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Thread: Caller ID question

  1. #1
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    Caller ID question

    I've been having an issue with my iPhone 4S displaying an erroneous name on any landline phone. The explanation I received from AT&T (my wireless carrier) is almost beyond belief but would explain what's happening. To wit-

    The Problem

    (1) Any cell phone I call from my existing iPhone 4S displays my phone number UNLESS they have the number in their address book. This I have verified.

    (2) Almost every LANDLINE I call that has Caller ID support displays a name that is apparently the name of the person that previously owned the number. The one exception that I have identified so far is from Viatalk, an independent VOIP provider much like Vonage.

    The Gospel according to AT&T

    (1) Virtually all assigned cell phone numbers are recycled from a pool (at least with AT&T).

    (2) Irrespective of the Caller ID stored in the AT&T system, any landline phone will vector the incoming call to its own internal database (which gets "updated' anywhere at 6-month to 2-year intervals), pulls the Caller ID from that database, and sends that information to the landline user's phone.

    (3) Exactly how the landline provider's database is updated is unknown.

    (4) A call to 2 different landline providers (Cox Cable and Verizon DSL) gave the same explanation - "WTF have you been smokin', boy, we just pass the <caller id> information on".

    (5) The only mitigation to avoid displaying the wrong Caller ID is to turn it off on your wireless device, at which point the landline provider would get "private" or "blocked" messages.

    The AT&T explanation accurately describes the issues I've been seeing, but it seems that in this day and age the problem (if the AT&T explanation is true) is easily solvable with some minor software/firmware change at the provider.

    I tried researching this on Google but could not find any definitive answer. Has anyone else ever heard of this almost unbelievable explanation? Is AT&T blowing smoke up my unowhat just to shut me up? If you really have to wait 6-months to 2 years to display a valid Caller ID, then...errr...WTF good is it ?
    I am El Supremo, master of all I survey, a legend in my own mind...

  2. #2
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    What At&t told you is absolutely correct. Cellular carriers do not broadcast your caller ID name directly. Landline carriers use their own internal data base and that is updated on their own schedule.
    If I'm annoyed and you're annoyed, does that make us a paranoid ??

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    Carriers can always choose to go back to the primary carrier for each caller's name, but then they have to pay a fee each time. I think they decided awhile ago it just wasn't worth it. Of course, that devalues their Caller ID Name product - and that may eventually bite them in the rear.

    EDIT: I think they can also pay that third party (which manages the list of used and available phone numbers) each time, instead of the originating carrier.
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    I now believe. A second AT&T rep told me that the carriers need to use a specific "tool" to get updated Caller ID information, and that it "costs them money" (AT&T fees?) to use it. The larger carriers usually do updates, the smaller ones not so much. Cox cable is apparently one of the "not so much" carriers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LSupremo View Post
    I now believe. A second AT&T rep told me that the carriers need to use a specific "tool" to get updated Caller ID information, and that it "costs them money" (AT&T fees?) to use it. The larger carriers usually do updates, the smaller ones not so much. Cox cable is apparently one of the "not so much" carriers.
    You're probably too young to have a virgin phone number.

    My landline number was "virgin" when I got it, a new prefix, and again when we had some area code splits in the Bay Area.

    My mobile number was probably not virgin, but I think only one person had it before me and I got it so long ago it is a non-issue. But I have also signed up for prepaid service, for myself and for my parents in the last 5 years, and all those numbers were not virgin. I never considered the caller id name issue, but the problem with people calling and eating our prepaid minutes was a pain. Texts too.

    You didn't tell us how long you had this number so far...

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    Not a great solution, but if you have a Google Voice capable phone, us that number. You can set it to make calls display that Google voice number.

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    As you've already been told by others, AT&T gave you essentially correct information. The only thing I'd disagree with is item 2 - that it can take six months to two years for a landline phone to see the update. Verizon, at least in my area, updates every few hours. I imagine some other carriers do, too.

    The web site http://tnid.us/ will return the caller id name it believes is associated with your phone line. It is updated at least every few days, perhaps in just a few hours. Try entering your phone number there and see if they give you the correct caller id name. Note that I can't guarantee that they won't sell your phone number so use the web site at your own risk. I have tested my own phone number there, and not started receiving spam messages or telemarketing calls, but you've been warned.

    If that web site gives the correct caller id name, then there is nothing further you can do.

    If that gives you the wrong caller id name (or if you'd rather not try that web site) then my next suggestion is to try changing the name associated with the line in OLAM. AT&T submits that name to the caller id data base, so that will be the name that people see as the caller id name, whenever their carrier's data base is updated. I've done this myself, so I know it works.

    To make the change, log in to OLAM, and change your user name by selecting "My AT&T -> Profile" at the top of the first OLAM page. Then select the "User Information" tab on the resultant page. Next, select "Edit Information" in the "Primary User" box. You can confirm you're in the right place because you'll see this message:
    Update your user contact information below and select the 'Save Changes' button. NOTE: Changing your user name information will update the name displayed on Caller ID up to 24 hours later. Additional expectations can be found on the Answer Center. To keep your current user content information, select the 'Cancel' button.
    Change your name in some way, and save it.

    Hopefully, within a day or two, the new name will propagate to caller id.

    Good luck!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by gregsmith59 View Post
    You're probably too young to have a virgin phone number.
    <snip>
    You didn't tell us how long you had this number so far...
    The phone was bought new and activated on 20 Dec 2011. Again, it seems incredulous to me that the Caller ID information is not simply passed through automagically with each call. But I guess with the fee involved, they're looking to save money anywhere they can.

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    Quote Originally Posted by quagmire View Post
    As you've already been told by others, AT&T gave you essentially correct information. The only thing I'd disagree with is item 2 - that it can take six months to two years for a landline phone to see the update. Verizon, at least in my area, updates every few hours. I imagine some other carriers do, too.

    The web site http://tnid.us/ will return the caller id name it believes is associated with your phone line. It is updated at least every few days, perhaps in just a few hours. Try entering your phone number there and see if they give you the correct caller id name. Note that I can't guarantee that they won't sell your phone number so use the web site at your own risk. I have tested my own phone number there, and not started receiving spam messages or telemarketing calls, but you've been warned.

    If that web site gives the correct caller id name, then there is nothing further you can do.

    If that gives you the wrong caller id name (or if you'd rather not try that web site) then my next suggestion is to try changing the name associated with the line in OLAM. AT&T submits that name to the caller id data base, so that will be the name that people see as the caller id name, whenever their carrier's data base is updated. I've done this myself, so I know it works.

    To make the change, log in to OLAM, and change your user name by selecting "My AT&T -> Profile" at the top of the first OLAM page. Then select the "User Information" tab on the resultant page. Next, select "Edit Information" in the "Primary User" box. You can confirm you're in the right place because you'll see this message:
    Change your name in some way, and save it.

    Hopefully, within a day or two, the new name will propagate to caller id.

    Good luck!!
    If the site has access to your caller ID info already what's to stop them from spamming anyways? I gave it a try anyways, and my caller ID info came up correct.
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    Quote Originally Posted by quagmire View Post
    The web site http://tnid.us/ will return the caller id name it believes is associated with your phone line.

    Good luck!!
    Good site, I've had my number and account 3 days and it's right. My location is a littler off, but who cares about that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DRC72 View Post
    If the site has access to your caller ID info already what's to stop them from spamming anyways? I gave it a try anyways, and my caller ID info came up correct.
    Someone querying for a phone number almost certainly guarantees that it's a current, in-use phone number that someone will answer. This increases its value to spammers significantly.

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    A telephone number my wife had in Manassas and dropped in December 2010 still shows up under her name. A telephone I have with Cox Cable for which I pay for nonpublished service shows up under my name. Shouldn't just the carrier show up in those cases?
    Earl F. Parrish

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    Quote Originally Posted by efparri View Post
    A telephone number my wife had in Manassas and dropped in December 2010 still shows up under her name. A telephone I have with Cox Cable for which I pay for nonpublished service shows up under my name. Shouldn't just the carrier show up in those cases?
    I don't know about out there in the Beltway, but here in the Bay Area unpublished means not in the print directory or the reverse directory (I believe) which is offered to telemarketers.

    I don't think unpublished has anything to do with caller id name. To block that you need to block your caller id itself, another option we have here either per call or overall.


    As for your wife's old phone, that sounds like a new person has not yet been assigned the number.

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    We were able to get caller ID to change almost instantly, although it was flaky getting it to change. It might help that our landline provider is AT&T, and our wireless provider is AT&T Mobility...
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    Quote Originally Posted by quagmire View Post
    Someone querying for a phone number almost certainly guarantees that it's a current, in-use phone number that someone will answer. This increases its value to spammers significantly.
    I just renewed my do not call list........

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