AVOXI addressed numerous questions about Toll Free Numbers and Toll Free Forwarding. We first published this article in 2014, so it is time to revisit as rates and availability change as services expand. We’ll take another look at toll free forwarding cost as there is some confusion on how the price for this feature varies. In this article, we’ll discuss what Toll Free Forwarding is, the factors affect the price and the final costs you'll encounter when using this feature.
What Is Toll Free Forwarding?
Toll Free Forwarding or call forwarding is a VoIP feature that allows you to forward or divert the incoming calls you receive on your toll free number to a devise (landline, IP address, mobile) of your choice. Important in today’s global business environment, it allows you to forward your customers' calls to an accessible phone and answer them. And, global business means that toll free numbers and toll free forwarding are essential to your worldwide businesses operations.
What Factors Affect Toll Free Forwarding Cost?
Some providers offer the toll free forwarding feature for free as part of their Cloud PBX Phone system. And some providers charge you a monthly fee to add this feature to your current phone system. The real cost is in the usage. That means you need to look at cost per minute rates and from where the call comes and where it goes.
Understanding the Cost per Minute Rates
To figure out the cost per minute rates of toll free forwarding, consider that an inbound call has two parts—part one is from where the call originates and part two is where the call terminates. Basically, that means from where is the caller dialing to where is the call answered.
Origination of a Toll Free Call
You select your toll free or virtual number in the country where you want to provide customers easy and familiar access to your business through a toll free number. Origination is part one of the call. The rate per minute (RPM) depends on where in the world the caller calls. Each provider has specific calling rates for each country.
Termination of a Toll Free Call
Part two of a call is the termination. The per minute rates for termination of your inbound call from a customer is dependent on two factors. The first is where in the world you receive the call. There are specific rates based on geography. The next factor is how to you answer the call—landline, VoIP or IP address, or mobile. Providers set rates based on device termination. And, the rate per minute generally varies based on what device a recipient uses to answer the call.
An Example of Determining Rate per Minute (RPM) Costs
Let’s look at an example. We’ll select a toll free number in Singapore. We want that number to ring to our location in Australia. The call diverts to VoIP/SIP, which is typically the least expensive rate.
Not allowing for discounts based on total minutes used, we’ll look at basic rates per minute.
|Part one: Singapore Toll Free Number Origination RPM =||$0.074|
|+ Part two: Termination of call to Australia VoIP/SIP =||$0.000|
Combined origination and termination rate (your rate cost) =
The Device Factor
As you can see from the example, the rate per minute for usage combines the two parts of the call. However, when we change the device that also affects the rate charge. For example, let’s look at call diversion to a landline. Your origination rate per minute is the same, but your termination rate is higher at $0.056. That means the combined rate that you’ll pay is $0.13. Terminating to mobile is even higher.
Providers set calling rates based on a number of different considerations; however, it takes some math to figure out the final cost of your forwarded calls. An easy method to determine your rate per minute cost and find the most economical setup for your toll free numbers is to look at minute packages. Those packages offer bundled plans with discounts on rates per minute. For easy reference, check out our article: Comparing the Top 3 Toll Free Forwarding Providers.
Determining Your Toll Free Forwarding Costs
So, it’s math. Adding up part one, the origination, and part two, the termination. Part one is dependent on the country or region where the caller dials your number. You’ll need to be sure your provider offers toll free numbers in the location(s) you need. Additionally, each provider has specific calling rates for each country, so you'll want to compare those rates along with any monthly fees for the service. Part two depends on the device and location—terminating to VoIP/SIP offers the least expensive option.
For the most part, the toll free forwarding feature simply adds a few cents to your normal rate per minute (RPM) charge. But here are a few notes to keep in mind.
- Forwarding calls to a mobile phone is, most of the time, the most expensive forwarding option.
- Those forwarding calls to VoIP are in luck! Most providers offer free (or cheap) forwarding to a VoIP phone line. This makes the overall call cheaper as it's one less cost to account for when adding up the parts of your call.
Toll Free Forwarding is a cost effective and useful business tool. If you want to explore options, check out AVOXI’s pricing tool from our online shopping cart to give you an idea of overall costs. If you have questions, talk to one of our specialists about your specific business needs.