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Comparing All Types of International Toll Free Numbers

Most companies are trying to go global to expand their reach and generate more sales. But how do you communicate with international clientele without increasing your expenses? International toll free numbers are the way to go! Here we compare all the types of international toll free numbers so you can find one that is perfect for your needs.

Comparing All Types of International Toll Free Numbers

An international toll free number or ITFN is a number type that enables international calling between a business and its customers. Callers dial this number for free and it connects to employees or agents in a different country by forwarding calls internationally to any device.

Certain types of international toll free numbers, such as traditional international numbers, are country-specific. That is, they are free to call from within the country they are assigned to. On the other hand, universal or global freephone numbers can be contacted for free from a predetermined list of countries.

If your business has an international clientele and you want to provide international customers with the same customer service and care you offer domestic or local customers, then your business could greatly benefit from international toll free numbers. It is known that modern consumers prefer convenience in 2020.

Let’s look at the different types of international toll free numbers so you can identify which is more suitable for your needs.

ITFN

ITFN are country-specific and can be called for free by residents of the country they are assigned to. You can forward incoming calls to smartphones, computers, VoIP softphones, and more. Businesses with international clientele will find these numbers useful. With these numbers, your company can create a virtual presence in different countries and offer customer service globally.

Domestic Toll Free Numbers

Domestic numbers are similar to ITFN in that they too can be called by a resident of the country the number is assigned to. In other words, residents of the US can call a US toll free number for free when in-country. These numbers are true “800 numbers.”

The main difference between domestic and international toll free numbers is that the former does not generally have additional fees for calls connecting to mobile or payphones. Therefore, businesses that want to provide callers with a free way to call from any device will find domestic toll free numbers more suitable.

UIFN

A UIFN is a single unique number that is accessible and free to call from multiple countries. Currently, 45 countries are included in the UIFN number program monitored by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). There are, however, some factors to consider when purchasing UIFNs:

  • Your number must be registered in at least 2 countries.
  • You must use the number between 2 countries within the first 180 days of purchase.
  • These numbers have a significant, one-time setup fee.
  • The different dialing formats are different from regular or standard toll free numbers.
  • Not all countries are included in the program.
  • The more countries selected, the higher the cost.

If you run operations and want to offer customer service in the countries included in the UIFN program, then you may consider a UIFN number to streamline incoming calls and provide just one number for customer support, sales, account management, etc.

What Type of International Toll Free Number is Right for Me?

If your business extends operations to 2-3 different countries, then you can get international toll free numbers or domestic numbers for each country and list them on your website or social media platforms. This way, you can provide customer service and sales assistance to clients within these countries.

However, for a business like a travel or hospitality company with multiple locations involved, a UIFN is more useful. This way, customers from around the world can connect with you through one number.

 Want to Learn More?

Global Call Forwarding is the leading provider of international toll free numbers. We have been in this business for over 20 years and we offer unmatched quality, affordability, and service features. We can help you find the ideal phone number for your company. Call us today to learn more!

What is a Universal International Freephone Number (UIFN)?

Do you have customers in different parts of the world and are struggling to maintain unified communications? In this guide, we share everything there is to know about UIFN, or universal international freephone numbers.

What is a UIFN?

A Universal International Freephone Number, also known as UIFN, is a unique type of international toll free number that can be dialed the same across 45 different countries. These numbers enable customers to receive a single freephone number for multiple countries. The UIFN program is administered by the International Telecommunication Union.

Universal International Freephone Number Format

A UIFN is formatted as a fixed 11-digit phone number. It starts with a 3-digit code to enable toll-free service, such as 800, followed by an 8-digit global subscriber number (GSN). For example, +800 00123456, where 800 is the country code and 00123456 is the GSN. However, dial-out prefixes may need to be entered before dialing the UIFN to connect to the right business.

UIFN Benefits

There are many benefits to getting a universal toll free number. Here are the top 3 reasons why you should get a UIFN.

1. Global Coverage: UIFN is available in 45 different countries, so if your business conducts operations globally, then a universal toll free number can make your business accessible in multiple countries through a single number.

2. One Number: Companies with multiple office locations or branches can easily benefit from a UIFN. For example, an international company with several branches, a small business with remote offices, or a university with global campuses. With a universal toll free number, you have one number that connects your entire business across the globe.

3. Easy to Advertise: Plus, it is much easier to advertise for one number instead of multiple numbers for the different locations you are targeting.

UIFN Restrictions

While there are many UIFN benefits, the technology does have some important restrictions to note. The most important restriction to note is the list of countries where UIFN is available. The second major UIFN restriction is mobile-accessibility. Finally, subscribers should consider that dial-out codes vary across countries.

UIFN Country List

While it seems appealing to have a single number that works everywhere in the world, the reality is that not every country is involved in the ITU program. Here is a list of UIFN countries:

Argentina Australia Austria Belarus Belgium
Brazil Bulgaria Canada China Colombia
Costa Rica Cyprus Czech Rep Denmark Finland
France Germany Hong Kong Hungary Ireland
Israel Italy Japan Latvia Luxembourg
Macau Malaysia Netherlands New Zealand Norway
Philippines Poland Portugal Russia Singapore
Slovenia South Africa South Korea Spain Sweden
Switzerland Taiwan Thailand U.K Uruguay

Mobile Accessibility

Universal toll free numbers are only mobile-accessible in a handful of countries. In certain countries, the number cannot be reached at all from a mobile phone. This is really important to note because more than 50% of people only have cell phone service. You should consult with your customers to find out what percentage of them use mobile phones.

Dialing Conventions

While dialing conventions are pretty standard across the United States, dial-out conventions vary across UIFN countries. For example, certain countries require callers to dial 00 before the number, while other countries require 01. It can be difficult to communicate this information to customers.

In order to avoid irregular dialing conventions, we recommend that businesses properly communicate this information to their customers. This helps avoid any common problems associated with UIFN.

Morocco, Mauritius, and Lebanon Toll Free Numbers Available from Global Call Forwarding

The company’s latest release makes it one of the only toll free service providers with extensive coverage in the Middle East and North Africa.

DELRAY BEACH, Florida, March 4, 2020 ― Global Call Forwarding, the leading provider of international toll free numbers in the Middle East and North Africa, now offers virtual toll free numbers for Morocco, Mauritius, and Lebanon.

With this latest expansion, companies can branch out and extend their services to even more countries throughout the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Global Call Forwarding has already enjoyed a strong presence in the region for many years, offering toll free numbers for the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and most other countries situated there. It now has the most comprehensive toll free coverage in the region.

Through its international call forwarding service, Global Call Forwarding enables businesses and call centers to connect with their customers and contacts around the world. With this service, companies can set up international toll free or local call forwarding numbers that can be dialed locally without subjecting callers to high international calling rates. Multinational companies utilizing call forwarding services can easily enter new markets and expand their global customer base.

Businesses can now use local toll free numbers to establish and grow their presence in Morocco, Mauritius, and Lebanon without incurring the expenses of relocating or setting up physical offices in those countries. Additionally, these numbers are available with many advanced service features such as Outbound Calling, Call Recording, Interactive Voice Response (IVR) and more, which assist users in managing their call flow and improving their overall customer experience.

With the latest additions, Global Call Forwarding is well-positioned to provide greater extensive toll free coverage worldwide. Their latest expansion enables companies to open new channels of communication and improve their voice communications throughout the Middle East and North Africa.

About Global Call Forwarding
Global Call Forwarding is owned and operated by United World Telecom, which has been serving businesses and call centers with innovative telecommunications solutions since 1996. Global Call Forwarding has an expansive global reach, offering local DID and international toll free numbers for more than 160 countries with resourceful service features like IVR, advanced call routing, SMS forwarding, and more. Visit https://www.globalcallforwarding.com for more information.

Contact: Luke Genoyer
Phone: +1 (561) 908-6171
Email: luke@unitedworldtelecom.com

What is an ITFS Number and How Does it Work?

What is an ITFS Number?

ITFS stands for International Toll Free Service. An ITFS Number is an international toll free number that can be called with no charge to the person making the call. ITFS numbers enable callers from a certain country to dial a phone number in a different country without being charged a long-distance fee.

How Does an ITFS Number Work?

While the person making the call does not incur any charge, the person or business that subscribes to the international toll free service gets billed for incoming call activity.

An ITFS number works by forwarding incoming calls internationally. Calls made to an ITFS number can be delivered to other countries using public switched telephone networks (PSTN) or Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP).

International toll free service is particularly useful for customer support and sales in other countries. Let’s assume that a business located in the United States has customers in China. That business would get a China ITFS number. Customers in China could dial the number for free and those calls could be answered in the United States or anywhere else in the world!

International Toll Free Service versus Direct Inward Dial

Direct Inward Dialing (DID) is a telephone service that enables incoming calls to ring through to a specific phone instead of going to a menu. ITFS also enables incoming calls to bypass a menu and go directly to a phone.

However, the calling party is usually charged a local fee when calling a DID number. Calls to an ITFS number, on the other hand, are completely free of charge.

ITFS Format

The format of ITFS numbers signals to callers that the phone number can be dialed for free. Depending on the country of origination, international toll free service numbers usually start with 800, 0800, or 1800.

International Toll Free Service Around the World

ITFS is available from more than 160 countries around the world. However, the format of the numbers and overall perception can vary across different countries.

United States

For a foreign company wishing to establish a virtual market presence in the United States, the world’s largest economy, a US ITFS number is essential to your success. An ITFS number gives domestic callers access to your company. It allows customers in the United States to reach your foreign offices and virtual call centers at no cost to the customer. Prospective customers and business contacts are more likely to reach out to your company if the call is free.

United Kingdom

The United Kingdom is a major participant in global business, and is a politically authoritative and economically dominant country. Therefore, companies would do well to establish a virtual presence there. Businesses in any country can establish a virtual presence in the UK with an ITFS number. The company simply needs to buy a UK toll free number and forward the calls to the intended destination, anywhere in the world.

Toll free prefixes in the UK are primarily 800 and 0808, but 0500 is still used. Toll free numbers are free to call from within the UK, bust the cost of calls to the toll free subscriber is dependent upon the international destination. For example, the cost of calls to a business located in the USA differs from calls made to a virtual call center in India.

Germany

Telephone numbers in Germany are confusing because they vary in length. They contain both geographical and non-geographical codes. Cities with larger populations have shorter numbers. Older telephone numbers are also shorter. Therefore, if your company subscribes to a Germany ITFS number, callers in Germany can reach you with ease. They caller can simply dial a toll free number, and not an international dialing code plus an area code, while also paying for the call. 

China

China has a population of more than 1.3 billion people. Even the smallest company can gain access to this enormous consumer market, and project an international image in China with an ITFS number. The company simply needs to sign up for an international call forwarding service from China with an ITFS number. This will help the company grow its virtual business presence in China, and enable the firm to compete with large multinational organizations.

A China ITFS number will forward calls from China to a destination anywhere in the world. Call quality is important, and subscribers should look for a service provider that uses Tier 1 network carriers to forward calls from China. 

UAE

The UAE is a rapidly emerging market and business center in Western Asia. GCF provides ITFS numbers for the UAE as either 800 plus 6-digit toll free numbers or local numbers with a +971 area code. These numbers allow foreign businesses to establish a virtual business presence in the UAE region. Many businesses have both UAE toll free numbers and local numbers to provide toll free call forwarding to their customers.

If you have these numbers, consider utilizing attendants who are fluent in local dialects and languages. Because of time-zone differences, subscribers should consider setting up a free Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system that allows a computer greeting system to receive incoming calls from UAE and route them to the appropriate destination based on voice or keypad commands. By using IVR, your customers will appreciate you having gone out of your way to serve them.

India

India is one of the largest countries in the world. Its land area is just under 3 million sq km, and its population is approaching 1.3 billion. The GDP growth rate is 7.6%. Many Indian customers transact with foreign businesses using the internet and emails. However, businesses extend their reach in India by subscribing to an India ITFS number. An India toll free number gives customers in India a free way to call your business, and will encourage prospects and business contacts to reach out. A toll free forwarding service can be used to route calls from India to your business anywhere in the world.

Can I Send an SMS to an International Number?

Global Call Forwarding does NOT offer SMS for verification of services like whatsapp, facebook, paypal..etc.

Sending International SMS Using AT&T Plans

Subscribers can send unlimited international Short Messaging Service (SMS) text messages using the AT&T Unlimited Plan, Mobile Share Value®, and Mobile Share® plans. The texts can originate from the U.S., Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Users may send text messages to 190 countries and Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) (i.e., picture and video messages) to 120 countries. We will explain how to send an SMS to an International Number?

If an AT&T user is not a subscriber to one of the above plans, they can get an international texting package for as little as $10 per month for 100 texts, pictures, and video texts or $15 per month for 1,000 messages. Message overage costs typically come out to $0.20 per message sent.

The pay-per-use rate to send international texts is $0.25 per SMS sent, with standard messaging rates for SMS text messages received. AT&T charges $0.50 per MMS sent and standard messaging rates apply for every MMS received.

To send a message from the U.S. to another country, dial + (or 011) followed by the country code, area code, and local number.

Sending International SMS Using Verizon

Subscribers to Verizon can send international SMS text messages to over 200 countries and MMS messages to over 100 countries. The process of sending an international message with Verizon is the same as with AT&T. Unlimited international SMS and MMS are included at no cost with the new Verizon Plan, The Verizon Plan, or The MORE Everything® Plan.

With the above plans, messages received, whether from domestic or international sources, are included at no additional cost. If your plan has a received message allowance, international messages received are deducted like received domestic messages. If you do not have a received message allowance, the standard incoming text rate applies to messages that you receive. For prepaid monthly talk plans, SMS texts sent to and from the U.S., Canada, Mexico, and Puerto Rico cost $0.20 per message, and from other destinations, $0.25 per message.

Sending International SMS Using Sprint

Sprint has an Unlimited International Text service that allows customers to send SMS texts to over 180 countries for $10 per month. Messages must originate in the U.S. or a domestic location, including Canada, U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. Subscribers must have a domestic unlimited messaging plan or add-on. Without a plan, users can send or receive international SMS texts for $0.20 per message. However, subscribers cannot send or receive MMS messages.

Sending International SMS Using T-Mobile

T-Mobile ONE plan subscribers and recent Simple Choice Plan members have unlimited calling and SMS messaging from the U.S., Mexico, and Canada as part of their plans. T-Mobile claims that users can send and receive texts to “just about anywhere in the world”.

Sending International SMS Using U.S. Cellular

Many U.S. Cellular plans feature the sending of unlimited international SMS messages at no additional charges. However, before calling or testing international numbers, your account needs an international service feature code and text messaging service. To send an international SMS message, dial the international access code (011). Then dial the country code, the area code, and the local telephone number. U.S. Cellular customers can send SMS text messages to over 100 countries. If your plan charges for text messages, the charges for international and domestic SMS messages are equivalent.

Sending International SMS Using C Spire

To use the C Spire plans, first get the C Spire International Calling App with Global Family for your smart phone. C Spire offers two types of plans: Unlimited Calling with Global Family for $5 per month and the Pay-By-The-Minute plan. Both plans feature free unlimited international SMS to over 140 countries. To send an international SMS message, just dial the recipient’s number, including the country code and send the message.

Sending International SMS Using Ting

Subscribers to Ting have no plans or contracts. Charges depend on the number of lines, nationwide call minutes, the number of global SMS text messages, and nationwide data. Ting bills customers for usage at the end of each billing period. Pictures and video messaging are charged as data and do not count against messages. There are no extra charges for International SMS messages and calls to over 60 countries. Sending an international SMS requires a country code, area code, and a local number.

Sending International SMS from Your Laptop

The subsequent paragraphs give information about sending international SMS messages from your laptop via Wi Fi. This is free of charge; messages are easier and faster to type; and texts are viewable on screens that are larger than smartphone screens.

Text through Email

Sending an SMS using email requires knowledge of the recipient’s 10-digit phone number and domain. Listed below are five common domains:

  • AllTel – @message.alltel.com
  • AT&T – @text.att.net
  • Sprint – @messaging.sprintpcs.com
  • T-Mobile – @tmomail.net
  • Verizon – @vtext.com

Address the email using a combination of the phone number and domain. For example, the address of an email to an AT&T user with a “(123) 456-7890” phone number, would be “1234567890@text.att.net”. A reply to the message goes directly to your email’s inbox.

Text through Wireless Carrier’s Website

You may be able to send SMS texts to other subscribers on your wireless carrier’s website. Specifically, you can do this on Verizon or AT&T by going to your account and following the prompts to send an SMS text.

Text through Google Voice

This is a free service from Google Voice. You can use your existing mobile number or buy a new virtual phone number, and you do not have to know the recipient’s carrier. However, from the U.S., Canada is the only international destination for SMS messages.

Sending International SMS Using WhatsApp

This free mobile application is the world’s most popular communication app. Facebook purchased this app in 2014, and as of February 2016, its user base was 1 billion. Persons, to whom you send international SMS texts, must have WhatsApp installed on their mobiles, and your contact list must have their phone numbers in full international format. WhatsApp uses your phone’s internet connection to send the SMS messages.

Saving Money When Sending International SMS

Several considerations apply to international SMS. Foremost is whether your plan features unlimited sending and receiving of international SMS messages. If you have limited messaging, compare overage costs from various carriers as they vary. When sending texts internationally, check that the foreign carrier accepts SMS messages from your provider. To avoid roaming charges, ask people to use email when you are traveling to other countries. Finally, ask carriers whether they have international packages, which may save you money, and consider some of the free SMS methods discussed in this article.

How Toll Free Numbers Can Be Used to Build Customer Loyalty

As your business grows, you may notice that your current phone number can’t handle the influx of new customers. Or maybe you’re missing out on customer calls because you’re using a landline and your customers are upset that they have to pay to call your business in order to make customer service calls. Perhaps you don’t want to take business calls on your personal phone line anymore. When these thoughts begin to creep in your mind, it’s time to think about getting a separate business line. Doing so can help increase customer loyalty and business credibility.

Benefits of a Toll Free Number for Customer Loyalty

So what is the best option for a separate business line? A toll free number has several benefits for a small business. The number one benefit of a toll free number is that it is a great way to begin building a loyal customer base.

Toll-free numbers or 1-800 numbers, as you may remember them as, grew in popularity in the 90s, but they are still prevalent today. One of the reasons is that they are a free way that your customers can make customer service calls to your company with. A toll-free number also gives your business the ability to reach a national audience no matter how small your company is.

So how does a toll free number build customer loyalty?

Recognition

Toll free numbers are easily recognizable, and therefore people have an ingrained trust of a business with a toll free number. Toll-free numbers have been around long enough that people know that they won’t get charged for calling one and therefore have no qualms about making a phone call to your business when they need to.

Branding

Toll free numbers were created to serve the people of the business that uses them. It also helps to brand your company as a trustful company because a company that chooses a toll free number is associated with a larger company. You get access to an entire nation of customers, too. You can take the number and advertise it on all of your marketing materials. From business cards to billboards, when people begin to see your number everywhere, they will start to recognize your brand and associate the number with your company.

Customer Service

Toll free numbers up to the ante on your customer service. Most people prefer to interact with a live human on the phone when they have a problem with a product or service. They want to speak with someone right away, and they want their issues handled immediately. When you refer to the web for customer service there can be delayed responses. Choosing to staff a friendly customer service representative will do wonders for your business because it helps to put an angry customer at ease. Since many of the issues in a company can be solved over the phone, your customers will be happy with the swift response time and help. You can also offer support to your customers around the clock. Only with a toll-free number can you provide 24-hour customer service which in turn builds customer loyalty.

Customer Loyalty Toll Free Number Call Center
Source: Stockphoto.com O#23559 – ID#100185868144

Did we mention it’s free for customers?

Again, customers do not want to have to pay to call a business that messed up their order. A customer service line should be free if you want your business to be taken seriously.

Memorable

Choosing a vanity number for your toll free line can also make your company much more memorable. Using a vanity such as 1-800-FLOWERS shows your customer base exactly what you are selling. Even if they forget the name of your company, they’re not likely to forget a vanity number like that.

It’s better than emails

When customers are frustrated with your company, no matter how polite you try to sound in an email, it is not going to come across well with an angry customer. Customer service lines are the best way to handle upset consumers. A brief email is no match for a charming human on the other line.

Trustworthy

If you are running an e-commerce website, people may be wary of your business. Many of these e-commerce sites are untrustworthy and sell damaged products. When your e-commerce company provides a customer service phone line, a person is more inclined to trust your company because you have provided them a way to get in immediate contact with your business in case something goes awry.