H I S T O R Y
O F T O L L F R E E
N U M B E R S
A Brief History
The 1-800 n u m b e r got its start in 1967 by AT&T and has been used to
increase sales for business ever since. The idea was to reduce the collect
calls also k n o w n as “reverse charge calls” or “ long- distance calls” and the
need for telephone operators.
Before the existence of toll free numbers, collect callingwas
the first real way to call long-distance that required ahuman
phone operator to connect to another party.
E A R LY W A Y O F CA LLI NG
A few years later, Zenith number also known as
Enterprise number was introduced. It is a free calling
service that allowed a calling party to connect to
another party at absolutely no cost by requesting the
call from switchboard operator.
I N W A T S
(MAY 2 , 1967)
After Zenith number, AT&T
introduced a direct-dial option also
known as “Incoming Wide Area
Telephone Service” or 800-number
It is a long-distance inbound
telephone service in which the
receiver had to pay some fee on a
monthly basis depending upon the
telephone company used,duration
and distance of the calls received.
SINCE AT&T WAS THE SOLE PROVIDER OF LONG-
DISTANCE TELEPHONE SERVICE THROUGHOUT
MOST OF THE UNITED STATES. THIS LED AT&T TO
HAVE ALMOST TOTAL CONTROL OVER
COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY WHICH LED TO
AS A RESULT, AT&T WAS SPLIT INTO 7
INDEPENDENT COMPANIES KNOWN AS “THE 7
BABY BELLS” IN 1984
End of Monopoly(1974)
Vanity phone numbers came into existence shortly
after the breakup of AT&T. As they are easy to
remember, vanity numbers are great for companies
who spend a lot of money on display advertising. Users
could choose their own phone number created like 1-
MODERN DIRECT DIAL
The demand for 800 numbers skyrocketed in 1990s
888 numbers were created in 1996
877 and 866 numbers came available in 1998 and 1999. 855 debuted in 2010.
While internet and email have drastically changed the businesses
communicates,toll free numbers are still considered one of effective
wayto build a professional image for anybrand.
Toll Free Numbers
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PBX, Call center solutions such as VoIP phone
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