The newest toll-free area code: 833

WASHINGTON — Herndon, Virginia-based toll-free register manager Somos Inc. has added the number 833 to the list of available area codes for toll-free numbers, citing increased demand for such phone numbers.

The last time a new toll-free area code was opened up was three years ago.

The new area code joins 800, 888, 877, 866, 855 and 844 on the list available toll-free area codes.

In addition to addressing the need for another toll-free area code, the move opens up availability of “vanity” numbers for businesses, such as those that spell out a company name or product, that might not currently be available.

“It’s a great opportunity for businesses to secure an easy-to-remember Toll-Free Number,” said Joel Bernstein, Vice President of Regulatory and Public Policy. “For businesses that already have an 800 number or an 888 number, they might want to check if the 833 version is available for them. It helps keep their brand secure and expands their existing phone channel.”

Somos manages the SMS/800 Toll-Free Number Registry, the national resource for toll-free number service providers to search and reserve a toll-free number assignment.

The FCC approved the new 833 area code because of high demand for toll-free numbers, Somos said.

Demand for toll-free numbers continues to grow despite the proliferation of cellphones, whose calling plans don’t charge for long distance calls.

“Toll-free numbers were originally developed for handling long-distance charges but marketers are using them more and more for a variety of reasons, such as tracking campaigns and gathering marketing analytics,” Michelle Larsen at Somos told WTOP.

“Toll-free numbers also don’t tie your business to any particular geographic area, and consumers associate toll-free numbers with credibility,” she said.

There are currently 41 million toll-free numbers either in-use or reserved for future use in the U.S. and Canada currently.

Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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