Toll Free Calling

An automated toll-free service was introduced by AT&T in 1966 for intrastate calling and 1967 for interstate calling as a replacement of operator-assisted collect calling and manual “Zenith” or “Enterprise” numbers. This Inward Wide Area Telephone Service (InWATS) allowed calls to be made directly from anywhere in a predefined area by dialing the prefix 1-800- and a seven-digit number. Since then, several more prefixes have been allocated for toll free dialing such as 844, 855, 866, & 877 with new prefixes reserved for future expansion. In 1982, a ‘Data Base Communication Call Processing Method’ was deployed by AT&T. The called number was an index into a database, allowing a ‘Toll-Free Call’ or ‘800 Call’ to be directed anywhere. The owner of the toll free number can change where the call is directed (where it rings) at any time by notifying the service provider.