Customers are the most important tangible assets of any organization, whether small or large. Thus, nowadays, the main focus of organizations has been to provide a communication solution that’s efficient and cost-effective for their customer, regardless of where they are.

Two solutions that help businesses help with this effort are Domestic Toll-Free­ Numbers (DTFNs) and International Toll-Free­ Numbers (ITFNs). These two phone numbers look alike, but they are not. These numbers serve different purpose­s and have different impacts on global business reach. 

And if you want to know how they are different from one another and their unique use cases, read this blog until the very end.

In this blog, we’ll dive into the differences between Domestic Toll-Free vs International Toll-Free numbers so that you can understand their unique roles in modern business communication. By the end of this blog post, you’ll be able to make an informed choice on which one is best for your organization’s specific needs.

What is a Toll-Free Number?

What is a Toll-Free Number

A toll-free number is a telephone number that allows callers to reach businesses and individuals without incurring any call charges.  It means when someone dials a toll-free number, the one receiving the call (recipient) pays for the calls, not the person making the call.

Usually, businesses use­ toll-free numbers for se­rvices like help de­sks or ordering lines. They also use this number to encourage customers to contact them without worrying about incurring long-distance call charges.

In the U.S., toll-fre­e numbers usually start with prefixes: 800, 888, 877, 866, 855, 844, and 833. These prefixes are known as toll-free area codes.

Similarly, a  business can obtain a toll-free numbe­r through a service provide­r like Dialaxy, KrispCall, RingCentral, Dialpad, and so on. These toll-free­ numbers can be linked to office phones, landlines, virtual phones, or eve­n forwarded to cell phones. They can also be used virtually via a VoIP system so that calls can be made or received on any device.

What is a Domestic Toll-Free Number (DTFN)?

What is a Domestic Toll-Free Number

A Domestic Toll-Free Number (DTFN) is a specific type of toll-free telephone number that is intended for use within a specific country or region. It is also known as the National Toll-free number. 

DTFN allows customers to call a business without worrying about long-distance or local call charges when calling from within that country. In contrast, foreign callers can’t access domestic toll-free numbers from their home country. 

Companies often use domestic toll-free­ numbers to expand their local presence. They also use domestic toll-free numbers to provide customers and other stakeholders with a convenient way to contact them free of charge.

What is an International Toll-Free Number (ITFN)?

What is an International Toll-Free Number

The International Toll-Free Number (ITFN) is a type of toll-free number that allows callers from one country to contact businesses or organizations located in another country without having to pay long-distance or international calling fees.

Typically, multinational businesses or organizations that have a global presence use this number to offer a convenient way for their customers or clients in various countries to contact them without the barrier of extra international rates.

Similarly, international toll free numbers have specific country codes, similar to regular phone numbers. The unique part is their accessibility to calle­rs from various countries. Any caller who can make international calls can dial these toll-free­ numbers, and the rece­iver, who owns the number, cove­rs the call cost. So, for clients around the globe, call cost isn’t an obstacle to reaching the company with an ITFN.

How do Domestic Toll-Free Numbers Work?

Domestic toll-free numbers (DTFNs) work by allowing people of a country to make a call to businesses or organizations within the same country free of charge without incurring any call charges. Here’s how they typically work:

  • Number Allocation: Any business in a particular country buys a domestic toll-free phone number from a domestic toll-free number provider. DTFNs usually start with a free­ call area code or prefix of that country. For example, in the case of the USA, these prefixes are 800, 888, 877, 866, 855, 844, and 833.
  • Call Routing: When someone in the same country dials the domestic toll-free phone numbers, the call goes through the local telephone network. Then, it’s directed to the phone system linked to the DTFN.
  • Destination Point: The call is then directed to the specific destination. It could be the company’s call center department or any other department.
  • Call Reception: The staff in the company receives the call on the designated phone line. The caller can then communicate with the staff just like they would over a local phone number without fretting about the outgoing phone charges.
  • Payment Responsibility: The company that owns the DTFN pays the cost of the call. Callers don’t need to pay any charges when they use the DTFN to make calls.

How do International Toll-Free Numbers Work?

International Toll-Free Numbers (ITFNs) work by allowing callers from one country to contact businesses or organizations in another country without incurring any long-distance or international call charges. Here’s how they typically work:

  • Number Allocation: A business or organization gets international toll-free numbers from a telecommunications provider that provides international toll-free numbers considering several factors like price, customer support, features, etc. 
  • Call Routing: A person dials the ITFN from their country. The call then goes through the international telecommunication network to reach the businesses or organizations located in another country. 
  • Destination Point: Calls are directed to their intended destinations.  It could be a he­lp desk, call center, or another department in the company.
  • Call Reception: An organization or business receives inbound calls on a designated telephone phone line. Callers can now communicate with the overseas company without incurring outgoing international call charges.
  • Payment Responsibility: The caller doesn’t pay for the overseas call. Instead, the business or organization that owns the ITFN or the receiver of the calls pays the associated costs. This makes it convenient for customers from other countries to contact the company in another country without worrying about long-distance international call fees.

For example, suppose your business is US-based but has a larger customer base from India and Australia. In that case, you can get an international toll-free number from India and Australia. As a result, customers from these countries can dial an international toll-free service to make outbound calls and get in touch with your business in the US at no cost. You can also forward calls to international call forwarding.

Domestic Toll-Free vs International Toll-Free: Comparisons

Both Domestic toll-free numbers (DTFNs) and International toll-free numbers (ITFNs) are types of telephone numbers that allow a caller to make a call free of charge. However, they differ from each other in several aspects. 

Here is the comparison table of domestic toll-free vs International toll-free numbers:

Parameter Domestic toll-free number International toll-free number
Geographic Coverage      It covers a single country and is used to make phone calls within the country of origin. It covers multiple countries and is used to make the call outside the country of origin.
Who uses it? Generally, businesses with a domestic customer base use a domestic toll-free number to provide their customers with an easy and convenient way to contact them free of charge.  Usually, businesses with customers from different countries use international toll-free numbers to provide their customers with a business phone number to call them anytime they encounter a problem for free and without worrying about international calling fees.
Cost It has lower monthly fees than ITFN. It has higher monthly fees than DTFN.
Call Routing Calls are routed to a dedicated phone line within the country. Calls are routed to multiple international locations.


To wrap up, in this blog post, we focus on understanding the difference between domestic and international toll-free phone numbers. We explore four different aspects-geographic coverage, use cases, call routing techniques, and cost, to highlight the differences between these two toll-free numbers.

Similarly, both domestic and international toll free numbers are beneficial for businesses. They help to attract more prospects, enhance a company’s professional image, and make business marketing more impactful. 

But, when deciding between these two numbers for your business, you need to take into account several considerations like price and availability and weigh the pros and cons of both types of numbers. For beginners in the business arena or those targeting local clientele, domestic toll-free numbers could help them stand out in tough competition. Conversely, big firms with foreign clients and global expansion goals can opt for international toll-free­ numbers to attract wider audiences­.

If you wish to get a cloud-based toll-free number, consider buying it from us. We provide a virtual toll-free phone number at a low cost and is famous for providing excellent customer support. 


How to get a toll-free number?

To get a toll-free number from a service provider like Dialaxy, follow these simple steps:

  1. Sign up for an account and log in.
  2. Choose the country and the preferred virtual phone number from the list.
  3. Choose the appropriate pricing option and make a payment.
  4. Submit the required documents if necessary.

Are international toll-free numbers free to call internationally?

Yes. International toll-free numbers are totally free for callers to make a call internationally. Meanwhile, the owner of the ITFN (International Toll-Free Number), who receives the phone calls, pays for the call, no matter where the caller is located in the world.

What is the meaning of domestic toll-free calls?

Domestic toll-free calls refer to phone calls made within a specific country where the caller is not charged for calls made. The calls are typically made through a Domestic Toll-Free Number (DFTN) provided by businesses or organizations to allow their clients and customers to reach them at no cost.

What happens when you call a toll-free number?

When you call a toll-free number, you don’t have to pay for the call charges; instead, the receiver of the call is liable to pay the call charges. Hence, you can make a call without worrying about call charges.

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