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Toll free Numbers in Europe: UIFN vs. ITFS

Which should we use? I see mostly ITFS in Germany and the UK

8:01 pm on Oct 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

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10+ Year Member

joined:Oct 6, 2006
votes: 0

Hello All,

I specialize in working with UIFN numbers. Found a closed post below from member "Alpine". Because it was never answered, I thought I could help bridge the gap between ITFS and UIFN and effective placement on a website with some good example websites. I get calls every week.

ITFS (International Toll Free Service) numbers are basically national toll free numbers forwarded abroad. These are very solid can handle many concurrent calls but are difficult to post a large list of different countries in a small amount of space.
Austria 0800 JJJ KKK
Germany 0800 LLL MMMM
Japan 00351 NNN OOO
Spain 900 PPP QQQ

India is a problem country. A domestic toll free was 1-600 XX YYYY and now switched to 1-800 (sometine 6-7 digits). All legal (white route) ITFS are dialed 000800 #*$! YYYY. But to dial international you dial 00 so anyone without international dialing privileges can not call a legal ITFS (white route) in Indian. Many complaints to the Indian Telecom Authority (and VNSL) have landed on deaf ears.

UIFN (Universal International Freephone Number) are a single number that your telecom registers with the ITU (International Telecom Union) and that can be registered in 1 to 35 countries. These can easily be a Vanity number, like +800 COKE COLA. These are placed on the website +800 #*$!X YYYY (with the general understanding the + sign will be your international dialing prefix). These can also be used for many concurrent calls.
Austria 00800 #*$!X YYYY
Germany 00800 #*$!X YYYY
Japan (KDDI 001 010800 #*$!X YYYY)(C&W 0061 010800 #*$!X YYYY)(JT 0041 010800 #*$!X YYYY)(NTT 0033 010800 #*$!X YYYY)
Spain 00800 #*$!X YYYY
UK 00800 #*$!X YYYY
Now you see why it is written with the +800:
+800 #*$!X YYYY
These numbers are not popular in Scandinavia but dialed with success from the rest of Western Europe and most all Asia. These UIFN numbers are never used in USA or Canada. Many companies will first set-up a USA/Canada number like: 1-800 987 6543 and match it with a UIFN +800 0987 6543 (Just add an extra digit to the front or end because UIFN is one digit longer)

Alpine below also wondered about the spacing sometimes 0800 #*$! YY YY and sometimes 0800 #*$! YYYY is just preference.

PDF Example: [firsthealth.com...]
HTML Examples:
Pop-up Example:
[goldenpalace.com...] (and contact us) UIFN
[888.com...] (and 24 hour support) ITFS

I hope this is informative without being an billboard.



Junior Member
joined:Jan 29, 2003
#:496316 10:48 pm on July 26, 2005 (utc 0)

Hello all,
We are registering toll-free numbers for our European customers to call us in California. Are there practical considerations regarding consumer acceptance or functionality of uifn numbers vs. ITFS?

As a point of information, uifn is the system introduced a few years back that allows companies to have one toll-free number across many countries. The format is 800-#*$!X-#*$!X. Each country may also have a different prefix, e.g. Australia is 0011-800-#*$!X-#*$!X, and Finland is 990-800-#*$!X-#*$!X.

ITFS is the "original" toll-free system in which you have a different number in each country, and formats may vary.

I am wondering, specifically because, for example, most German websites I have seen have toll free numbers as 0800-#*$!-XX-XX, which must be ITFS. I see nearly the same format in the UK: 0800-#*$!-#*$!X. I have yet to see sites displaying a uifn number, though I haven't looked terribly hard.

So, I am wondering if the European consumer prefers ITFS numbers, or that somehow uifn numbers aren't as universally connectable from every phone in a given country, etc. I have seen one article (though from Feb 2000) that makes both of these arguments, yet our provider, a big telco, says they process more applications for uifn than ITFS.

Obviously, it is attractive to have one uifn toll-free number across numerous countries, and also saves us $600 per month in recurring fees for all of the numbers needed under ITFS.


[edited by: James_DOW_NET_WORKS at 8:07 pm (utc) on Oct. 6, 2006]


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