Landline numbers operate on PSTN over copper phone lines. Remember our childhoods when we had party lines and the phone set was connected to a cable that connected through the wall of the room and from there through the phone lines on the telephone poles? Landline numbers are traditionally linked to a specific device like a landline phone set or traditional PBX. If people call your landline phone number, you will not hear your device ring if you are not near enough to it. As silly as that sounds, it’s true. If your landline phone number is linked to a phone set at your office in Panama City, and you travel to Istanbul, you won’t receive calls made to it unless you pay your traditional phone company exhorbitant per minute charges for call forwarding.
Cell phone numbers (aka mobile phone numbers) operate over cellular networks through handheld devices. Mobile or cell phones are assigned dedicated mobile phone codes within the country’s telephone numbering plan such +1 US, 850 Northwest Florida, 207 Pensacola, etc. The US, its territories, the Caribbean and Canada are unique in how this is handled than in other countries. Mobile and landline numbers in these areas are not that much different from each other.
VoIP phone numbers operate on VoIP networks. They are identifiers used to place phone calls. VoIP phone numbers look and act like regular phone numbers on the surface. The set of digits are spoken to a dialpad or device or entered on a dial pad and then they connect two or more people to talk. People carry their VoIP phone numbers with them no matter where they go in the world. VoIP phone numbers look, on the surface, like they are associated with a certain area code. To a VoIP network, there is not much difference among local, national or international numbers…because again, we note that you can receive live phone calls on your VoIP number no matter where you are on planet Earth. If your VoIP phone number has digits typically associated with, for example, Tokyo, Mexico City, Bangkok, or Manhattan area, people can dial any of those five VoIP phone numbers, and you will receive the phone call on the device that you have set for it to be received. You could be in Canberra, Paris, or Harari, and still receive that phone call.
What’s so great about VoIP phone numbers is that incoming calls can ring on more than one device you own at at one time, so you can receive calls in the most convenient way for you. You an have VoIP phone numbers ring on an IP hard hand set, on a SIP client, on a mobile app, or on a special gadget meant for enabling you to receive phone calls on your laptop or tablet. Because VoIP numbers do not have to be linked to a specific area code or city, they are also called virtual phone numbers or virtual phone lines. VoIP numbers follow the “owner” wherever she or he goes. This offers the highly empowering feature of mobility!
Tollfree phone numbers (aka freephone numbers) are phone numbers that are billed for every single phone call made to them. The person or organization that owns the tollfree phone number pays that bill, not the people who dial the tollfree phone number. The person who originates, from a landline or even some mobile lines, the call to a toll-free incurs zero charges. People and organizations that own tollfree phone numbers have them so that their current and potential VIP (customers, colleagues, vendors, etc.) can place phone calls to them free. Similarly, people and organizations that own VoIP or virtual phone numbers and lines…have them so that their current and potential VIP anywhere in the world dial that local number free. More incoming calls from the people who matter!
National numbers are phone numbers that are not geographically-specific. They are available with a goal to make a person or organization reachable from anywhere in a certain country. No matter where an entity is calling the national phone number from, the cost will be no different. National phone numbers are available in many nations, but not in the United States or Canada. They are used by people and organizations that want to make it affordable and easy for their potential and current VIP (very important people) like customers, colleagues, and vendors.
How does SMS figure in? Customers can send SMS (aka text) messages to any of the above phone numbers and phone lines, only if they are “SMS enabled.” In turn, businesses can send SMS messages in reply to the customers.
Our DIDX team plans to share a Facebook Live talk soon by DIDX Business Development Executive Moeed Alam, in which the topic will be about different kinds of phone numbers on the DIDX Facebook page.