Toll-Free Numbers have been a staple of consumer-to-business communications for decades. And today, Toll-Free is evolving from voice-only into a more complex multimedia communications service, creating the need for cooperation among service providers.
Sending a text message to a Toll-Free Number became possible nearly a decade ago. But as is often true with nascent markets, texting to Toll-Free services are experiencing growing pains.
One of the main issues has been the reoccurrence of Toll-Free Numbers being text-enabled without authorization from the Resp Org — or in some cases — from the subscriber of the Toll-Free Number. While the Resp Org has been designated by the FCC as the agent for the subscriber to obtain Toll-Free Numbers and provide routing reference information in the SMS/800 platform, this has been ignored by some parties that provide texting services to Toll-Free Numbers.
This has resulted in text messages being sent to parties other than the Toll-Free subscriber, causing consumer confusion, business disruption, and potentially fraud. Most common is the unauthorized text-enablement of shared use Toll-Free Numbers, or those used under a bundled services agreement. In both instances, the Resp Org maintains full use rights to the Toll-Free Number, not the subscriber.
This lack of control has also caused confusion in the marketplace and has hampered the potential to increase the utility of Toll-Free Numbers. It’s critical for the industry to follow sensible rules that will restore order to the texting to Toll-Free ecosystem and ensure the integrity of this vital communications service.
Somos’ FCC petition reaffirms the authority of the Resp Org over Toll-Free numbers across all communications services, including texting. The petition also asks the FCC to clarify Somos’ role as the neutral registry administrator over all associated services that use Toll-Free numbers.
We urge you to take action and file in support of our petition by December 5. For more information or for help in filing, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Let’s come together as industry partners to ensure that Toll-Free can keep us connected for years to come!