About toll-free calling

Toll-free calling refers to a service where a person can call a designated phone number and any cost for calling are to be paid by the recipient of the call. It is often used to contact customer service or place orders or complaints; even if you have to wait a little to be connected, you know they’re the ones covering the calling costs so it’s not as irritating; nowadays just about everyone knows about this service.

But no doubt people have a sense that toll free = a number that starts with 0120. There are in fact toll-free numbers that start with 0800. There’s even a fairly long history behind this; 11-digit toll-free numbers starting with 0800 came into existence in July of 1999. It may look like a cell phone number since it starts with 080, but note that the fourth digit is a 0 (zero) so you can tell the difference that way.


In the United States, the same service where the recipient bears the burden of costs is called toll-free calling (as opposed to “free dial” in Japan), and these numbers may start with 1-800, 1-888, 1-877 etc. Be sure to keep in mind that the Japanese term “free dial” is an English term used only in Japanese.

The crisis of 0120 toll-free numbers

The reality is that 0120 numbers are currently facing a crisis. Numbers starting with 0120 are only followed by 6 digits, meaning only 1 million (10 to the power of 6) 0120 numbers can be given out. Given this depletion and the premium placed on 0120 numbers, 0800 numbers were introduced as a backup but they still have not received widespread acknowledgement.

Despite the lack of recognition, 0800 numbers function exactly the same as 0120 numbers and have potential for the future. It’s relatively easy to obtain 0800 numbers that are easy for customers to remember, such as a play on words or round numbers, and since they are 7 digits long, there are 10 million possible numbers that can be used. There is practically no concern of experiencing a shortage like 0120 numbers are currently facing.

Companies currently using 0800 numbers, including some of the more well-known ones, when displaying their 0800 number, make it clear that they incur no costs to the caller. Since not many people know that these are toll-free numbers, it is necessary to state this together with the phone number. As more people start using 0800 numbers, the awareness that 0800 = toll-free calling will no doubt gradually become more widespread.

How to use a toll-free number once you have one

With a toll-free number it becomes possible to convey to your customers an attitude of openness, saying "please feel free to contact us any time,” but how best to use a 0120 number or 0800 number once you have one?

  • Customer support line -> connect to your call center
  • Questions about an event -> send resources
  • Phone survey -> retrieve survey responses
  • Identity verification -> obtain information about the caller
  • See incoming call status -> obtain detailed usage data

If you’ve ever wanted to customize to your own specifications the actions you take in response to an incoming call, Xoxzo VOICE API is for you.

  • Respond to incoming calls using text to speech (TTS)

    • “Hello, this is Xoxzo, Inc. For questions about API, press 1…” (Then per 3rd bullet below, forward the call to a different number to connect to that department)
    • “Thank you for your call. This is Xoxzo Dental Clinic. To cancel your appointment, please press 3…”
    • “This is the Xoxzo campaign office. We will send a URL for a special discounted shopping site to your phone…” (Then sends an SMS message, per 4th bullet below, “when you have a large amount of information you want to send”)
  • Play MP3 files you have prepared to provide callers with information they are looking for

    • “The next Xoxzo API informational seminar will be held at [time] on [day] of [month] at the Xoxzo Hall’s Conference Room Number 1…” -“Today’s game of SMS versus VOICE at Xoxzo stadium was a draw, 5 to 5. The next game will be on [day] of [month]…”
  • Forward to a different phone number

    • If you set up your office phone to forward calls to your cell phone, you won’t miss any important calls even on your days off
    • Xoxzo’s API makes it easy to forward calls when you want to accept calls for multiple numbers on one phone
  • When you have a large amount of information you want to communicate, send an SMS to the caller and have them “click (or tap) a URL to access a website with information”

  • And so on. There are many different possibilities

constrained only by our users’ imagination and creativity.

Xoxzo's API is also effective for other services such as SMS Delivery VOICE CALL and Conference Call possible with multiple callers. (more details for conference call, please visit here)

We can also provide demos of Xoxzo’s capabilities, focused primarily on the Kanto(around Tokyo, Japan) region but not limited.

Please contact help@xoxzo.com with any questions.

Aiko Yokoyama

Aiko Yokoyama

Customer Success and Operations

Joined January 2014. Experienced as a clerk in Foreign Trading company, started and maintained an online supplement store. Lived in overseas for 15 years. Looking forward to communicating our customers with the broad view based on those experience.