There are broadly 3 types of numbers: long code, toll-free, and short code.
Long code (local) numbers are the most common. For example, your household phone number is a long code number. They have 10 digits, the first 3 of which correspond to the number's exchange code. This is commonly called an area code.
A toll-free number uses a specially designated exchange code, which can be 800, 888, 877, 866, 855, 844, or 833. The name "toll-free" comes from the numbers' original purpose, which was to give individuals a way to contact businesses without incurring any long-distance or call minute charges. This still applies today, although only for landline callers.
A short code number has 5 or 6 digits and is used for messaging. They are often used by organizations, typically at a higher cost per message than regular messages.
If you're setting up a number to receive calls, such as a customer service number or store location number, then you'll want to consider where your callers are located. By taking this into account you can choose a number that will have the appropriate billing structure and make the right impression. If you're setting up a number to make calls, then you have the additional consideration of deliverability.
Toll-free numbers allow your customers to contact you from anywhere in the US without getting charged long-distance fees, as long as they're calling from a landline. Customers calling from a mobile phone will not be charged for the call as long as they have an unlimited calling plan. Calls made to local long code numbers will be billed according to the caller's location, so a long-distance call will cost them more than a local call.
Local numbers feel personal and familiar. For some local businesses and organizations, this might make a local long code number the best choice. Toll-free numbers are specifically business-related and can be made more memorable with phrases. For businesses with a widespread customer-base or a strategic marketing need, a toll-free number is likely the better fit.
Carriers are able to block calls that appear to be spam or nuisance calls. If your call is reported to the FCC as a nuisance call or you use an invalid or spoofed phone number, your calls will likely be blocked. Using a valid number such as a FreeClimb long code or toll-free number, in addition to following FreeClimb's Acceptable Use Policy, can help your calls from being flagged as spam.
When choosing a number for messaging you'll want to consider the content of your messages, as well as how often you'll be communicating with your users. Carriers use filtering systems to detect spam and misuse of numbers. These filtering systems work much like email filtering, where certain content and network patterns might result in the carrier blocking your message.
Automated content, like marketing messages, appointment reminders, chat bots or virtual assistants, notifications, and one-time passwords (OTPs) or PIN codes is typically identified by carriers as application-to-person (A2P) messaging. In the US and Canada, this type of communication is restricted to short code and toll-free numbers by most major carriers. Verizon has made changes to allow A2P messaging on local long code numbers, although this only applies to Verizon subscribers. Sending automated content over a long code number will most likely result in your messages being blocked by carriers.
Two-way messages, like text communication between a customer and a support agent, anonymous conversations between 2 users, or messages to and from a delivery or rideshare driver is typically identified by carriers as person-to-person (P2P) messaging. This type of communication can happen on any type of number without restrictions.
Long code numbers are designed to handle person-to-person messaging and allow 1 message per second. Exceeding that rate will increase the risk of your messages being blocked. Toll-free numbers are designed to handle some business-related messaging and have a slightly higher volume of 3 messages per second allowed. Short code numbers are specifically designed for sending a large volume of messages and allow thousands of messages to be sent per second.
FreeClimb offers both local long code and toll-free numbers to all accounts. While trial accounts have some limitations on outbound communication and use of multiple numbers, there are no restrictions on the types of numbers that can be used. For those interested in using short codes, you can contact support to discuss your campaign.
Updated 10 days ago