The History of 800 Toll Free Numbers




Whenever you hear “toll-free numbers”, the 800 number might be the first that would pop up in your mind. Well, no one can blame you since they have been with us for quite a long time. However, it is worth examining the origin of these numbers and why they are important to us.

The history of 800 numbers

It all began in 1967 when AT&T with the idea to cut down on collect calls, wherein by that time is the only way to make a long-distance call for free. Although collect calls are still used in a few instances and situations such as from a payphone or a prison phone, this kind of practice is very rare nowadays and has the possibility for extinction in the coming years.

Since the formation of the 800 toll-free numbers, many enterprises have noticed an increase in their sales. Before toll-free numbers were created, the first and only way to call long-distance numbers is through collect calling which needs an intervention from an operator. The operator will then dial the receiving party and will ask the called party if he or she is willing to accept the call and the long-distance call charge.

Even though 800 numbers became an indispensable business tool during that time, business owners faced a major challenge, and that was the premium charge by AT&T for regular calls. But not until 1984.

The end of AT&T’s monopoly


In 1984, there was a breakthrough made by a federal judge in the telecommunication system when he ordered the monopoly to be distributed in more than a dozen regional companies. From there, there’s a sudden drop in long-distance rates that ends the monopoly. Many enterprises that can’t afford to subscribe to an 800 number have integrated them into their business communication.

Not for long since the break up of the monopoly, vanity numbers emerged. This innovative idea provides customers the option to choose their phone number that is linked to an easily-remembered series of numbers for marketing purposes.

And finally, in 1994, a law has guaranteed the portability of phone numbers between carriers. Before, transferring to other carriers required new toll-free numbers that proved to be complex and costly. When the FFC instructed the portability of 800 numbers, it brought a huge relief to customers since they have now the freedom to choose any carrier that they want and bring their toll-free numbers to their new carrier.

The 800 numbers nowadays


The fact that email and the Internet have dramatically changed the way businesses communicate, it is still undeniable that a toll-free number is still a very efficient way for communication in any enterprise. 800 numbers are designed to enhance the business image and gain more trust from customers and prospects. There are more than enough reasons why your business needs a toll-free (800) number. Consider the following advantages:

  • Improve your customer satisfaction – it is true that a toll-free number allows your trade to be in touch with your customers instantly. And since you are available almost anytime to take their calls, you are strengthening your relationship with your clients while providing greater customer satisfaction than before.

Customers are easily got irritated whenever their desire to have someone answer their calls or address their concerns is not satisfied. And to avoid this kind of scenario, a toll-free number is simply one of the best solutions. Any time of the day, your customers can call you without any charge at their end. At the end of the day, the result is complete customer satisfaction.

  • A number that is easy to remember – compared to regular numbers, toll-free numbers are so easy to remember, especially if they are vanity numbers. Aside from being free of charge and easily remembered, vanity numbers are creating a remarkable branded experience for your existing clients since it goes all the way to their memories.

And since vanity numbers make themselves memorable to your customers and prospects, you will have great chances of having more customers reaching out whenever they need you.

  • The bottom line of having an 800 number is that it increases customers’ calls that leads to more potential sales. If you would notice, this type of number provides you a very distinctive edge over your competitors in the market.

Final words

Much has been written about toll-free numbers, especially 800 numbers. If you will try to google it and take note of the result, you might be surprised at how much information has been dedicated to 800 numbers. Ironically, there are very few details about its history and where it all began.

If you are interested to learn more about 800 numbers, please visit to get more information and learn how this reliable number can help bring your enterprise closer to your goal.