How to Get a Global Phone Number or Global Toll Free Number

Can you set up a single phone number that works worldwide? Discover your global phone number options today. 

global phone numbers (worldwide toll free)

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:

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

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 Toll Free (UIFN)

Have you ever been on a video call where the other person’s lip movement doesn’t quite match up to what you’re hearing them say? This is VoIP latency. It’s a delay in the transmission of audio and/or video from your call. It’s usually caused by network congestion, though it can also result from poor wiring or outdated network equipment. Upgrading your team’s hardware and software while reminding them to reduce other bandwidth usages as possible can reduce latency. Having your IT team implement QoS standards can also help.

Global Toll Free Numbers Image (1)

Local DID 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.

Global Local Numbers Image (1)

International Toll Free (UIFN Alternative)

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.

Pros & Cons of Universal Toll Free

Pros:

  • 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.

Cons:

  • 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.
Pros - Global Toll Free Numbers (1)

Who shouldn't use a global toll free number? 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.

Frequently Asked Questions

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.

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.

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.

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)

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.

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.

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.

Yes! You can select a variety of forwarding options from your user interface, including forwarding to one or multiple devices around the world. You also have unlimited IVR menus, call recording, custom greetings, and much more!

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