What is a Tier 1 Carrier (& Why Does it Matter for Sales Calls)

Chris Sorensen

May 21, 2024

10 minutes

Table of Contents


  • Using a Tier 1 carrier for sales calls ensures superior call quality, reduced spam flag risk, and efficient routing, which can improve the likelihood of successful interactions.
  • Sales teams benefit from clearer calls with fewer disruptions, which boosts professionalism. The legitimacy of Tier 1 carriers also makes calls placed across these networks less likely to be flagged as “spam likely”.
  • Although the cost is higher, the benefits of using a Tier 1 carrier, such as higher reliability and capacity significantly outweigh the costs.
  • Leveraging a Tier 1 network gives organizations a strategic edge in sales outreach, maximizing both the quantity and quality of connections with prospects.

Are You Missing Out on Better Calls & Live Answer Rates?

Most companies that buy software to power their phone outreach overlook a critical question when choosing their provider:

“What kind of carrier is being used to facilitate my calls?”

The reality is, there are different tiers of phone carriers that software providers look to partner with, and this choice can significantly impact your:

  • Number Reputation
  • Call Deliverability
  • Call Quality

As part of our industry-leading focus on call answer rates, PhoneBurner is proud to use a Tier 1 network. As the first dialing platform to do so, our clients often ask what our investment in premium telecom means for them.

In this article, we’ll elaborate on carrier differences, costs, and benefits so that you have a higher degree of confidence that the calls you place result in a successful and positive interaction.

Let’s peel back the curtain for a quick, but important look into the backbone of your communication infrastructure.

What is a Tier 1 Carrier?

In outbound telecommunications, the term “Tier 1 carrier” or “Tier 1 network” holds significant weight. But what exactly does it mean?

Tier 1 carriers are the top-level carrier networks in the telecommunications industry. They have extensive global infrastructures and maintain direct connections (i.e. trusted relationships) with the major wireless carriers through which most of today’s calls are routed.

Partnering with a Tier 1 carrier isn’t easy. To preserve the integrity of the traffic on their network, these carriers do extensive due diligence on the software providers that they work with.

Frowning prospect taking call over Interconnect or Interexchange carrier

How are Other Carriers Classified?

Only a few carriers are designated as Tier 1. The rest are largely known as Interconnect or Interexchange carriers.

Calls originating from these other carriers are typically routed through multiple networks before being delivered to the call recipient’s phone.

This is an important distinction as the reputation of interconnect carriers (and there are a lot of them) can vary widely. 

As explained in this video, this can contribute to spam labeling, especially when using a phone number without a strong reputation or established call history.

Advantages of Using a Tier 1 Carrier

Having calls routed through a Tier 1 network offers some significant advantages. Here is a look at some of the most impactful:

Call Quality

Tier 1 carriers make massive investments into their network infrastructure to ensure clarity and high-performance. With a Tier 1 carrier, sales representatives enjoy:

  • Superior call quality
  • Reduced latency
  • Protection from distortion and dropped calls.

This enhances professionalism and improves call experiences and outcomes.

Reduced Spam Flag Risk

Sales teams today are deeply concerned about the possibility of their calls being incorrectly labeled as spam by mobile carriers. However, with a Tier 1 network, this risk is significantly mitigated.

Tier 1 carriers have built strong reputations for legitimacy and reliability with mobile carriers. Consequently, when a call originates from a Tier 1 network, it enhances the call's reputational analytics, signaling to carriers that it should be allowed through without being flagged as spam.

Capacity & Scalability

Tier 1 carriers possess significant capacity and scalability to handle large volumes of voice and data traffic. Their robust infrastructure can accommodate sudden spikes in demand without compromising performance, ensuring smooth call delivery even during peak periods.

Efficient & Preferential Routing

Calls originating from a Tier 1 carrier are routed directly to the receiving network, avoiding more complicated pathways that are possible with Interconnect carriers. More prioritized traffic means more efficient routing, which improves:

  • Speed
  • Reliability
  • Deliverability

“Hello” to Higher Answer Rates

The net result of the benefits above is that calls placed on a Tier 1 network are simply more likely to be answered. In fact, PhoneBurner has seen anywhere from a 10% to 30% increase in answer rates when routing calls over a Tier 1 carrier.

What’s more, superior call quality and performance means that answered calls are more likely to result in a quality conversation and a positive outcome.

Learn More: 8 Tactics to Improve Your Live Answer Rates

Disadvantages of Tier 1?

It’s hard to call it a downside, but Tier 1 networks command a premium due to their superior infrastructure and reputation. In other words, it costs more to route calls through a Tier 1 carrier than any of the dozens or hundreds of Interconnect carriers on the market.

Given the value of a call placed vs. a call answered, the benefits of a Tier 1 network far outweigh the added cost. Our customers experience this difference daily.

Testimonial by Will Burns
Doug Miller Testimonial

Comparison: Tier 1 vs Interconnect Carriers

Tier 1 Carrier

Lower-tier/Interconnect Carriers

Call Quality






Capacity and Scalability




High-volume outreach with minimal human effort.

Maximizes dialing efficiency with agents actively involved.

Spam Flag Risk



Conclusion: The Strategic Advantage of Using a Tier 1 Network for Sales Calls

Successful sales outreach hinges on your team’s ability to maximize not only the number of connections you make with your prospects, but the quality of those interactions.

Leveraging a Tier 1 carrier for sales calls gives your organization a strategic edge.

Tier 1 carriers offer unparalleled reliability and call quality, ensuring that conversations are clear and professional. Moreover, as a result of increased trust with the terminating carriers, calls placed over a Tier 1 network have a lower likelihood of being mischaracterized as spam, promoting higher call answer rates and improved call outcomes.

As part of our commitment to lead the industry in answer rates, PhoneBurner proudly partners with a Tier 1 carrier to help our customers maximize quality connections.

Ready to experience what premium telecom can mean for you?
Get a demo or start a free trial today.

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