We’re all very familiar with the United States’ 1-800 number. It’s the most recognized Toll Free number in the world.
The development of Toll Free numbers revolutionized the telephone industry and have become absolutely essential in the modern business world. Because of the high demand, the popular 1-800 number was soon depleted and required the introduction of several new numbers including 877 and 866. Even though all the newly introduced numbers preform the same function as the 1-800 number, there’s still a bias in favor of the original number. In this article we’ll dive into a brief history of US Toll Free numbers and explain to you why you may be better off choosing a newer Toll Free number for your business.
The History of US Toll Free Numbers
The first US Toll Free number, 1-800, was introduced in the late 1960s. Initially, they were completely controlled by a phone company called AT&T. They charged an expensive price for these numbers and because of that, they weren’t initially popular for small businesses. In 1984, a judge ruled that more competition in the marketplace was necessary and divided the numbers up to quite a few other phone companies. With the increase of marketplace competition, the price of Toll Free numbers decreased and were more affordable for businesses. This led to an influx of new Toll Free number users and because of this, the stock of 10 million 1-800 numbers was quickly depleted. To keep up with the demand for US Toll Free numbers, 888 numbers were released in 1996 and other numbers quickly followed behind. As of today, 800, 888, 877, 866 and 855 numbers are all currently recognized US Toll Free numbers.
Why May Want to Rethink the Infamous 1-800 Number
Like we talked about above, 800 numbers were introduced in the 1960’s and by 1984 all 10 million of them were already being used. This means that any 800 number you buy today will be a recycled and previously used number.
So what does this mean for you?
When you’re shopping for a Toll Free number, you’ll see that there are actually quite a few 800 numbers available. These come from businesses that aren’t using the number anymore. So, they’re thrown back into rotation.
Just because an 800 number is available doesn’t mean you should immediately choose it. Yes, they’re well-known but they’re also reused. When you choose an 800 number, you’re taking on the same phone number as all the companies who’ve had the number in its 50 year history.
Whether you choose a 1-800 number or one of its siblings, a Toll Free number can provide a world of convenience for your customers. Be sure to keep in mind that your number will come with a history. Figure out if this is a deciding factor in the purchase of your US Toll Free number and choose accordingly.