What is a Toll Free Phone Number?

Toll-free numbers are phone numbers with particular space codes that may be dialed from landlines with no cost to the particular person inserting the decision. When calling from VoIP-based or cell phone, minutes-based prices nonetheless apply. Toll-free numbers can result in a devoted line or be routed by a forwarding service that directs the decision to 1 line, a number of strains, an answering service or a name middle.

The Historical past of Toll-Free Numbers

AT&T released the first toll-free number — starting with the prefix 800 — in 1967 as a straightforward approach for purchasers to name companies with out incurring prices. Previous to that, prospects needed to make acquire calls and could not be related till the enterprise receiving the decision agreed to pay the fees. The idea took off instantly, with greater than 7 million toll-free calls being positioned within the first 12 months alone. 25 years later in 1992, 40 % of calls made on AT&T's long-distance community had been made to toll-free numbers.

Competitors Breeds Growth

AT&T held a monopoly on all toll-free numbers, and infrequently charged exorbitant charges for his or her buy. This meant that solely large firms with large telecom sources might afford toll-free numbers — till 1984. That 12 months, a federal decide broke the "Ma Bell" monopoly with a ruling that splintered AT&T into many smaller, regional networks. This introduced new competitors, and dramatically decreased charges for toll-free numbers. All of a sudden, tiny companies with a sole proprietor might have the identical form of telephone numbers as Fortune 500 firms.

New Prefixes

As demand grew with the scale of the nation's inhabitants, the FCC created eight million new toll-free numbers in 1996 with the addition of the 888 prefix. Two years later in 1998, the 877 space code was launched. The 866 prefix got here out in 2000. It took one other decade for the discharge of the 855 space code in 2010, and in December of 2013, 844 numbers had been launched. Anticipating further demand, the FCC has reserved for future enlargement the realm codes 833, 822, 880-887, and 889.