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Who is Somos? What is their role?

Somos administers and operates a centralized platform called the SMS/800 TFN Registry, for Toll-Free Number (800, 888, 877, 866, 855, 844, 833 or other 8xx open code) management. All companies that assign Toll-Free Numbers for use within the North American Numbering Plan (NANP) must access the SMS/800 TFN Registry to verify the availability of specific numbers, reserve those numbers on behalf of their customers, and create call routing records to be downloaded to Service Control Points (SCPs) that activate the number within the live telephone network.

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How are Toll-Free calls completed?

When you dial a Toll-Free Number, you're telling the phone network that special processing is needed. The network queries a Service Control Point (SCP) for carrier, termination, and other routing information.  Once the SCP has identified the appropriate routing information, instructions are then sent back to the network to complete the call.  

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How can I get a specific Toll-Free Number (or vanity number) for my business?

A vanity number is a Toll-Free Number that also spells a name such as a person or company. For example, 888-639-2277 spells 888-NEW CARS. Toll-Free Service Providers can help you find available vanity numbers that support your brand, campaign, or message.

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How can I get a Toll-Free Number?

Any person or company who wants to obtain a Toll-Free Number should contact a Toll-Free Service Provider.  Toll-Free Service Providers have access to the SMS/800 TFN Registry which shows the current status of all Toll-Free Numbers. Unassigned Toll-Free Numbers can be reserved on a first-come, first-served basis.

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How does the TSS Registry interact with the existing SMS/800 TFN Registry?

The TSS Registry operates independently from the SMS/800 TFN Registry but interacts with it to provide confirmation that Toll-Free Numbers are working before the system accepts a service enablement request.  The TSS Registry also notifies the Resp Org of record when new service enablement requests are made, and the Resp Org will have the opportunity to review the request.

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How does the TSS Registry work?

Companies that offer texting on Toll-Free Numbers (whom we call Service Registrars) can enable and set up routing in the TSS Registry on behalf of their customers.  The TSS Registry then performs a series of validations to ensure that the integrity of the Toll-Free Number is maintained across all communication types (voice, texting, etc.).  Once the validations are completed and the request is authorized by the Resp Org of record, the TSS Registry distributes the text routing information to message Routing Database Providers who serve mobile-network operators for message routing.

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How much does it cost to get a Toll-Free Number for my business?

The cost is determined in an agreement between you and your Toll-Free Service Provider.

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If I change my Toll-Free Service Provider, will I have to get a new Toll-Free Number?

You will not need to get a new Toll-Free Number if you change your Toll-Free Service Provider. Number portability means that Toll-Free Subscribers can change providers without having to obtain a new Toll-Free Number.

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Is it ok to act as a broker and buy and sell Toll-Free Numbers?

No. The practice of hoarding and brokering Toll-Free Numbers is not in the public interest and parties that hoard and broker numbers will be subject to penalties issued by the FCC.

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What is the cost if I want to access TSS Registry routing data?

We will provide the routing information for free to anyone who wants it after payment of a one-time set up charge.

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What I should do when I have a complaint related to Toll-Free Services?

If you have a problem with a company providing these services, you should first try to resolve your complaint with the company providing the service or the company billing for the service. If you are unsuccessful in resolving the problem, you may call the FCC at 888-Call-FCC or visit their website at www.fcc.gov.

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What is the FCC’s Role in overseeing Toll-Free communications?

The FCC regulates or sets the rules under which Toll-Free Numbers can be used or obtained. The FCC requires that Toll-Free Numbers be portable, meaning that a subscriber can “port” a number when changing Toll-Free Service Providers. The FCC’s rules designate the criteria for determining the status of each Toll-Free Number, and prohibit “warehousing” and “hoarding” of numbers.

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What is the Texting & Smart Services (TSS) Registry?

The TSS Registry is the centralized database of all text enabled Toll-Free Numbers.

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Who do I contact if I have additional questions about the TSS Registry?

We are available to answer any questions or discuss any concerns you may have.  Please send an email to texting@somos.com and someone will reach out to you promptly.

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Why become a Toll-Free Service Provider?

By becoming a Toll-Free Service Provider, your organization would have access to the SMS/800 database and would be able to reserve and maintain your own Toll-Free Number(s) without relying on another company.

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Why is it called Toll-Free?

Toll-Free Numbers allow callers to reach businesses and/or individuals without being charged for the call. The charge for using a Toll-Free Number is paid by the called party (the Toll-Free Subscriber) instead of the calling party. Calls to Toll-Free Numbers can be routed to any business or personal telephone line.

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Why is Somos leading the text enabled Toll-Free Numbers effort?

As the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)-appointed administrator in North America, Somos is focused on maintaining the vitality and integrity of all Toll-Free services.  Our members include over 450 Toll-Free Service Providers (Resp Orgs) and have relied on us for over twenty years to provide a reliable and unbiased system that supports number reservation, accurate routing information, and the expert management of all Toll-Free Numbers.

As Toll-Free becomes a multimedia service, our members believe it is critical for Somos to play a central role to ensure fairness and full transparency in the marketplace, and Somos has a vested interest in maintaining the integrity of the Toll-Free Industry.

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Why is the TSS Registry needed?

As with any competitive communications service, it is essential to have an authoritative registry – administered by a neutral entity – to indicate which service provider is associated with each text-enabled Toll-Free Number.  The TSS Registry also provides routing information so that text messages are directed to the proper Toll-Free Number every time.

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What is a Service Registrar?

A Service Registrar is an organization who is certified to text enable Toll-Free Numbers through the TSS Registry. 

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