Posted 21 August 2010 - 05:00 PM
You're forgetting that while residential customers have been enjoying unlimited long distance since the late 90's, a large number of carriers who provide business services won't do that, as they tend to chew through enough minutes to make flat rate billing unprofitable unless you interconnect with people that re-originate through a skype client or something.
As for cell phones, I can still see where a world without toll-free numbers would be a problem. I know a number of people who'll blow through their minute allowances very, very quickly.
Besides, while we may not necessarily need toll-frees, I get the feeling companies think they add to a professional image, or help perform route distribution to either multiple call centers, or over a carrier they're confident will survive an onslaught of calls like the one people who air TV commercials get. No, seriously, people actually call the numbers on those commercials. Someone who works for a company that provides service for just that sort of an arrangement tells me a typical commercial will generate about 200 calls when it airs. That's not the only case either. Try calling any large airline during the holidays, or when unusual weather conditions cancel a flight.
The great thing about a toll-free is it's non-geographic; you don't necessarily have to make it terminate to the same number from every location. If a business that gets insane amounts of traffic has a DID on, say, a switch in Colorado they use for customer service, and the terminating switch or the tandem it homes off encounters a circuit busy condition, they're sunk. With a toll-free, that doesn't necessarily have to be the case.