Toll free phone service has steadily grown in popularity over the past few decades. It seems every company—from corporations selling luxury items to web businesses selling one item—have their own toll free phone number.
News reports have warned that with the popularity of 1-800 numbers soaring, while supplies remain limited, the amount of available toll free numbers is dwindling. The FCC has reserved toll free area codes to address a shortage.
So, just how many toll free numbers are there?
The four area codes currently available —800, 888, 877 & 866–total 31,000,000 toll free numbers. Each area code has 7.7 million potential combinations. (some combinations within each area code group are blocked from use by the FCC) It is estimated that 19 million (or 65%) of all available toll free numbers are currently registered.
The specific breakdown is as follows:
6.5 million 1-800 numbers
5 million 888 phone numbers
4.9 million 877 numbers
3.1 million 866 numbers
The 800 numbers, the first and most popular of the four area codes, are sometimes difficult to obtain. Many combinations are already being used-and the numbers are so effective it is rare that they are returned into the system. The newest area code, 866, still has many numbers remaining.
When the FCC releases the new 855, 844, 833 and 822 phone numbers, subscribers will rush to obtain what are considered the “best” numbers. These numbers cannot be guaranteed to any specific subscriber prior to their release.
To learn more about how to be prepared to obtain a new toll free phone number, go to Tollfreenumber.ORG.