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How to choose the right type of service number?

It can be difficult to choose the right type of service number for your business, especially when entering new countries. There are several options around. They don’t always have the same name and they all have different price tags. Which number range is used for a specific kind of service can differ per country. Plus there is usually local legislation you need to be aware of. How do you pick the right type of number?

How to choose the right service number h

Several ways to begin

There are several ways to find out which service number would work best for your company and the service you want to offer. It’s easiest to start by deciding if your customers should pay (part of the costs) for calling you. The price a consumer pays to call a number is different per type of number and can roughly be divided like this:

  • Free to call:
    • Toll-free (Freephone)
    • UIFN (Universal International Freephone Number)
  • Local/regional calling costs:
  • Choose your own rate (per call or per minute):

As you can see, some ranges are referred to in different terms. This can vary per country. Be sure you know if the term used in a country has the same consumer price as you have in mind.

Differences between the types

There are 2 options for both the free to call numbers and the numbers with local/regional calling costs. The most significant differences between the types are:

  • Toll-free numbers usually can only be called within a country, so you need a new number for each country you enter. These numbers are the most customer-friendly for callers as they are well-known for being free to call. You can have the same UIFN number for several countries but they are more expensive and take longer to activate than toll-free numbers. Also, UIFN numbers aren’t available worldwide and the number format can confuse customers as they are less often used.
  • Geographic numbers are great if you want your company to have a local or regional feel as they are tied to a specific area. Business numbers give the impression of a nationwide presence and aren’t tied to a specific area. When moving to another part of the country, you won’t have to change numbers.

What do your competitors use?

Another way to determine the type of number is to do a little investigating and find out what kind of numbers your competitors use. You can easily find out online. It’s also a  smart way to see what is common in your type of business or in a specific country. Especially the latter is important to keep in mind. The types of numbers that are common in one country can be totally different in another country or much harder to obtain.

Don’t forget about local legislation

It’s important to also keep an eye on local legislation. Especially with premium numbers, there are often rules regarding the rates you are allowed to charge and for which services they can be used. Check out the websites of the national regulator to find out if these rules apply to you.

Ask for help

Of course, you don’t have to find it all out by yourself. Yes, you are the one deciding which rate you want your customers to pay for calling you but service number providers can advise you. They know which numbers to use and where to obtain them. They are happy to take all registration, activation and routing work out of your hands. This will not only save you a lot of work but very likely also money as they can often supply better rates.

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