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A telephone number is a unique sequence of digits assigned to each telephone subscriber station, telephone line, or since the advent of digital telephony to an electronic telephony device, such as a mobile telephone. The telephone number serves as the address to switch telephone calls using a system of destination routing. It is entered or dialed by the calling party on the originating telephone set which transmits it in the process of signaling to a telephone exchange which completes the call either to another locally connected subscriber or via the public switched telephone network (PSTN) to the called party.
The concept of using telephone numbers instead of subscriber names when connecting calls was developed and first used between 1879 and 1880 in Lowell, MA, for the purpose of ease of training new telephone operators. Hotline
A toll-free, Freecall, Freephone, 800, 0800 or 1-800 number is a special telephone number which is free for the calling party, and instead the telephone carrier charges the called party for the cost of the call. A toll-free number is identified by a service access code, from a dialing prefix range similar to a geographic area code, such as "800". The specific service access numbers can vary by country.
The capabilities of toll-free services have evolved as telephone networks have moved from electro-mechanical call switching to fully computerized stored program controlled networks.
A crisis hotline is a phone number people can call to get immediate emergency telephone counseling, usually by trained volunteers. Such hotlines have existed in most major cities of the United States at least since the mid-1970s. Initially set up to help those contemplating suicide, many have expanded their mandate to deal more generally with emotional crises. Similar hotlines operate to help people in other circumstances, including rape victims, bullying victims, runaway children, human trafficking victims, and people who identify as LGBT, or intersex.
1 800 numbers