Numbers • Last Updated 5/17/2024

Types of Phone Numbers: A Detailed Overview

Discover different types of phone numbers, their benefits, and which number is the best fit for your use case.


By Emily Bowen

types of phone number examples over world map

As you navigate the intricate business communication landscape, choosing the ideal phone number is a minor detail that can significantly impact your company's success. A phone number is more than just a means of contact. It's an essential part of your brand identity.

This straightforward guide will help you navigate the array of phone number types, explore their unique benefits, and learn which number is best for your use case.

Local phone numbers

Local phone numbers, or geographic numbers, are tied to a specific area code within a region. These numbers enable businesses to establish a local presence, fostering trust and familiarity with customers in that particular area. When you opt for a local phone number, you show your customers you're part of their community.

Use cases for this phone number type

  • Real estate agencies: Local numbers help agents appear more approachable to potential clients in a specific area, encouraging them to reach out for assistance.
  • Restaurants: A local number can create a sense of community, making customers feel more comfortable when calling to make a reservation or ask about menu items.
  • Small businesses: Local phone numbers can make small businesses appear more trustworthy and accessible to customers in their area.

Toll-free phone numbers

Toll-free phone numbers are designed for customers to reach businesses without incurring any call charges. Recognizable by their distinct three-digit prefixes—such as 800, 888, or 877—these numbers are ideal for businesses seeking to provide a customer-friendly communication channel. Toll-free numbers are also helpful for companies that serve customers across a large geographic area because customers won’t hesitate to make a long-distance phone call.

Use cases for this phone number type

  • Contact centers: Toll-free numbers enable customers to reach support centers without worrying about call charges, encouraging them to seek help when needed.
  • Retail and ecommerce companies: Providing a toll-free number for order inquiries or issues can increase customer satisfaction and trust in the company, especially for e-commerce brands that do not have physical locations.
  • Nonprofit organizations: Toll-free numbers can be used by nonprofit organizations to facilitate donations, volunteer registrations, and general inquiries without imposing call costs on potential supporters.

Short code numbers

Short code numbers are shortened versions of traditional phone numbers, typically consisting of five or six digits. They're designed for high-throughput communication, such as mass text messaging and marketing campaigns. Short codes are memorable and can help establish brand recognition. However, they can cost your business a bit more than other number types.

Use cases for this phone number type

  • Marketing campaigns: Businesses can use short codes to send customers promotional messages, coupons, or exclusive offers.
  • Two-factor authentication (2FA): Companies can implement short codes to send one-time passwords or verification codes for added security with 2FA.
  • Voting and polls: Short codes enable customers to quickly and easily participate in polls and contests or provide feedback on their experiences.

10-Digit long codes (10DLC)

10DLC are standard, 10-digit phone numbers designed for highest-volume, application-to-person (A2P) messaging. They offer a cost-effective alternative to short codes while still providing the benefits of high throughput and deliverability due to additional compliance controls.

Use cases for 10DLC

  • Customer notifications: Businesses can use 10DLC to send appointment reminders, delivery updates, or order confirmations.
  • Personalized marketing campaigns: 10DLC enables companies to execute targeted marketing campaigns with personalized messaging.
  • Customer support: Businesses can use 10DLC to streamline their customer support communication, providing timely assistance to their clients.

Choosing the right type of phone number is crucial for effective communication and maintaining a professional image. From local and toll-free numbers to short codes and 10DLC, understanding their unique benefits and use cases can help you make the best decision for your business.

Ensure your provider offers different phone number types

In addition to choosing the right type of phone number, it’s important to partner with a provider that can support your messaging and voice needs. Look for a provider that offers a range of phone number types and one that’s equipped with features like number porting, high-quality communications, and, of course, one that offers competitive pricing.

You may also have questions about what type of phone system (the software or infrastructure that enables you to call or text) is right for your business. Of course, there are many things to consider when choosing a phone system—such as whether you’ll select SIP or VoIP. Fortunately, Telnyx’s team of experts can help you choose the best number type, phone system, and any other solutions you may need.

With Telnyx’s global number selection, businesses can establish a local presence in over 60 countries, allowing them to connect with customers in their region. Telnyx offers flexible number porting and easy-to-use SMS and Voice APIs to ensure seamless integration with your business. With competitive pay-as-you-go pricing and reliable call quality, Telnyx ensures your customers have a positive experience when contacting your business.

Additionally, Telnyx numbers provide a comprehensive messaging solution for businesses looking to optimize their communication channels. And last but not least, our customers consistently rank us best-in-class for support, ease of use, and results.

Talk to a Telnyx expert today to learn which number type is best for your business.

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