonna be a lot worse now…

  45. Patience is not a virtue, it is a waste of time.

  46. Anything similar for the uk?

  47. Why is abbreviation such a long word ?

  48. […] more here. Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)A Toll-Free Number Improves BusinessStart or […]

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  50. […] more here. Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)Prospective Rationing Of Toll-free Phone Numbers […]

  51. […] It’s Up to You Posted on December 1, 2010 by smsgov The force behind the demand for toll-free numbers is not only the traditional business use: a growing market is comprised of residential customers. If rationing is implemented, obtaining a new toll free number will be more difficult than ever before. Read more here. […]

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