So, you’ve purchased a universal toll free number (UIFN) and want to learn how to use it. UIFN numbers are a good resource for businesses looking to expand internationally. But before we discuss how to dial a UIFN number, it is important to understand what such numbers are and how they work.
What are Universal Toll Free Numbers?
Universal International Freephone Numbers, or UIFN are similar to international toll free numbers. They make it free for customers to contact your business, with the added benefit of using the same number in multiple countries. Businesses looking to expand their growth to cover more countries across the world will find a need for a UIFN number.
How this works is that the UIFN number is a unique number that can be reached from any country in the world. And so, instead of advertising multiple contact numbers for each country, you can advertise one universal number that is toll free, no matter where callers are calling from.
Countries Where UIFN Numbers are Available
Now, you can also request a UIFN for the 3 or 4 countries you want to connect with. Say, your business is located in the United States but you want to create a communication channel with Australia, Brazil, France, and Germany. You can request a UIFN for these countries and then add new countries — that is, new markets — while keeping the same number.
Only a limited number of countries participate and work with UIFN numbers but more are being added. UIFN numbers are currently available in more than 40 countries spread across the globe. A few of these are:
- Costa Rica
- Czech Republic
- French Guiana
- Hong Kong
- New Zealand
- Saint Pierre and Miquelon
- South Africa
- South Korea
- United Kingdom
- United States
UIFN Calling: Regulations
While UIFN numbers seem like the ideal way to connect with customers across the globe, it is important to keep in mind that there are some regulations and restrictions applied. For example, certain origination countries may impose restrictions on calling abilities and the networks your customers can dial from. Additionally, countries have different prefixes that need to be dialed before dialing the 800 number. Some of the regulations regarding purchasing and dialing UIFN numbers include:
1. The UIFN number needs to be registered in at least two countries.
2. These numbers require a one-time set-up fee.
3. The number needs to be activated for inbound calls from at least two country codes within 180 days.
4. A different format is needed to dial UIFN. Customers will have to include a country code or international access code as a prefix at the beginning of the 800 number.
How to Dial a UIFN Number?
Now that you have a better understanding of how UIFN numbers work, let’s look at how to dial a UIFN number. UIFN numbers start with “800,” assigned to them by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). With this, customers from anywhere in the world can dial and call a UIFN number without being charged for the call. However, the format varies depending on which country is being called. The format generally is:
International access code (IAC) + 800 + 8-digit UIFN
And so, to successfully dial a UIFN number, customers need to know the appropriate international access code. Then, they can add 800 and dial the rest of your UIFN number. Always confirm with your provider what your customers will need to dial to reach you.
Now you know how to dial a UIFN number. But, as you can see, the process can be slightly complicated. Additionally, when dialing, customers may not recognize this number as a toll free number. They are typically more accustomed to 800 numbers or their national toll free number formats.
Universal Coverage with UIFN Numbers
If you want to expand your business globally and work with customers from different countries, then request a UIFN number.