Getting the Most Out of Toll Free Numbers

SIP Trunking Product Manager

Even in today’s world, most call plans include what used to be referred to as “long-distance,” toll-free Numbers are still seen as a sign of a respectable business. They project a feeling of importance and of a business that has clients all over the nation.

The original “800” area code was introduced in January of 1966, and calls were completed over unique fixed-rate trunks accepting calls from certain calling areas along with the possibility of limiting the number of hours per month. Itemization was not possible for billing initially, and the fixed-rate trunks were costly and only used by government agencies and large corporations.

Since then, the system has evolved and has become much more accessible. In 1986, the toll-free market was opened to competition, and in 1993 the existing RespOrg system was introduced to allow portability between these competitors inside the SMS/800 database, which manages the toll-free ecosystem. RespOrgs (Responsible Organizations) are ultimately the companies that manage and own their toll-free numbers directly from Somos, the SMS/800 database manager.

While most companies are content with purchasing toll-free numbers from carriers and letting the carrier maintain ownership over the phone number, many ITSPs and MSPs have gone through the process of becoming a RespOrg themselves. Becoming a RespOrg gives you much more control over your toll-Free numbers, control that you’re typically not given by toll-free providers; time of day routing, emergency or disaster routing, and area code and exchange routing, to name a few.

Some of this functionality has been added to PBXs and soft switches, but the area code/exchange routing opens a whole new world for RespOrgs, the least-cost route. Most toll-free providers will offer toll-free services as a blended, flat rate, backbone carriers that most RespOrgs use typically uses rate-deck based billing like an outbound call. Calls made to your toll-free numbers will be billed differently depending on where the caller is calling from. This means that calls from an area predominantly serviced by AT&T might be more expensive if you’re using Verizon as a toll-free provider instead of using AT&T.

Becoming a RespOrg allows you to make granular changes to how your toll-free number is routed, allowing you to take advantage of the cheaper rates with various carriers. This is an invaluable tool for toll-free numbers that take calls from various areas across the US, ultimately allowing RespOrgs to save a lot of money by making those distinctions. Also, the control over what carriers your calls go over means that in the event of a carrier outage, you can swap out the bad carrier for another provider that you have service with, mitigating the time you or your customer are unavailable.

As a RespOrg, building and maintaining relationships with several larger toll-free service providers is certainly not an easy thing to do. Some providers have minimums, which may mean the cost savings aren’t worth it. Other larger carriers are challenging to even create a relationship with. These issues mean that several valuable features in the Toll-Free service system have been kept out of reach of many small to medium-sized RespOrgs.

At VoIP Innovations, we’re trying to bridge that gap to give those small to medium-sized RespOrgs access to 6 different top tier Toll-Free service providers. Customers can retain RespOrg on their toll-free numbers and select from a list of what carriers they want us to give them access to. Once we confirm that those carriers have built the routes for your toll-free numbers, you can start routing directly to them. This gives our customers access to carriers that may be inaccessible for them and allows us to manage the multiple relationships and give you a single contact to work with.

Suppose you have no desire to become your own RespOrg. In that case, VoIP Innovations is a RespOrg and utilizes these features to offer an affordable, reliable toll-free service with six underlying providers available for redundancy. We know how important it is for your service to work and have built a fully redundant network with additional carrier redundancy to ensure optimal uptime.

To learn more about VoIP Innovations, check us out https://carrierservices.sangoma.com/.

Questions about our service? Want a demo of the service and to know what we can do for you? Fill out this form, and we’d be happy to help you https://carrierservices.sangoma.com/contact/.

 

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