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The history of 1800 numbers began in 1967 when AT&T introduced them with the aim to minimize the use of collect calls, which were labor intensive due to the need for a live operator to facilitate the calls. The first users of toll free number services were mainly hotel and car rental companies who used these numbers to invite customers to call the 1800 numbers from all over the country to make reservations.
The Ultimate Business Communication Tool
During the era when 1800 numbers were first introduced, they certainly grew as a business tool, but there was one challenge to be faced and this was that AT&T held exclusivity of them and was charging high premiums for the service. In 1984, a federal judge put orders in place, which resulted in competition for long-distance calling rates (including 1800 numbers) to drop dramatically. Companies that had previously been unable to afford 1800 numbers could now use them.
At this point in the history of 1800 numbers, vanity numbers emerged, giving business owners the option to choose their own phone numbers and select something that was easy to remember and applicable to their product and service offerings. A law that was put in place in 1994 then allowed phone number portability from one carrier to another and this allowed any company with a good 1800 number to keep their number despite changing carriers.
The Sudden Availability of 1800 Numbers
During this time in the history of 1800 numbers, having ownership of a 1800 number went from an advantage held only by major organizations to a necessity for companies that were operating on a regional level. This caused an extreme increase in the demand of 1800 numbers. To meet the extreme increase in demand, toll free numbers with the 888 prefix were introduced in 1996. Later in the history of 1800 numbers, toll free numbers with the 877 and 866 prefixes were introduced in 1998 and 1999. In 2010, toll free numbers with the 855 prefix were then introduced.
Meanwhile, with the birth of the Internet and other advances in technology, such as cell phone use, the use of 1800 numbers has gone through another transition. Where 1-800 toll free numbers and toll free numbers with other prefixes were once seen solely as an offering to customers, they are now so much more than that. The history of toll free numbers brings us to today where toll free numbers are also seen as a symbol of professionalism and a well-established business that can be trusted.
1800 Numbers in the Age of Virtual Communications
Virtual toll free numbers and accompanying call forwarding features are a strong part of the history of 1800 numbers now as well, expanding the advantages of 1-800 toll free number use. Being able to provide a toll free phone number to customers, clients, and all business contacts, and to be able to have those calls forwarded to a cell phone or landline phone of one’s choice is becoming commonplace in the increasingly competitive international business world.
Global Call Forwarding has been in the business of providing toll free numbers, vanity numbers, virtual phone numbers, and many complimentary features for businesses for over two decades. With an experienced and professional team of global communication specialists on hand to guide businesses of any size, Global Call Forwarding offers toll free virtual phone numbers and virtual phone numbers with local area codes for over 150 countries across the globe. The use of virtual phone numbers eliminates the need for any expensive and bulky equipment. Calls are less expensive when compared to traditional landline phone systems, and the number of features offered is expansive. Some of the features include call recording, customized greetings, customized ringtones, SMS forwarding and rollover minutes.
The history of 1800 numbers has come a long way from their first introduction in 1967 and frequent advances in technology will ensure the list of features and benefits will continue to grow well into the future, alongside developments in technology.