One of the most common questions we hear from our customers is "Can I set up a global phone number for my business?" The convenience a global virtual number brings to a business is obvious, especially if it were a global toll free number. Today we'll cover every available global phone number solution available and how different businesses make this happen.
In this article, we'll cover the following topics:
Can You Get a Global Virtual Number?
The short answer is yes. There are a few different ways that companies set up global phone numbers for their customers to reach them. Unfortunately, each method comes with limitations. First, we'll cover the options available to you.
Number Types Available
Global Toll Free Numbers
When most people think of a global toll free number, they are thinking of a single 800 number that can be dialed from any country in the world. The closest solution to that service is known as a UIFN. A UIFN is a global toll free number that can be dialed from any country participating in the UIFN program. This means it is available in about 50 countries. Find out more about this kind of global toll free number, including every country covered in the program, on our UIFN provider page.
Global Local Numbers
Yes, global local numbers. Sounds funny, right? But that's essentially what any DID number ( direct-inward dialing) is. Many customers are surprised to learn that their local business number can actually be reached from callers in most other countries. However, like the global toll free number, this solution has limitations. While DID numbers are generally inexpensive to the callers within a country, customers calling from abroad may face expensive long-distance charges. However, since these numbers are inexpensive, most businesses don't mind setting up DID numbers in all their target markets instead of trying to rely on one global local number.
Alternatives to UIFN’s
Setting up local DID numbers or international toll free numbers in your target countries is the most popular alternative to a global toll free number. Although a toll free number is required per country, they are still a cost-effective option and give customers a free way of connecting with your business. For every country where you do not set up a toll free or DID number, you can advertise one of your DID numbers as a global phone number.
About Global Toll Free Numbers
Pros and Cons
- Available from 50 countries around the globe.
- May be available in a vanity number format (e.g. using a memorable name or number sequence like +800 KEYCHAIN).
- Include advanced call management features such as call forwarding.
- Ideal for global marketing initiatives.
- Advertise one number in many countries.
- Not available for countries outside of the UIFN program.
- More costly than a traditional toll free numbers.
- Expensive once-off registration fee, per number.
- Dialing format varies by country dialing code and may be unfamiliar to callers.
Who should NOT use a UIFN
A Global toll free number doesn't make much sense for a business that only require toll-free access from one or two countries. It's more cost-effective to avoid the UIFN number registration fee and add-on subscriptions by purchasing separate ITFS or DID numbers in your target countries. Although it may be easier to market one global virtual number, having a country-specific ITFS number can help establish a more local presence in specific countries or regions.
Global Phone Number Costs
All providers of global toll free numbers charge a setup fee from $200 to $300. Why? Because the ITU charges every carrier about $200 just to set up a new global toll free number. Additionally, there are standard monthly costs associated with the number. The more countries you would like toll free access from, the higher your subscription fee.
Pricing for Global Toll Free Number Alternatives
Unlike UIFN numbers ITFS number have no one-time registration fees and are often a more cost-effective alternative. Pricing is based on the country in which you require the number and your estimated monthly call volume. International 800 numbers purchased from AVOXI in popular countries like Australia, Hong Kong, the UK and the USA start as low as $4.49 - $7.99 per month.
How Global Toll Free Numbers Work
To call a UIFN number, the caller must first dial their country’s international access code (IAC), more commonly known as the international dial-code or international country code. This means the UIFN format includes the country’s dial-code, the 800 prefix, and eight digits. Callers in many countries are not familiar with this format, making advertising more complicated. In addition, some countries impose restrictions on UIFN numbers that ITFS is not subject to. For example:
- Australia: +0011 (IAC) – 800 (UIFN prefix) – xxxx-xxxx (UIFN)
- Argentina: +00 (IAC) – 800 (UIFN prefix) – xxxx-xxxx (UIFN)
- Finland: +990 (IAC) – 800 (UIFN prefix) – xxxx-xxxx (UIFN)
- Canada: +011 (IAC) – 800 (UIFN prefix) – xxxx-xxxx (UIFN)
Global Phone Number Format
UIFN numbers are composed of a unique 3- digit international access country code and then an 8 digit numerical code. This gives you a phone number that is 11 digits long. Restrictions and accessibility differ from country to country.
For example, the UIFN format for a caller from the UK would be:
- (00) +800 XXXX-XXXX.
How Our Customers Use Global Toll Free Numbers
Some of our customer use-cases for global toll free numbers include:
- Clinical Rehab and Patient Care: Centers that set up a UIFN as a helpline and for family members to call-in to patients.
- Universities: A UIFN allows universities to have the same call in number around the world for remote campuses and desktop support.
- Data Centers and Software Services: We provide UIFN service for one of the largest data center companies in the world. They use a UIFN as a global service/support line across multiple centers.
- Medical Research Companies: Specifically, researchers that conduct medical studies and wanted each research team to be able to call into the same number structure globally.
Set Up Global Virtual Number Service Today
AVOXI makes it simple and affordable to get global phone numbers in 50 countries around the world. Purchase your UIFN virtual number online, get custom pricing, or simply speak with us directly!
Set up your virtual numbers online. After your purchase, an AVOXI specialist will contact you and ensure your service is working according to your preferences.
Call AVOXI from
Worldwide: +1 (770) 937-9735
Frequently Asked Questions About Global Phone Numbers
How long does it take to activate a global toll free number?
This depends on your provider and the countries for which you need a UIFN number. Most providers require at least 30 business days advanced notice to provision a UIFN number. But for more remote countries, it can take as long as 6 months to get a number.
Can I look up global number availability?
Yes, you may view available UIFN numbers by going to our Online Shopping Cart. Simply select the originating country and number type NOTE: AVOXI keeps more numbers in stock than the ones displayed in the Online Shopping Cart. Just because a UIFN number for a certain country does not appear in the Shopping Cart does not mean that AVOXI is not carrying stock.
Can I forward calls from my global number to a mobile device?
Yes, but restrictions may apply in select countries.
Do global numbers come with business phone features?
Many providers, including AVOXI, combine virtual numbers with hosted PBX functionality. That means that you get to customize your UIFN number(s) with a variety of features, including call forwarding, call recording, IVR, and more.
Can I use my global virtual number for conference calling?
It makes sense for businesses that operate internationally to want to use a single phone number for conference calling. Unfortunately, these phone numbers cannot be used for this purpose. However, the AVOXI Core Cloud PBX phone system includes a conference calling feature that uses international toll free numbers for a variety of countries.