If you are a business owner you’ve probably asked yourself which would be better for your company, a UIFN or ITFS number? There are a few key differences between these service numbers that you should learn about before making your decision.
What are UIFN and ITFS Numbers?
Before we delve into the differences between these types of international phone numbers, let’s do a quick recap of how these numbers function:
ITFS stands for International Toll-Free Service. An ITFS number works like any other toll-free number, allowing customers to contact businesses without paying for the call. Calls made to an ITFS number can be delivered to other countries with international call forwarding. For example, your Mexico-based business has customers in South Africa. You can get a South Africa toll-free number and forward incoming calls to your office in Mexico. Callers from South Africa won’t be charged for the call.
Universal Free Phone Numbers (UIFNs) are toll-free numbers accessible from multiple countries participating in the UIFN program. When you choose this service, your business can advertise one number across multiple countries. Companies that benefit most from universal numbers are Software Services and Data Centers, Patient Care and Clinical Rehabs, Medical Research Companies, and Universities.
Understanding Whether Your Business Needs UIFN or ITFS Numbers
Since UIFNs seem like the more convenient option, should every business just use a UIFN? Why not just get one number for many countries, rather than one for each country? It sounds like the better option, but there are difficulties with universal numbers.
Global Call Forwarding offers both international toll-free numbers and universal numbers. Our experts can help you determine what type of number will best suit your business communication needs. Let’s look at the key differences between UIFNs and ITFS numbers.
Currently, only 62 countries participate in the UIFN program regulated by the ITU. In comparison, you can get international toll-free numbers from more than 160 countries, including hard-to-reach and remote locations. You have a better shot at extensive global coverage if you go with ITFS numbers.
Callers trying to call a UIFN number must dial their country’s international access code. Otherwise, they will not be able to connect to the business. This means that callers will need to dial their international dial / access code (IAC) followed by the toll-free prefix and the 8-digit subscriber number. Most callers may not know what the IAC or their country code is, leading to obstacles in calling your business. Learn more about how to dial a UIFN number here.
International toll-free numbers, on the other hand, look just like regular toll-free numbers, making them familiar and easier to dial.
Certain countries have restrictions placed on universal numbers. For example, in the Netherlands, UIFN is not required by law and therefore some phone providers do not offer voice access through their service. In New Zealand, UIFN numbers can only be dialed through two service providers, Vodafone and Telecom New Zealand.
In addition, people calling a UIFN from certain countries might hear a message that they’re being charged for the call. This can be discouraging to some potential customers.
ITFS numbers do not have these restrictions. In Taiwan, hotels are required to allow guests to dial ITFS numbers but not UIFN numbers. Such restrictions make international toll-free numbers a better choice.
A universal registration fee is required before you can start using your UIFN number. On top of that, there is an annual maintenance fee and then monthly subscription charges for each activated country. Fees for ITFS numbers are paid by the provider instead of the business, making these numbers the cheaper alternative.
ITFS numbers are also easy to advertise on your website. You can simply provide the numbers through a drop-down box and have the country correspond to the correct ITFS number. If you are advertising your number through more than just your website, you might want to consider using a UIFN number. After all, you don’t want your costly advertising efforts to go to waste.
Which Number is Ideal for your Business?
Specific companies will benefit from both UIFN or ITFS in different ways. If you only deal with a few international countries, then there is no need to have to pay the registration costs and annual fees of universal numbers, so ITFS will do just fine. But if you have customers in many of the 62 countries included in the UIFN program, then a universal toll-free number may be perfect for your business.
Still unsure of what is the best solution for your communication needs? Consult with our telecom experts. We’ve been providing businesses like yours with toll-free and local phone numbers for over 25 years. Let us help you find the right business phone number so you can communicate with your customers with ease. Call us at +1 (561) 908-6171 or chat with us online!