What is Toll free and How does it function and Apply for it

toll free number


What is the first thought when you hear the word Toll Free? We know the questions may be somewhat like

a) what does toll-free mean

b) what is its use and why to use it and so on.

The toll-free service is a service which is chargeable to the contacted or billing party. The charges of the call are paid later by the service subscriber. The toll-free services are completely free to the person calling on the free call number. In addition to that, an individual is able to establish a contact the service provider on toll-free number irrespective of him being from operator services. This means that the individual number belonging to any service carrier can contact on the toll-free number. For instance, the number would look somewhat like 1800-XER-XYZ.

What is a toll-free number?

A free phone number is better known as the toll-free number. Besides being known and called a toll free number it is not a free number. For the customers who call it will be free for them. But the owner of the toll-free number or the organization owning the free phone number needs to pay for incoming calls.

Hence this means calling upon the free phone number does not cost a single dime to the caller trying to contact the particular organization. A free call, free phone or toll-free number is acknowledged by adding a prefix which is identical to an area code 888. However, these specific numbers differ from one country to another.

A short backlog of Toll-Free numbers

The functionality and features of toll-free services have enhanced right from telephone-based networks to electro-mechanical switching to full automatic program based and controlled network. However, the unique thing about the toll-free numbers is the customer’s calls are directed to the telephone operator as a collect call.

The operator then needs to authorize the taking of charges along with a distant number right before completion of the call. Some of the MNCs and giants including the authority offices obtained a huge number of so-called collect calls. This hence resulted in a major chunk of time consumption of telephone operators

Long Distant Toll-Free Structure

Long before the advancement of the modern toll-free helping hand, most of the telephone operators or telephone service providers assured an old-style call free service. A good example of operator facilitated toll-free calling incorporates the Zenith number which emerged in the mid-1900s. It was launched in the United States and Canada along with the authentic conventional “Free call service” which was later introduced by the English Post Office in the 1960s. Both the calling systems were identical in nature.

However, right before the birth of InWATS free-phone service along the Bell System dated May 2 year 19767. The 800 number services by England Telecom in November mid-1980s. The conventional ringing structure in the standard manner to make a toll-free call. This continued after the fully automatic systems were introduced and installed for supporting the toll-free number.

The First Direct-Dial Structure

A mechanical call free service was brought to the market for the first time by AT&T in the mid-1960s. To be precise in 1966 in United States Intrastate and in 19767 United States Interstate. It was introduced as a substitute to operator-assisted collect dialing. The manual “Enterprise” or “Zenith” numbers were one of that kind that used to function on operator assisted collect calling. The InWATS which is also known as Inward Wide Area Telephone Service permits calls to be done irrespective of the place already outlined area by adding a prefix of 1-800 followed by the seven digit number.

How does this structure function?

The system, in the beginning, extended no hand to help for automated number identification. Also in the initial stage, it failed to support the detailed list of calls, in place of the subscribers’ requirement in going for very costly fixed rate lines. Apart from that, the other things which were troublesome were spending some countable hours of an incoming call from one of the multiple US bands.

Then the rival companies were permitted to have a competition with AT&T in accomplishing called free services. The service provider used to provide the three-digit number which was able to replace the 1800 series with 3 digits 800 services. These 3 digits free call service was a prefix which was later linked with an already determined destination 877 area code and carrier. The three-digit number in itself is connected to the predefined telephone trunk groups and switching offices. Later to that all the calls were redirected to a centralized destination. However, there was no other way out to channel the free call to some other country. As the free call number is 877 toll-free.

Limitations of the Direct Dial System

The Direct Dial system was comparably very expensive. Also, the Direct Dial system was also challenged with long distant calls. However for the small and medium enterprises (SME) segment who used to receive a large number of calls. This heavy flow of calls was creating a load on the system that used to manage the free call services.  This Direct Dial system was rather very costly.

The Automated Contemporary Direct Dial System

The contemporary free call service became available when the telecom carriers changed their respective electromechanical switching systems with the automated switching system. This modern switching system used to permit the toll-free calls to be channelled following the guidelines in the centralized databases.

The AT&T in the United States patented a Database for call processing method which was later implemented by AT&T itself in the early 1980s. The call attempted on the number acts as a content table into a database. As permitting a Toll-free call or an 800 number service to be channelled anywhere.

This functionality of and other developments made it more tangible which led to AT&T marketing specialist to come up with something new and innovative. The toll-free service for the small and medium-sized professional and some high-end customers on a country-wide scale.

As this service was deployed and made available to the customers, it enabled the small organizations to attain prospect customers to get in contact for free of cost once when long distance calls were costly. Until this specified timeframe the 800 number service was made available only to the giants which able to list themselves under the 500 Fortune Organizations. The backlog of the Modern Direct Dialing System states the “Linking” on 12th November 1985. Hence there was no further need of conventionally ring the operator.  However, 2 new prefixes 0800 and 0345 rates representing and serving could possibly be reached with the medium of a direct dial. The mediums of wireless and wired preferred to stick to 0500 and 0645 in a similar way a few later to that.

Vanity/Special Numbers

A free call number better is known as the toll-free number of vanity number subtype of toll-free numbers. While making it sound more comforting to the ears, it may be explained as those type of numbers which could be remembered easily.

As these vanity toll-free numbers hold a special or unique pattern of being flashed on the mobile screens. The easy to remember and recognize a pattern is the USP of such numbers. An easy to recall toll-free number is seen as a branding and a response/revert tool for business promotion. While back in the United States the federal communication commissioner regulation made it compulsory that those numbers need to be channelled at the first attempt.

However, these vanity numbers are the ones that are needed to be registered at the RespOrgs. Along with a mighty leverage in acquiring the highest valuable and premium phone words which related to keywords. As they have early access to fresh disconnected numbers along with the newly introduced toll-free area code 877.

Therefore back in Australia some of the high-end numbers somewhat like the 13-series or the fancy phone numbers, are parted with auction medium. As from the administrative activity assign randomly with the organic number available at that point of time in the number bucket

Who all can apply for getting a Toll Free number service?

  • A Multi-National Corporation or an Organization that caters to a huge number of customers
  • A company that has a customer service team to respond to the queries
  • An organization that holds a technical helpline to help the customer on technical issues
  • A corporation that is into sales and services.
  • The Retail industry providing products and services.
  • Remarkable services for restaurants and hotels.
  • Organizations that are catering to after-sales services as a customer service executive along with a toll-free number with carrier-grade business products and services.
  • A large corporate body in general.
The features of Toll-Free Numbers

1. One Number for the entire nation

One single 11 digit number is reachable in the entire country. This is incorporated with the various operator’s networks. There is no STD facility needed for the services to be accessed.

2. Time Interval Routing/Time of Day

The toll-free number permits the corporations to channel the calls at various different geographical destinations. This depends upon the precise day time. For instance, the customer service wing is shut down which can channel the callers to the substitute location.

3. Routing for the Day of Week

The calls on the toll-free numbers can be channelled depending independently as the Day of the Time but also based on the sub type of the day.

4. Location Based Routing

The calls on the toll-free numbers can be channelled to a number of locations which is structured and based depending upon the point of origin of the caller.

5. Distribution of the Calls

This feature of the toll-free number permits the organization to channel the call depending upon the designations and positions. If for example one of the locations where the call was initially routed falls short of the employee who would answer your call. Then these specific and identified calls are forwarded to move along two or more locations which will be able to answer. The splitting of the call is dependent on the fraction of distribution which can or is designated.

6. Hunting of the Line

The toll-free numbers are programmed in such a manner that permits the companies to acquire multiple installations. The installations can be done irrespective of the count of locations hence wherever these calls will be answered.

7. Toll-Free call Limiter

This functionality of toll-free number moderates topmost and maximal count of one after another call. As this extends to support the corporation to funnel the resources they are deploying or implementing.

8. Queuing of the call

The call queuing feature of the toll-free number allows the calls which arrive in an engaged situation of the caller hence placing it in a queue. Right after the free condition is recognized once the call is answered.

9. IVR

The IVR functionality of the Toll-free number re-channels the calls on the designated wing or department. As it functions on the caller’s response chosen from the respective menu alternatives as mentioned by the service subscriber

10. Black & White List

The Black and white list functionality of the toll-free number which voluntarily chunks on incoming calls from selected calls coming from the predefined areas. Hence using this functionality an organization can command the area of UAN/TFN to sync with the prospect callers. Hence saving a huge cost of attending the fake callers.

11. Incoming Call Grey List

In this functionality or feature of the Toll-free number is included in a grey list, later to that right after the PIN associated with it. However, a caller which comes under a greylist access to service, again a PIN is asked for authorization and access.


A toll-free number is a unique identity for the businesses these days. In reality, it has always been the same way. In earlier days these call free or toll-free services were procured by MNCs and large corporations. But thanks to advancement in technology and Telecommunications it is now possible for the SME segment too, to have their very own Toll Free number.

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