Getting an international number today is easier than it’s ever been. Gone are the days of needing physical offices in every country you want to do business in, or even having to contact phone companies to set up physical lines in different countries.
Businesses today can easily order virtual numbers, including virtual toll free numbers, from their own computer. These numbers appear local to the area you are marketing to, with the local region’s own phone numbers, dial tones, and ringtones. International toll free numbers can be as local as a specific city, or as widespread as an entire country.
While the ordering process may be easier than ever, choosing a company to help you order an international toll free number and ensuring that they offer services and/ or communications to teach you to use all of its features, is a bit more difficult. There are a lot of competitors that offer these services. To help you, we’ve compiled a short explanation of the top 3 international toll free number providers and listed some of their possible strengths and weaknesses.
Global Call Forwarding
Of the top 3 international toll free number providers, Global Call Forwarding is the most trusted. Their parent company, United World Telecom, has been in business since 1996.
While Global Call Forwarding services major corporations like the other two competitors, it is also the only company that makes specific mention of its commitment to smaller and mid-sized businesses on its website.
Of the top 3 providers, Global Call Forwarding’s checkout process is the easiest, with almost everything able to be ordered online. That includes outbound calling plans, vanity numbers, and ordering multiple numbers in one checkout process. Although the company invites customers to contact them, it isn’t necessary to order essential services, as is typical with other companies.
All calling plans are listed side by side and there is a trial period for purchases.
Unlike both of their competitors, Global Call Forwarding also discloses that it allows customers to change their international toll free plans at any time (the others may allow this, but you would have to call them to find out — it’s not in their terms of service as it is with Global Call Forwarding).
Like Toll Free Forwarding, Global Call Forwarding offers a significant number of locations where phone numbers can be purchased. Global Call Forwarding offers numbers from more than 160 different locations.
Global Call Forwarding’s feature suite is the largest of the top 3 international toll free number providers:
As you can see, the feature list includes the ability to forward SMS/text messages, and call transferring, which some of the other 2 companies don’t provide. Global Call Forwarding is also the only company to offer rollover minutes, meaning that you get to keep the minutes you paid for. For seasonal businesses, this can be a huge advantage.
Global Call Forwarding’s pricing is highly competitive, but should there be a better deal out there, the company encourages customers to contact them at 561-908-6171 or 888-908-6171 to work out plans that can be just as competitive as the others.
According to its website, Avoxi has been in business since 2001. Avoxi’s website focuses on call centers and cloud-based solutions. Avoxi touts its ability to create tailored solutions based on a business’ specific needs.
Avoxi offers six calling plans, but if you are looking for more than a high volume of monthly minutes, you’ll have to call sales — the website doesn’t give you pricing information for larger plans.
To compare, Global Call Forwarding and Toll Free Forwarding let you purchase plans of up to 2500 minutes per month online. Avoxi’s website also doesn’t disclose how you may change plans — for example, if you find that you need more or fewer minutes than the plan you’ve selected.
Among all of the top 3 international toll free number providers, Avoxi’s ordering process is somewhat inconvenient. For example, if you wanted to purchase more than one number, you would need to do that with multiple checkout processes. You can’t purchase a batch of numbers all at once.
Other services, such as outbound calling, or vanity numbers, also can’t be purchased online — they require that you speak to a customer service representative.
Avoxi’s phone numbers come with a decent list of features:
However still, the features list is the smallest of the top 3 international toll free number providers.
For example, there is no SMS (text) messaging ability, and Avoxi also does not offer rollover minutes, so whatever minutes you don’t use will expire at the end of your billing period.
Avoxi does not offer U.S. 1-800 numbers. Both Global Call Forwarding and Toll Free Forwarding offer not just 1-800, but also 1-800, 833, 844, 855, 866, 877 and 888 toll free prefixes.
Toll Free Forwarding
Toll Free Forwarding, based out of Los Angeles, boasts its ability to create businesses that have no borders, by providing international phone numbers. Since 2002, the company says that its focus has been on expanding the international reach of its customers.
On that note, it makes sense that Toll Free Forwarding offers more available international numbers to more areas than Avoxi.
Toll Free Forwarding offers more features than Avoxi, but still is missing a few crucial details that you would expect the top 3 international toll free providers to have. For example, there is no call transfer feature (only call forwarding) and no forwarding of SMS/ text messages.
The ordering process suffers from some of the same problems as Avoxi, such as the lack of the ability to order multiple numbers in one checkout, and there is no ability to order an outbound calling plan through the online process.
Like Avoxi, Toll Free Forwarding does not offer rollover minutes. It does, however, provide a trial period for customers to try their service before committing to it.