Phone number types in Azure Communication Services

Important

Phone number availability is currently restricted to paid Azure subscriptions that have a billing address in the United States and Communication Services resources that have a US data location. Phone numbers cannot be acquired on trial accounts or using Azure free credits. For more information, visit the subscription eligibility section of this document.

Azure Communication Services allows you to use phone numbers to make voice calls and send SMS messages with the public-switched telephone network (PSTN). In this document, we'll review the phone number types, configuration options, and region availability for planning your telephony and SMS solution using Communication Services.

Azure Subscriptions eligibility

To acquire a phone number, you need to be on a paid Azure subscription. Phone numbers can't be acquired on trial accounts or by Azure free credits.

Phone number availability is currently restricted to Azure subscriptions that have a billing address in the United States and Communication Services resources that have a US data location.

Number types and features

Communication Services offers two types of phone numbers: local and toll-free.

Local numbers

Local (Geographic) numbers are 10-digit telephone numbers consisting of the local area codes in the United States. For example, +1 (206) XXX-XXXX is a local number with an area code of 206. This area code is assigned to the city of Seattle. These phone numbers are generally used by individuals and local businesses. Azure Communication Services offers local numbers in the United States. These numbers can be used to place phone calls, but not to send SMS messages.

Toll-free Numbers

Toll-free numbers are 10-digit telephone numbers with distinct area codes that can be called from any phone number free of charge. For example, +1 (800) XXX-XXXX is a toll-free number in the North America region. These phone numbers are generally used for customer service purposes. Azure Communication Services offers toll-free numbers in the United states. These numbers can be used to place phone calls and to send SMS messages. Toll-free numbers cannot be used by people and can only be assigned to applications.

Choosing a phone number type

If your phone number will be used by an application (for example, to make calls or send messages on behalf of your service), you can select a toll-free or local (geographic) number. You can select a toll-free number if your application is sending SMS messages and/or making calls.

If your phone number is being used by a person (for example, a user of your calling application), the local (geographic) phone number must be used.

The table below summarizes these phone number types:

Phone number type Example Country availability Phone Number Capability Common use case
Local (Geographic) +1 (local area code) XXX XX XX US Calling (Outbound) Assigning phone numbers to users in your applications
Toll-Free +1 (toll-free area code) XXX XX XX US Calling (Outbound), SMS (Inbound/Outbound) Assigning phone numbers to Interactive Voice Response (IVR) systems/Bots, SMS applications

Phone number capabilities in Azure Communication Services

Important

Azure Communication Services does not support emergency calling

Azure Communication Services' outbound voice calling services cannot be used for contacting emergency services. You should maintain traditional telephone service for placing emergency calls.

For most phone numbers, we allow you to configure an "a la carte" set of capabilities. These capabilities can be selected as you lease your telephone numbers within Azure Communication Services.

The capabilities that are available to you depend on the country that you're operating within, your use case, and the phone number type that you've selected. These capabilities vary by country due to regulatory requirements. Azure Communication Services offers the following phone number capabilities:

  • One-way outbound SMS This option allows you to send SMS messages to your users. This can be useful in notification and two-factor authentication scenarios.
  • Two-way inbound and outbound SMS This option allows you to send and receive messages from your users using phone numbers. This can be useful in customer service scenarios.
  • One-way outbound telephone calling This option allows you to make calls to your users and configure Caller ID for outbound calls placed by your service. This can be useful in customer service and voice notification scenarios.

Country/region availability

The following table shows you where you can acquire different types of phone numbers along with the inbound and outbound calling and SMS features associated with these phone number types.

Number Type Acquire Numbers In Make Calls To Receive Calls From Send Messages To Receive Messages From
Local (Geographic) US US, Canada, United Kingdom, Germany, France,. +more* US, Canada, United Kingdom, Germany, France,. +more* Not available Not available
Toll-Free US US US US US

*For more details about call destinations and pricing, refer to the pricing page.

Next steps

Quickstarts

Conceptual documentation