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What is an ITFS Number and How Does it Work?

What is an ITFS Number?

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

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!

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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 include 800 and 0808, and 0500 (infrequent). Toll free numbers are free to call from within the UK. But 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.


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. The 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 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.


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 is one of the largest countries in the world and many Indian customers transact with foreign businesses. 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.

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Your business can get multiple ITFS numbers to communicate effectively with customers around the world. You can quickly sign up online and activate your number within minutes! Browse through our online inventory or call us to learn more!

Your Toll Free Number is BORING – Here’s How to Fix It

It’s not a secret that it’s much easier for people to remember vanity numbers over the average phone number or toll-free number. Vanity numbers are making a comeback in popularity for large and small businesses alike. Any business can benefit from using a vanity number, so here is a deeper look at what they are and what they offer. If your toll-free number is boring and you are ready for an upgrade, read on!

If your toll-free number is boring – Use a vanity number!

Vanity numbers work exactly like toll-free numbers, only you can customize the number to reflect your business or products. For example, 1-800-Flowers lets you know exactly what you’re getting when you dial them.

Vanity numbers have all of the benefits of a toll-free number, plus they are easy for people to remember. The more people who know your number by heart, the more often you will receive calls, and the more sales you can make. Vanity numbers are still at no cost to the customer, and they can be used for marketing purposes. Vanity numbers can be placed on billboards, and the drivers whizzing by can read your ad and remember your number on their commute to work. You should also be advertising your number on your website and business cards. Customers and clients prefer the companies they do business with to have a phone number. This is because they know that they can reach your company at any time and be greeted and helped.

Why are words easier to memorize?

According to cognitive neuroscientists, when a customer wants to remember a telephone number they heard or saw, they will use their “working memory,” which is the “voice” inside of their head. The one you hear when repeating something to yourself silently, so you do not forget. However, repeating something over and over to yourself does not guarantee that you will remember it. While your brain works to try to memorize a number, anything can come along to distract you. Whether it is a crying baby, a barking dog, or a car horn honk, things are always around to distract you from what you want to be doing. This is why we will forget a sequence of numbers no matter how hard we try to remember them. The best way to remember a telephone number is to link the number to something meaningful or memorable. This puts the number into our long-term memories, instead of the short-term ones, which are quickly forgotten. For example, if you associate a phone number with a word, then that word will bring up a picture in your head, which is precisely how vanity numbers work.

Oddly enough, some sequences of numbers are easier to remember for humans than other number sequences. Many American citizens have an easier time remembering a number using the series 1776, as that is the year that America gained independence from Great Britain. A citizen that is not from the US will not have that ability, unless they studied American history or it is important to them for another reason, like a date of birth. If your toll-free number is boring, it won’t stick as much as a number with a more familiar number sequence.

Now that you understand how vanity numbers can work for your business, you can begin your research into choosing the right one for your business. So how do you go about finding the number that you want? It can be tricky, because some of the best number and word associations are already claimed, such as 1-800-CONTACTS. Nonetheless, you can still find a vanity number that will get the job done for you. The first step is to brainstorm a list of numbers and words that would work for your business, and then you can search for these numbers. Some of them may already be taken, but Global Call Forwarding will work with you to find you the best number. One way Global Call Forwarding looks out for its customers is that they offer other toll-free prefixes. So if you won’t budge on a word, then you can make an exception from 1-800 to other alternatives such as 1-855 or 1-866. The popularity of alternate toll-free prefixes is rising, and more people are becoming aware that 1-800 isn’t the only toll-free option. All you need to do is use a little bit of creativity, and you will be on the fast track to success.

Related: Examples of Popular Vanity Phone Numbers

Where Can I Buy A Universal Toll Free Number?

Toll Free Number

A toll free number, also known as a “free phone,” is a phone number in which all charges are incurred by the subscriber for receiving incoming calls. All calls placed to a toll free number are completely free for the caller. Toll free numbers can be used by both landline and mobile phone subscribers. Rates may vary depending on the device.

Toll free numbers are often used by businesses to allow their customers to make inquiries or transactions without incurring any costs. Toll free numbers usually have a 3-digit prefix such as 800, 0800, and 1-800. The 800 prefix is common with most toll free numbers, however, the service access numbers may be country specific.

The modern toll-free services that we have today were upgraded from the traditional electromechanical switching systems when computerized systems were developed. However, toll free services like Global Call Forwarding largely make use of both traditional phone systems and computerized cloud systems.

Toll-free numbers are readily available to anyone who need them for business or for personal uses. There are well over a dozen known toll-free numbers provided by call forwarding providers who offer different packages depending on the volume of calls that you are expecting. Being in business for over 20 years, Global Call Forwarding is one of such companies with flexible offers, and excellent prices for subscribers.

What Are Universal Toll Free Numbers?

Universal toll free numbers are similar to regular toll free numbers in the sense that the calling party bears no cost for making a call. Unlike regular toll free numbers, universal toll free numbers can be dialed from anywhere in the world at no cost. Universal toll free numbers also feature a 3-digit 800 prefix followed by an 8 digit dialing code. This code allows customers from anywhere in the world to contact businesses via phone at no cost. Global Call Forwarding currently offers toll free services in more than 150 countries across the world and this has become a very useful tool for businesses and individuals alike.

Universal toll free numbers are essential for all types of businesses. Businesses that are looking for an opportunity to establish a presence in different countries without setting up a physical office can benefit from universal toll free numbers. For businesses with international clients, a universal toll free number is a unique way of establishing global connections between them and their customers.

To get a universal toll free phone number for your business, you must choose a service provider, after which you will be required to select a plan. Choice of plans include minute-to-minute formats or an inclusive payment plan. Global Call Forwarding offers flexible universal toll free number service plans for all users.

Are Universal Toll Free Numbers Real?

Universal toll free numbers are definitely real! This is indicated by the number of multinational corporations that make use of this service to make their businesses more accessible to their clients and prospective customers abroad. However, a number of people are quite skeptical about these numbers; it just seems too good to be true!

If your business has a specific requirement to have a universal toll free number set up in one or more countries, Global Call Forwarding is a call forwarding provider that services clients across more countries as compared to other service providers. Once you are signed up on their website, you will be provided a free trial that offers you first-hand experience in operating your universal toll free number.

The idea of a universal toll free number is a very practical one. Imagine if every business were required to have a contact number for every country where they operate, or where their goods and services are being offered. It would be quite difficult to centralize customer service activities in this manner. Today, a business in the UK can receive calls from their customers in New York through a universal toll free number. This is where Global Call Forwarding comes in by providing this service to businesses quite conveniently.

On the part of the customer or person initiating the call, it does make a lot of sense to be able to call a company in another country for free. Customers feel more comfortable and reassured about a business that has a toll free number through which they can give feedback about products and services or to make inquiries.

How Do Universal Numbers Work?

The process is very simple from when the call is initiated to the receiver. When a customer initiates a call to a universal toll free number, the call is at no cost to the customer. For the receiving party, all calls will be charged based on the selected plan. Customers are aware that 0800, 800, and 1-800 numbers are toll free, unlike local numbers that do not have these prefixes and are often charged at regular local and international rates when called from within a country or from abroad. With Global Call Forwarding, exceptional call services are guaranteed with a subscription.

Universal toll-free numbers make use of both cloud and traditional telephone systems even though most services provided are cloud based or virtual. Global Call Forwarding offer their subscribers full control of their account management with a very easy-to-use platform that gets you connected.

Where Can I Buy Universal Toll Free Numbers?

For businesses looking to get a universal toll-free number, Global Call Forwarding is a leading company that provides access to flexible package plans that are tailored to serve your business and personal uses.

Subscribers are provided the opportunity to buy universal numbers at very affordable rates. When it comes to additional features, Global Call Forwarding offer a suite of features to accommodate your phone number needs. More importantly, their services are seamless as subscribers are provided with very reliable and efficient support.

Buying a toll free number from Global Call Forwarding is very easy as they have put in a lot of effort to ensure that you will have your toll free number ready to use in a matter of minutes. Their website has been optimized for mobile use so that you can have easy access to your account at any time, wherever you may be.

When you choose a Global Call Forwarding plan, you get more than just a telephone number for your business. You will get additional features like a virtual assistant, sms forwarding, rollover minutes, voicemail, advanced call forwarding, and much more!

What is a Toll Free Number?

Toll-free numbers can help bring more customers and clients to your company by providing them with an easy and free way to connect. A toll-free number helps you reach a wider audience, both locally and internationally.

Here is a comprehensive guide to toll-free numbers for business and their benefits.

Toll-Free Number: Definition and How it Works?

A toll-free number is a business phone number that customers can call for free. These numbers have a distinct code as their prefix to distinguish them from other number types.

For example, the US has 888, 877, 866, 855, 844, 833, and 800 numbers, while the UK has 0808 and 0800 freephone numbers. Other countries use different toll-free number prefixes. However, an 800 number is the most common prefix used across the globe.

To use such a number, businesses subscribe to a toll-free forwarding service that can forward incoming calls from anywhere to any device or location. This way, businesses bear inexpensive calling costs while giving customers a free calling option.

History of Toll-Free Services

AT&T introduced automated 800 services in 1966 for intrastate calls and in 1967 for interstate calls through a system called Inward Wide Area Telephone Service (InWATS).

The issuance of US Patent 4191860A on March 4, 1980, to Roy P Weber of Bell Telephone Laboratories, allowed AT&T to replace the InWATS system. The FCC is responsible for regulating the use of such free calling numbers.

At the time, long-distance calls were expensive. However, this new processing method reduced costs significantly. Further, it allowed small businesses to subscribe to 800 services. As advancements in telecommunications continued, toll-free international calls using call forwarding became available to businesses.

What Are Hosted Toll-Free Numbers?

Virtual or hosted toll-free numbers use international call forwarding to route calls via the internet. Through this process, businesses are able to connect with international clientele through international toll-free numbers (ITFN) without paying expensive international calling rates.

The following steps outline the process for connecting virtual 800 calls.

  1. The caller makes the call by dialing the number.
  2. The Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) or call forwarding service receives the call.
  3. This call is then routed to a different line or number based on predetermined rules set by you or the account manager.
  4. Finally, the call reaches the designated destination.

Different Types of Toll-Free Numbers

There are a few different types of toll-free numbers. All of these numbers do the same thing: they encourage customers to call for free. However, there are a few differences in terms of how they reach customers:

1. Vanity 800 Numbers

A vanity 800 number uses patterns or letters to create a memorable and easy-to-recognize phone number. Popular examples are 800-GOT-JUNK, 1-800-T-MOBILE, or 1-800-WALGREENS. Vanity numbers with patterns would look like this: 800-222-2223 or 888-465-4655. The point is to use a business number creatively to make a strong impression on viewers.

2. Domestic Toll-Free Numbers

A domestic toll-free number of a country is accessible to callers from within that country. These are often called true “800 numbers” and enable toll-free calling within a country. For example, Australian residents can call an 1800 Australian toll-free number for free from inside the country. Additionally, domestic toll-free numbers do not incur additional fees when called from mobile or payphones.

3. International Toll Free Numbers (ITFNs)

ITFNs or ITFS numbers are toll free numbers for different countries. You can get an international toll-free number for almost any country or market you want to expand operations to. Incoming calls to these numbers can be forwarded to any device or location of your choice through international call forwarding. This is a helpful option for companies with a wide international reach or those that want to take their business global.

For example, say your company is located in the US, but you want to connect with UK or Singapore customers. You can purchase UK or Singapore toll-free numbers from a toll-free number provider like Global Call Forwarding. With these numbers, residents from these countries can call your business for free, even if you are not located in or have field offices in those countries. And incoming calls will ring at your main office in the US.

Related: How Much Does an International Toll-Free Number Cost? [2023]

4. Universal International Freephone Numbers

Many business owners want to know if they can purchase toll-free numbers that are free to call from anywhere in the world. Unfortunately, global toll-free numbers, in this sense, do not exist.

However, companies have the option of using a universal international freephone number (UIFN). This is a single toll-free number for multiple countries (up to 65) that participate in the UIFN program, organized by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

There are a few restrictions and complications involved in getting a UIFN; speak with our representatives to learn more.

Benefits of Toll-Free Numbers

So, why does your business need 800 numbers?

Communication and marketing studies have consistently shown that ITFS numbers are beneficial to businesses by enabling them to maintain connections with customers from across the world. An 800 number gives a business the opportunity to create a virtual or local presence in various cities, states, and countries.

Customers have one easy-to-dial and free number to call, and the calls reach the appropriate destinations quickly via call forwarding. This encourages interested prospects and long-term customers to maintain contact with a business. Such communication is necessary for continued sales growth.

Additionally, virtual toll-free numbers come packed with useful communication tools such as:

  • Call forwarding options like simultaneous or sequential ringing, select country forwarding, time-based forwarding, etc.
  • Inbound and outbound call recording
  • IVR systems and extensions
  • Outbound calling with a dynamic caller ID

Do Toll-Free Numbers Work Internationally?

Businesses that wish to expand globally or provide customer support to their international clientele can use 800 numbers and ITFNs that work internationally. With these 800 numbers, your customers in target countries will be able to call your business without any charge to them. Instead, your company pays for the cost of the call.

In other words, a business can get a toll-free number for a different country (say, the US) and route incoming calls to their main office in another country (say, France).  Callers from within the US can call this ITFN for free, and they won’t know that they are being routed to a representative in France.

If you were to use a France-based phone number to contact US customers, they might be reluctant to answer your call or call you back, fearing long-distance rates. They would also have to deal with complicated long-distance calling codes. Market research shows that these two factors will reduce your customer communications, decrease your leads, and cut your revenue.

This is where ITFNs provide useful and cost-efficient. In this case, you can avoid the problem by purchasing a US toll-free number from a provider like Global Call Forwarding. Your US customers can call you for free, and all calls will be easily redirected to your satellite office, customer service center in the US, or your main office in France.

This is a great way to expand your business throughout the world because it provides an inexpensive and efficient way to increase your communication and marketing. Plus, you make it much easier for clients to contact you and they will appreciate it.

How a Toll-Free Service Can Improve your Metrics

The important thing to remember when you buy international toll-free numbers is to make each one serve its own purpose. In this way, you can track the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns. For example, let’s say you are advertising your product or service in several places simultaneously. These are:

  • Your website
  • Television
  • Newspaper
  • Email newsletter
  • Social media
  • Offline marketing platforms

You could use a different toll-free number for each of these mediums. That way, you would be able to track each lead to its original source. Armed with this information, you can adjust your marketing strategies to be more effective where necessary. You will also need to find out any restrictions before you purchase a new number, such as whether the phone number will work with mobile phones or not.

Choosing a Toll-Free Number for Your Company

Effective business and sales communication lead to increased customer satisfaction, which results in more sales. While social media, email, and live chat are important elements of a business’ identity, many clients and customers still prefer direct telephone contact. Based on your business and your goals, it is imperative to choose the right business toll-free number. To learn more or get your own 800 phone number, call us at 1 (888) 908 6171 today!