Toll-free numbers are phone numbers that allow customers around the world to call businesses without incurring charges. The first toll-free number, beginning with the area code 800, was released by AT&T in 1967. The new system became immediately popular right away. Prior to that, customer had to place collect calls, and couldn't be patched through until the business agreed to pay the charges for the call. In the ensuing years, as the supply of 800 numbers became exhausted, the prefixes 888, 877, 866 and 855 were released by the FCC to keep up with growing demand.
0800 numbers are international toll-free numbers, referred to by many in the global community as "freephone" numbers. The telephony systems of many countries around the world use the prefix "0" before the toll-free area code 800 (as opposed to 1-800 in the United States). 0800 numbers were first released in the United Kingdom in 1985, and were adopted as — and remain — the standard — by much of the world.
0800 numbers — like all toll-free numbers — offer several avenues of marketing, branding and customer service for companies that do business internationally. Unlike local numbers, only a single phone number needs to be advertised, no matter the region. 0800 numbers — especially when associated with a vanity number, which spells a business's name or service — are easier to remember, and can become the foundation of branding, as it has for 1-800-FLOWERS. Perhaps most importantly, the prefix 0800 is recognized globally.
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