Are you a global player?

Zafar Majid, Marketing Manager of alphaTALK, explains how international freephone services can allow customers from all over the world to call your company for free, thereby generating more business.

Are you trying to attract overseas trade with a local UK telephone number? Many prospective customers will hesitate to dial an international number that they do not recognise, with the added uncertainty of not knowing how much the call will cost.

Increasing globalisation has led to a greater demand for international phone services. At first we were seeing foreign companies connecting UK telephone numbers to international call centres in countries like India, USA, and Spain, but now alphaTALK is seeing a much greater use of international numbers by British companies to connect to destinations in the UK.

Most people are aware that you can get an 0800 or 0808 freephone telephone number for your business and, using this number, your UK customers can call you for free from any landline. How many people know that you can actually obtain international freephone numbers that can allow your customers in France to call you for free into the UK? Importantly, it will be a freephone code of their own country that they will instantly recognise; giving them added confidence to use the service.

There are two main types of international freephone services, which we will endeavour to explain in simple terms. Firstly, there are numbers known as International Toll-Free Numbers (ITFN) or International Toll-Free Services (ITFS). These numbers follow a different format in each country; for example, in France toll-free numbers have the prefix 0805 American toll-free numbers typically begin with 1800. In essence, the concept is exactly the same – your caller will be able to call you for free from their own country of origin. Their call will be routed to your destination either in the UK or anywhere else in world. You have complete flexibility to choose where the call is terminated. alphaTALK can help you obtain numbers for over 50 countries worldwide ranging from Argentina to Singapore.

The second product within this genre is called UIFN (Universal International Freephone Number). This is a slightly more complex and technical product, which is a single Freephone number that will allow people from multiple international destinations to ring you for free from wherever they are. You, as the number holder, will pay for the incoming calls, which will vary depending upon from which country they originate.

A Universal International Freephone Number (or UIFN) from alphaTALK offers a single, global toll-free number accessible from an increasing number of overseas locations. This differs from the ITFS number in that by using ITFS you have a different number for each country. However, by using UIFN you have only one number.

This, in a nutshell, is the main difference between these international services. The point is that for marketing purposes, your company needs to take a serious look at one or the other of these services if you are serious about launching your brand internationally. If, on the other hand, you only have one or two international customers who are happy to deal with you on your normal UK number then perhaps there is no need to invest in such a service.


You may not want the customer to call you for free – in which case you have the option to offer them a local geographic number which they will recognise as being a local number. We have the option in most cases to obtain a local city number in any major country of your choice.

For peace of mind, alphaTALK can offer a free review of your circumstances and then advise you which service will best suit your franchise.