Comparing 3 Types of International Toll Free Numbers

Comparing 3 Types of International Toll Free Numbers Banner


We talk a lot about international toll free numbers. That’s because we’ve been a leading international toll free service for over 16 years. During that time, we’ve received a lot of questions from businesses of all shapes and sizes about the different types of international toll free numbers.

In this post, we’ll discuss the most frequent questions we get about toll free numbers, and describe the differences between 3 types of international toll free numbers.

International Toll Free Numbers

Traditional international toll free numbers are country-specific. This means that a caller in Germany can dial a Germany toll free number free of charge if they are making the call in-country.

Calls made to an international toll free number can be forwarded to mobile devices, landlines, and even VoIP softphones. They are an incredibly powerful tool for businesses that want to provide the same level of service to their customers abroad as they do for their customers at home.

Who Uses International Toll Free Numbers?

International toll free numbers are an essential business tool for companies of all shapes and sizes. Primarily, they are used by companies who have customers in multiple geographic regions. For example, let's use a business based in the United States with customers in Austria and Germany. That business may want to purchase international toll free numbers for those countries. Customers in Austria and Germany dial the business’ respective toll free numbers at no charge to them. And, the business can forward the calls to their main office in the United States.

Domestic Toll Free Numbers

Domestic toll free numbers are true “800 numbers.” These numbers can be called by anyone in the country where it is located. That means that a customer in Colombia can call a Colombia domestic toll free number free of charge in they are making the call in-country.

If that sounds a lot like an international toll free number to you, then you aren’t wrong. The biggest difference between domestic toll free numbers and international toll free numbers is that they come with fewer restrictions.

Unlike international toll free numbers, domestic toll free numbers don’t usually have add-on charges for calls made to mobile phones and pay phones.

Who Uses Domestic Toll Free Numbers?

Like we said, domestic toll free numbers are a lot like international toll free numbers. So, the same kinds of businesses use them.

Businesses that want to make sure that callers can dial their toll free numbers from any device, including mobile phones and pay phones, will want to purchase domestic toll free numbers.

Universal International Freephone Numbers (UIFN)

Universal international freephone numbers, or UIFN numbers, are the closest thing to a “global” toll free number that you can buy. Like international toll free numbers, they are free for your customers to call. But, this number can apply to multiple countries.

UIFN numbers are currently available for 40 countries around the world. But, there are some things you should know before you buy one. UIFN numbers:

  • Must be registered in at least two countries
  • Typically require a significant, one-time setup fee
  • Incur costs for each country selected—the more countries accessing the number, the higher the cost
  • Have a different dialing format than toll free numbers, and may not be recognizable as free to call for all customers

Who Uses Universal International Freephone Numbers?

We get a lot of requests for “global” toll free numbers from all kinds of businesses, ranging from software development companies to high-end resorts. These businesses want to be able to provide their customers, regardless of where they are located, with a single phone number to reach customer service, support, or account management.

It is important to remember that UIFN numbers are not available in all countries. If you are looking for a “universal” or “global” toll free number, be sure to have the countries that you plan to target in mind before you speak to a provider. This will help you narrow down your search for the right provider.

Which Type of International Toll Free Number Is Right for My Business?

There are lots of different business models, just like there are multiple kinds of international toll free numbers. We have found that, in general, the following types of businesses benefit from different types of international toll free numbers:

Retail/Consumer Goods and Insurance

Businesses in retail/consumer goods and insurance typically cater to customers in a few countries. It’s more cost-effective to purchase 2 – 3 international toll free numbers than to pay the additional cost for a universal international freephone number when you are only targeting 3 – 4 countries at most.


Hospitality is divided into two segments: travel services and hotels, motels, and resorts. Regardless, most hospitality companies could benefit from a UIFN number. Their clients travel to a wide variety of countries. Since they aren’t familiar with local phone number formatting, it’s better to provide all customers with a single phone number for support in-country.

Technical Support

Most technical support companies provide service to customers in-country. Several support one or two specific countries outside of their own. These businesses can use both international toll free numbers and domestic toll free numbers to provide their customers with a way to contact them at no charge.

Want to Learn More About International Toll Free Numbers?

Talk to an AVOXI specialist today, or explore these related articles:

Learn more about Virtual Phone Numbers.

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