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Home » Learn » What is an International Toll Free Number (ITFN)?

What is an International Toll Free Number (ITFN)?

international toll free number

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In this guide, we share everything there is to know about international toll free numbers.

What is an International Toll Free Number?

An International Toll Free Number, or an ITFN, is a phone number that can be dialed free of charge and connects calls to representatives in other countries. Incoming calls to an ITFN are forwarded internationally to another phone or PBX anywhere in the world. It is one of the most cost-effective options for a business wanting to expand operations internationally.

An example of an international toll free number would be an 888 number in the United States or an 0800 number in the United Kingdom that gets answered by representatives in another country or other countries.

Are ITFNs Free to Call Internationally?

Traditional toll free numbers are usually not free to call internationally. They are country-specific, meaning that callers from a specific country can only dial a number for free if the number is specific to their country.

For example, calls to an 888 number in the United States would only be free if the call is made from North America. The number could still be dialed from other countries but callers would be subject to international tariffs.

Some ITFN, on the other hand, cannot be dialed internationally at all. An example of this would be an 800 number in the UAE that is only accessible to callers in the United Arab Emirates. Although this seems like a potential challenge, an easy solution is to get an international toll free number supported by an ITFS. 

ITFN Versus ITFS

ITFN is supported by International Toll Free Service. ITFS is a telephone service that enables callers from one country to make free phone calls to another country. It improves businesses’ international reachability as they are able to provide toll free telephone access to contacts located outside the country.

It also helps businesses outsource various processes to third-party vendors that charge lower wages. According to Grandview Research, the BPO Market will reach $405 billion by 2027. In addition to significant cost-savings, many top organizations also consider outsourcing as a solution to meet back-office requirements related to skill-set and productivity.

What are the Types of International Toll Free Service?

There are three main types of ITFS. Each type of international toll free service provides end-to-end call origination and termination. Modern providers will usually implement a turnkey solution rendering the different types less relevant to users these days.

  • Basic ITFS
  • End User Dedicated ITFS
  • Switchless ITFS

Types of International Toll Free Numbers

Many people have questions about the different types of international toll free numbers, so we describe them and explain the pricing and differences below.

International Toll Free Numbers (ITFN)

ITFNs are the ideal solution for businesses looking to use toll free numbers for international countries. A classic example would be an international 800 number in the US forwarding calls overseas. These have significant advantages, including cost, reachability, and flexibility, over other types of numbers. These numbers can be forwarded internationally, enabling businesses to establish a presence virtually anywhere in the world. The cost for international toll free numbers starts as low as $13 per month.

Universal International Freephone Numbers (UIFN)

The International Telecommunications Union issues Universal International Freephone Numbers, or “global” toll free numbers. UIFN can be dialed the same, free of charge, from up to 40 countries around the world. These numbers are not accessible from all mobile phones, however. Dial-out conventions can also vary across countries. The cost is significantly higher for this solution. Monthly pricing starts at $80 per month plus setup charges.

Domestic Toll Free Numbers (TFN)

Domestic toll free numbers are classic 800 numbers that can only be dialed from inside the country where the phone number is located. They are generally not accessible from other countries. Pricing for these start at $13 per month.

Which is the Right Choice for You?

A common question asked by many businesses, is UIFN or ITFN? As you can see above, three different models can exist for your business, but we found that in general, international toll free numbers are the right choice. They offer key advantages including flexibility and cost-savings. We recommend getting multiple ITFNs rather than opting for another type of number. If you still have questions, feel free to reach out to us or try our service risk-free for 15 days!