What Are International Toll Free Numbers?

International toll-free numbers combine the familiarity and credibility of toll-free business calling with the global reach of international phone numbers. Like all toll-free numbers, customers or clients can call a business without incurring any charge, no matter where in the world the call originates. International toll-free numbers exist in several forms, but all follow the singular concept of routing a call to a specified location or locations, predetermined by the owner of the toll-free international number.

UIFNs and International Toll-Free Numbers

A universal international freephone number, or UIFN, takes an existing toll-free number and makes it international by attaching an extra digit to it. With this 11-digit format, the new, modified number remains otherwise unchanged everywhere in the entire world. 1-800-LAWYERS, for example, would become +8000-LAWYERS, allowing the business to keep its individual, recognizable vanity number, while letting its associated call center be reached from anywhere in the world. With this minor variation, companies can dramatically extend their global reach without compromising brand awareness associated with their phone number. UIFNs are international toll-free numbers that actually increase international exposure.

Virtual Phone Numbers

Sometimes referred to as DID for "direct inward dialing", virtual phone numbers are a type of international toll-free numbers that aren't associated with a direct phone line. Instead, virtual phone numbers redirect calls place to an international toll-free number to a line or lines determined by the owner of the virtual phone number. Virtual phone numbers have the ability to route calls that originated from the public switched telephone network (PSTN), voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) networks or moble phones. This means that even basic platforms can route calls originating from landlines, cell phones and the Internet, from anywhere in the world.


When making a decision on an international toll-free number, it's important to remember that many competing companies offer similar services and packages. Each business has different needs depending on the particulars of its industry, its size, etc. There are, however, some common features that should be offered by any firm you are considering as the provider of an international toll-free number. In virtually all circumstances, there shouldn't be any activation or set-up fees. The number should be activated and ready to use in just a few moments. The business should always be able to pick its own number. Beware of companies that require monthly or long-term contracts. Although this isn't necessarily a red flag regarding questionable ethics or competence, it's a hassle that can be avoided by simply hiring one of the many services that have monthly, no-obligation policies.