On December 7, 2013, new 844 toll free numbers were announced. These new prefixes give businesses the opportunity to sign up for a new telephone number that can help brand and expand their business. Many businesses have tried to secure branded vanity lines in the past, but their preferred number may not have been available, forcing them to settle for a less ideal solution. But the addition of 844 toll free numbers has put an entirely new set of branding opportunities in play for businesses across the country.
The Rise of the Toll Free Telephone Number
In 1967, AT&T introduced the world to the toll free telephone number, which was a way for callers to place long distance calls for free. The charges for the call were not levied against the caller, but rather the owner of the toll free number. Before toll free numbers were available, the only way to “reverse” a charge was to place a call through an operator and request the permission of the other party. This process was referred to as “collect calling.” In its infancy, toll free numbers were quite expensive and were only available to large corporations. But businesses of all sizes saw the value in allowing customers to contact them for free, and as demand grew, technology improved, and costs were reduced.
In the early days of toll free service, the only prefix available was “800.” But the popularity of toll free numbers took off so much that the pool of available numbers began to dwindle, forcing the FCC to expand toll free telephone prefixes in 1996. The expansion came just in time. Right around the time the FCC made new numbers available, tech companies introduced voice over internet protocol (VoIP), also known as internet telephony. This technology allowed people to place and receive telephone calls over the internet, rather than through the hardline public switched telephone network (PSTN). This technology was far less expensive than traditional phone service, and it quickly became a way for organizations to expand their communications systems without the need for extra hardware and infrastructure.
Access to VoIP meant that companies could point as many toll free numbers to their business as they would like, without disrupting their primary telephone number. It also meant that even the smallest microbusiness could have cheap access to toll free services. Toll free services became so popular that the FCC had to continue to add new prefixes. Until recently, there were five toll free codes in use in the United States: 800, 888, 877, 866 and 855.
But internet telephony is constantly improving. In fact, users don’t even need a telephone in order to place calls over the internet. They can connect directly through their computer. The constant improvement of VoIP has once again forced the FCC to add another toll free prefix to the rolls: 844.
How Can You Get an 844 Toll Free Number?
Securing a new 844 toll free number is incredibly easy. There is no need to go through the local telephone company to get a new number added to your current service. Interested individuals or businesses can simply contact a toll free service provider and let them know they’re looking for an 844 number. These service providers have access to the complete toll free database and can help new customer choose and secure the a new number. Because 844 numbers can be used with internet service, the line can be initiated remotely, and customers can have a brand new 844 toll free number in less than the time it takes to get a cappuccino at the local coffee shop.
Why Choose an 844 Toll Free Number?
Toll free numbers can benefit businesses of all sizes and in all industries. They help generate a positive feeling with new customers, as most consumers have been trained to associate toll free numbers with large, established, and trusted businesses. When you use a toll free number to brand your business (like 1-800-FLOWERS or 1-800-DENTIST), you give potential customers an easy way to remember your business. They can help generate more inbound calls, and can make your marketing efforts more effective. They can also be paired with advanced calling features like call forwarding, call routing, and call waiting, and toll free numbers do not interrupt service to your main, local telephone line.
The addition of 844 toll free numbers into service is an indication that the toll free business is here to stay. Savvy companies will take advantage of these new prefixes to capture new telephone numbers and use them to connect with a whole new crop of potential customers.