Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Toll free not really toll free: I'm amazed by the number of people who don't know when a toll free number is not toll free?

Some people advertise their numbers as toll free….. But when is a toll free number actually not toll free?
Let's start with a definition: 'toll free' means that the caller pays nothing for the call. In South Africa, there are various types of toll free numbers depending on where you call from.

If you call from a Telkom land-line, then 0800 numbers are toll free. Calling these numbers from any cell phone is not free!

If you call from a Vodacom cell phone, then there's a list of toll free numbers e.g. 111, 121

If you call from an MTN or CellC cell phone, then there's a different list of toll free numbers e.g. 808 (for MTN) or 140 for CellC

So, it's simple really - dialling 0800 from a Telkom phone is toll free

Dialling 08anything other than 080 is not toll free.

086 numbers are not toll free.

086x is not toll free, and as the x increases, so does the call cost per minute i.e 0860 costs less than 0861 which costs less than 0862 which costs less than 0867

0865 calls are fax to email calls - here the caller pays over R2 per minute (it's free to the person receiving the fax though)

0860 is called a ShareCall number and the cost is shared by the caller (national cost) and the called (the remainder)

0861 is called a MaxiCall number and is paid by the caller at national rates (even if you're calling from the next door building!).

See here for more:
Hellkom: Hellkom 0860 research
And from Telkom: Telkom pricing


  1. Well done to the following for correcting their web sites:

    The following are still misleading the public:
    and many, many more.....
    Just do a google searches for the following:
    tollfree site:za +086

  2. 0800 Freephone numbers have now been around for a very long time, and are universally the most recognized number range. The vast majority of members of the public understand that 0800 freephone numbers are numbers which you can call free of charge, hence their popularity. The call charges are paid by the number holder and how much they pay will have already have been agreed at the outset with their service provider. The cost will vary also upon where the call is terminated. If your 0800 numbers are connected directly to a mobile it is more expensive then if it is connected to a landline. The main point to consider at this stage is that it is a free call for your customers. Over the last few years the cost of maintaining an 0800 number has come down so drastically that it is no longer an exclusive service available only for large blue chip companies. Many companies ranging from small one man operations to medium sized enterprises are now benefiting from this unique product.

  3. Toll free number of course is free of charge when you call using your land line. Reason why many companies are using this number becasue of the professional image it brought to the company.


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