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  1. #1

    US equivalent of 0845 or 0870 numbers?

    Hi,

    Can someone tell me what the US equivalent of UK-style 0845 and 0870 phone numbers? 0845 numbers are non-geographic local-rate UK numbers, whilst 0870 numbers are non-geographic national-rate UK numbers.

    Are similar-style numbers common in the US? If so, who is the best provider?

    Many thanks,
    Matt
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  2. #2
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    Perhaps you refer to toll-free numbers? Where the person calling the number is charged nothing but what the cost of a local call would normally cost them?

    If that is the case then in the US they are called 800 numbers (though they have expanded to 888 and 877 also).

  3. #3
    I thought that 800 toll-free numbers meant free, as in no cost at all (they call them 0800 numbers here)?

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  4. #4
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    Well we could really be talking apples and oranges here.

    But 800 numbers don't cost the caller anything, unless of course they are using a pay phone. That was more what I meant, and of course their own local phone bill (which is a flat rate).

    Are you looking for people to call you? Or you to call people?

    If the latter, than some phone companies provide this, and you're at the whim of your local provider.

    Unless you go with a VOIP provider like Vonage which can give you a phone number to call locally many states away.

    I apologize if I'm just confusing the issue.

  5. #5
    Thanks again for your reply DoMeric.

    I'm thinking of setting up an 0845 number for people to call in. 0845 numbers, in the UK, cost callers the price of a local-rate phone call (as though they were ringing a domestic number in their local area)... which is around 1p per minute (2c per minute).

    The advantage of such numbers is that they give your business a better image than a local number, they cost the customer very little to call, and you can actually gain revenue from the call costs paid by the customer.

    Is there anything similar in the US?

    Many thanks,
    Matt
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  6. #6
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    Ahhh, I forgot how the telco system works in the UK. See when someone makes a local call here (say from their home or business) to another local home or business it does not cost them any per minute charge.

    In the US a flat rate is charged and that's it for local calls (usually about $20-30 a month is the flat rate).

    For long distance calls (out of their calling area) they then have to pay a per minute charge (anywhere from 4-10 cents per minute).

    So an 800 number would allow non local businesses and homes call you at not per minute charge to them, however you pay a per minute charge when they call you (on your 800 number).

  7. #7
    I see. The UK equivalent of *that* is an 0800 number, which is free for the caller, but the business must pay for all incoming calls.

    It seems like there's no equivalent of 0845/0870/0871 in the US then.

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  8. #8
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    Originally posted by RetroWeb
    It seems like there's no equivalent of 0845/0870/0871 in the US then.
    Indeed. In the US, if someone is calling a number in their local calling area, they are charged a local rate, and if they call outside of it, they are charged a long-distance rate (or to call outside the US, an international rate). There are no special numbers which would allow anyone in the US to pay a local rate for the call... for any number, it depends where the caller is located.

    In the US, 800 (and 866, 877, 888) numbers are very popular for business use, as they allow callers to call from anywhere in the US for free, with the calls paid by the receiver. Obviously you know these in the UK as 0800 numbers. If the US had something like you describe, I'm sure many businesses would use them.
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  9. #9
    Thanks bqinternet.

    The advantage of these numbers in the UK is that they're still cheap, and a lot of business use them, so it doesn't look bad for the business. Obviously everyone always prefers an 0800 number, but sometimes it just isn't practical.

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  10. #10
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    It sounds like what you are describing is a WATs line.

  11. #11
    A WATs line?

    Many thanks,
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  12. #12
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    its prolly cause we dial 1-one plus and not 0-zero plus and that all ten digits are required in the united states
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  13. #13
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    Actually... sounds like a 1-900 number in the US but you wouldn't want *that* stigma, and I think you would have a much harder time getting someone to believe your 1-900 number was legitimate...
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  14. #14
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    Well I agree about the 1-900 line but since they wanted a local number I left that one out.

    A WATS line stands for wide area telephone service . Basically a lot of companies in the United States use to have these lines from phone companies. You can find the definition here: http://www.itcom.itd.umich.edu/glossary.html#w

  15. #15
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    RetroWeb - it's not just 0800 anymore - it's also 0808.

    Never the less, my understanding is...

    0800 - they have in the US - 800, 866 877, 888
    090 - they have in the US - 900

    0845 / 0870 / 0871 - they don't have.

    WebOnce - it's actually very different from a 900 number as all he is asking the customer to pay is the ordinary cost of the call... (or at least that's all he's asking here). i.e. if a customer calls a national number, they usually pay more than a local number per minute, but if they call and 0845 they pay the same local rate regardless of where they're calling which is good. 0870 is the same but rather than local rate it's national rate regardless of where they're calling.

    900 number on the other hand (090 here) you set the price of the call which over here ranges from something like 0.10 - 1.50 per minute - which of course you don't want customers having to phone you on!

  16. #16
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    Well, I figured you could set it at whatever your incured costs would be, which would be basically the same thing
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  17. #17
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    Yeah, most companies here make a decent profit out of it.

    You'll find a few major ISPs in the UK use 090 number for support, typically at 0.50 a minute, 0.75 a minute or 1.50 a minute.

    As you can imagine, it's a nice additional income!

    I wouldn't want to be a customer of a company that does that though.

  18. #18
    Thanks for all the explanations - looks like it would be an 800 or nothing then. No way would I use a 900 number for customers.

    Thanks,
    Matt
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