A 1-800 business number is a toll-free phone number, which allows customers to call a business without incurring a charge. The first toll-free number — starting with the area code 800 — was first released by AT&T in 1967, and was wildly popular right away. Previously, customers had to make collect calls, and couldn't be connected until the business agreed to pay in advancel.
In the ensuing years — as both demand for new numbers and the human population grew — the FCC released the prefixes 888, 877, 866, 855 and 844. Studies show, however, that because of its familiarity and longevity, the original 800 area code is still the most effective — and therefore the most sought after by businesses. To this day, 800 is the most commonly dialed area code in the country.
1-800 business numbers can be associated with mobile phones, landlines and voice over Internet protocol, or VoIP, networks. They remove the need for businesses to establish several local numbers over different geographical regions, and can be routed through call-forwarding services to a reception center anywhere in the world. Popular and effective, toll-free vanity numbers — such as 1-800-LAWYERS — can become the centerpiece of branding campaigns by associating the business's name with its phone number.