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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

10:48 pm on Jul 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

Junior Member

10+ Year Member

joined:Jan 29, 2003
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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-XXXX-XXXX. Each country may also have a different prefix, e.g. Australia is 0011-800-XXXX-XXXX, and Finland is 990-800-XXXX-XXXX.

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-XXX-XX-XX, which must be ITFS. I see nearly the same format in the UK: 0800-XXX-XXXX. 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.