Toll Free numbers have gone a long way; nowadays there are hundreds of toll free companies and resellers out there that provide the same basic features. Enhancements on telephone applications enabled toll free service to acquire most if not, all of the telephone applications inherent in landline services.
Consumers now look for quality of service provided by telecommunication companies with respect to appropriate pricing. The advancement of T1 lines and their corresponding circuits, colocation and cooperation between competing companies now allowed to consumer to call different networks which was just a dream 10 years ago. Now wireless phones, VoIP phones, enhanced landline, drives voice communication to its peak.
Analysts believe that wireless communication is going to take over as the main medium of mass media in the near future as wireless bandwidth becomes faster and more secure. Businesses are now trying to integrate as much of their well-invested telecommunication products to wireless and web based applications. Toll Free numbers are a staple for a successful business venture, proven again and again by many different experts, white papers, feasibility studies and old fashion experience. Technology convergence remains fast but what will happen to toll free numbers?
VoIP long distance companies are able to provide toll free service, which is nothing, more than a collect call forwarding service at a much cheaper price than most stand alone toll free providers. Consumers are still wary of using VoIP phone, which have major disadvantages such as calling emergency numbers like 911. Consumers believe that the lack of access to such important government service is not worth the price of reduced long distance cost.
Toll free numbers however, which are dependent on incoming rather than out going minutes are less affected by this and is able to fight and win on a service price war.
The minute cost of toll free numbers has been drastically reduced for the past few years but are they really cheaper? Toll free providers have found myriads of ways to increase profit by adding additional monthly service fees on top of your phone subscription, minimum monthly minutes, expiring pre paid minutes, and the biggest scam of all to win the price war is the multiple leg pricing scheme.
Toll Free numbers as explained before are call forwarding service, which effectively makes it 2 phone calls. The first call from the original caller to the toll free service provider, then another call from the toll free service provider to the service subscriber. This is a great opportunity to charge for more while legally advertising a cheaper price. This annoys consumers but found it difficult to change service provider or acquiring a new number. Vanity numbers are hard to find and takes a week to register. For most businesses the cost of changing service providers is very expensive on wasted time and opportunities
A lot of consumers don’t know that their numbers are “portable” and can be used on any service provider assuming proper legal procedures have been done; this normally takes just as long as registering a new vanity number. There are people who also thought that Telco’s such as AT&T have more numbers in their database for them to choose from, what they don’t realize is that all toll free companies get their number availability from the same place.
Today even experienced toll free service subscriber still fall for tricks made by service provider to make money. The best advice for a good deal is the same as any other consumer advice, shop around, be thorough, and find great toll free service providers out there.
** Carlo Caparras is currently a marketing consultant for several ISP’s, webhosting, web development, outsourcing and telecommunication companies including toll free express (www.tollfreeexpress.com)