SOURCE: Zipwhip

October 16, 2013 10:07 ET

First Meeting of Toll-Free Texting Association Gathers to Determine Need for Texting Self-Regulation for Toll-Free Numbers

Industry Organization to Manage Text Provisioning for Providers and Owners of Toll-Free Numbers

SAN JOSE, CA--(Marketwired - Oct 16, 2013) - There are nearly 40 million toll-free numbers in existence today, and tens of millions more ready to be provisioned as new toll-free area codes, such as 844, get turned up later this year and early next year. To address the challenges of properly modernizing those numbers to be able to send and receive text messages, pioneers in the toll-free and text messaging industries are getting together.

A new organization is being discussed during meetings October 14-15 in San Jose, Calif. to determine the need for a dedicated entity to create a healthy toll-free texting ecosystem that can quickly and responsibly bring toll-free texting to the general public. One of the industry's goals is to help change the way consumers and businesses think about toll-free numbers -- that they come to realize any toll-free number can be texted. The organization would be focused on addressing all of the challenges associated with text enabling toll-free numbers.

"A broad range of challenges exist in the provisioning and maintenance of toll-free numbers for texting, ranging from validation to deactivation to issues of spam and fraud," said John Lauer, CEO of text carrier Zipwhip and one of the pioneers of landline and toll-free texting. "Our goal as an industry is to enable a method for provisioning that provides a layer of transparency to the greater texting ecosystem -- including service providers, wireless operators, and other policy organizations -- so that all ecosystem players know who activated the service. This approach would ensure that a given toll-free number was correctly activated and that instances of fraudulent use and spam can be managed."

"The toll-free number is such an instrumental tool for so many businesses, and the functionality of it continues to grow," said William Dudley, Group Director Global Product Strategy and Solutions, SAP Mobile Services. "Our goal with this new association is to make sure that the owners of toll-free numbers are able to fully leverage the most advanced capabilities available in the industry such as messaging. Text enabling toll-free numbers also sets a convergent groundwork to evolve to a more rich communications experience for all participants."

One of the primary functions of an industry organization would be to validate toll-free numbers to ensure they are in working status within the SMS/800 database, the core registrar for toll-free numbers, which indicates that the numbers are live and functional.

"A lot of people don't realize there are nearly 1 million toll-free numbers that have been text enabled over the last several years, but without any central provisioning method, the data shows that a large percentage are not active toll-free numbers anymore," Lauer said. "That leaves a set of routes that are inaccurate and defunct. We need a real solution to allow us to move forward."

Pioneering members of the organization and participants in the planning committee include AlphaTelsys, CTIA: The Wireless Association, Dial800, TEN DIGIT Texting, HeyWire, HyperCube, SAP Mobile Services, TextGen, Twillo, a wireless operator, and Zipwhip. Target members of TFTA are service providers, infrastructure developers and toll-free RespOrgs.

Contact Information

  • For more information, contact:
    Laura Borgstede
    Calysto Communications
    404-266-2060 x.11 or 404-386-0937
    Lborgstede@calysto.com