How Caller ID Works

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How Caller ID Works

Caller ID works by matching the phone number of the person calling with a name obtained from a CNAM database. Caller ID information is typically easier to retrieve in a providers service area, since it is likely that the caller belongs to that provider - the information is located in the provider’s own database. However, if a caller is calling from outside the provider’s service area, or if he/she subscribes to a different provider, the information must be purchased from the caller’s phone company; in some instances the carrier needs to access that information from a third-party database and some database providers charge a small fee for each access to such databases.


Outbound Calls

Phone Power will send your caller ID name to the destination, which may not always be interpreted by the recipient carrier; in which case they will reference a database to retrieve the name associated with that number. This database must be updated periodically (this update is called a 'dip') to remain current and accurate. The frequency of these updates is at the discretion of the carrier and there can be lengthy periods of time between these 'dips', during which information can change, which results in old information being referenced. The end result is that although the caller ID was sent correctly with the call, the recipient carrier referenced a database with old information and displayed that information to the receiving end instead of the correct name. It can also produce inconsistent results, where calls to a specific carrier display incorrect caller ID, but calls to another show correctly as that carrier has updated their database recently. This is the most common cause of complaints about caller ID showing up incorrectly. It is typically not because the wrong name was sent with the call, but that an out-of-date database was used when referencing the name for the calling number. Phone Power pushes it's information to our database nightly, however it can be weeks before the database is 'dipped' for the information by another carrier. Phone Power has no control over the frequency other carriers choose to update their databases. The only option in this event, is to simply wait for the carrier to 'dip' for current information, or contact that carrier directly and request they 'dip' for current information.

Inbound Calls

Phone Power does not modify or alter caller ID on inbound calls to its customers - with one small exception. That exception is that on the Capricorn network, you have the ability to configure a contact in your MyAccount and have that configured name displayed to you when receiving calls from that number. Other than that specific scenario, Phone Power passes the caller ID information that is received with the call. If no caller ID information is received, none will be shown. If the wrong name is received with an inbound call, that wrong name will be shown for caller ID. In short, Phone Power will show what is being sent to us with the call.