844 Numbers History: 800 numbers were the first toll free numbers in the United States to be released, and are seen by some as the most desirable toll free number. However, in the year 2012, the stock of 800 toll free numbers dropped drastically, and the availability of these coveted numbers is now at an all-time low.
To combat the depletion of 800 numbers, the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) released 888- (in 1996), 877- (in 1998), 866- (in 2000), and 855- (in 2010) numbers. In 2012, the FCC was expected to release the 844 prefix, and hype was building rapidly around the new number. However, the FCC then announced that the numbers would not be available until late 2013 or early 2014.
Many businesses expected and relied on the release of 844 numbers in the hopes of acquiring a vanity toll free number that may no longer be available with another prefix before another business got to it. Because vanity toll free numbers are such an effective (yet inexpensive) marketing tool, they are in high demand, and businesses rush to get a vanity number when new prefixes are released.
While there’s still no release date set for the newest prefix, the depletion of not only 800 numbers, but toll free numbers as a whole, ensures that the release should not be far off. The stock of 855 numbers that became available in 2010 were in a much higher demand than expected, and are already in an alarmingly low supply.
AVOXI frequently receives questions about the availability of 844 US toll free numbers, and when they will become available for businesses to purchase. Be wary of those businesses who are “pre-selling” or “reserving” 844 numbers, as it’s not only illegal to do so, but impossible to guarantee these numbers once the prefix is released.