As the demand for toll-free numbers has grown, the combinations available with the 800 prefix have dwindled. To keep pace, several new prefixes were added to the mix. Now, numbers with 888, 877, 866, 855 are also toll-free. Even with these, many of the desirable 7-digit combinations for vanity numbers using these prefixes are taken.
The year was 1967. The Doors released their self-titled debut album, Louis Leaky announced the discovery of pre-human fossils in Kenya, the Vietnam War raged, and NASA launched the first Saturn V rocket into orbit.
It was also the year that AT&T launched the “inward WATS,” or Wide Area Telecommunications Service, better known as “toll-free” telephone service. INWATS was introduced to reduce the time spent by operators processing toll-collect calls for businesses. Back then, long distance calls were expensive and businesses quickly seized the opportunity to use the service to provide superior customer experiences. The oldest and most well-known of the toll-free area codes in the United States, “800,” was the “.com” calling card for successful businesses.