International Toll Free Service (ITFS) first debuted in 1969, and since the first toll free number appeared, demand for them has soared. There were more than 24 million toll free numbers in North America as of February 2008. Toll free numbers originally began with 1-800, but since they have become so popular, they have had to expand to include 888, 877, and 866. When all the 866 numbers have been depleted, 855 numbers will begin to go into effect.
When you dial a toll free number, the Service Switch Point (SSP) recognizes it as a toll free number by its numerical prefix. It then queries the Service Control Point (SCP), which has routing instructions for the number you dialed. The call will automatically transfer there, and the owner of the toll free number will be charged any long distance fees.
Toll free numbers are not only a way to allow your customers to call you for free, but also a great marketing tool for any size business. Vanity numbers enable your toll free number to directly reflect on your business, whether it be in reference to what you sell or the service you offer, or another way that your customers recognize your company. Toll free numbers can assist your company in cutting down on other advertising expenses, while still increasing profitability.