Top 10 Facts about Toll-Free Phone Numbers

Join us as we uncover the Top 10 Facts You Should Know about Toll-Free DIDs. The more you know, the more comfortable you’ll be purchasing and enjoying your 25¢ Toll-Free DIDs.


1. Toll-Free numbers cannot be used as a numerical Caller ID (without using the RPID field and a valid local number).

  • Because Toll-Free numbers are routed to Resporgs in lieu of an LEC they do not have a geographical location that they can be associated with.


2. Toll-Free numbers cannot maintain CNAM Storage.

  • Toll-Free numbers were originally designed to be used as numbers to be called  not called from. Because of this they cannot be used with outbound Caller ID Names.

3. Toll-Free numbers are not bound to a geographical location.

  • Because Toll-Free numbers do not have Local Routing Numbers they could only be used via the RPID ID field for numerical Caller IDs. Using this without these changes provides little-to-no routing information for your provider.


4. Due to facts one and three, 911 calls with Toll-Free numbers are difficult at best. Even with the suggested changes.

  • 911 relies on the locale of the source number to route the calls to the appropriate emergency provider. Using a Toll-Free number would be ill-advised. With the RPID changes this can still be problematic as they would still be seeing that Toll-Free number.


5. Toll-Free numbers are managed using a system called SMS/800.

  • Unlike local numbers Toll-Free numbers do not use NANPA and instead use SMS/800 to manage the inventory and acquisition of these.


6. Toll-Free numbers were not portable until 1981.

  • Toll-Free numbers were initially assigned to specific providers and as such could not be moved. This changed when the system was reworked in 1981 to SMS/800.


7. Prior to the current system Toll-Free numbers used a system called the Zenith number.

  • Zenith Numbers were the precursor to Toll-Free service and were routed by reaching an operator and providing a specific Zenith to this operator.


8. While Toll-Free numbers use the 8XX scheme for numbering, 811 is used strictly for 3 digit dialing in the United States.

  • 811 is used in the US specifically to help locate wires and pipes prior to digging. Because of this the NPA 811 is not used with Toll-Free.


9. While Toll-Free numbers are generally Toll-Free, there is the potential to be billed for these calls if using a mobile/cell number.

  • Because some providers charge by usage instead of by number called it is possible to be billed for Toll-Free calls.


10. The Precursor to the modern automated Toll-Free system was developed in 1966 by AT&T.

  • This is when the first automated Toll-Free service was released. Prior to this you had to work with an operator.

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