Sometimes you need to not only know where a phone number is dialing from (area codes tell you this) but who provides the phone number, and whether it’s a cell phone or not. Typically you can get all this information from one website. Here’s how to do it and how to interpret what comes back. This works for the United States, Canada, and Caribbean countries.
This particular site gives a lot of information. It’s main use is for finding out whether a call is local or not. This can help with assigning local prefixes to your ShoreTel system. I have a script that’ll clean the site’s output up and allow you to import it into your ShoreTel system. If anyone wants it please comment and I’ll post it!
- Go to Local Calling Guide
- Click on the Area Code/Prefix link under the search section to the right.
- Type in the area code in the NPA box, and the prefix into the NXX box. If you know the first digit of the last four digits of the phone number you can put it in the block box but that isn’t needed.
- Click on Submit
You’ll get a table of items back. This is how you tell what kind of phone number this is.
The NPA-NXX-X block is the area code/prefix blocks. In the case above Pathwayz has the entire 806-350 block. If multiple carriers own a block it will look something like 806-350-1, 806-350-2, and it would have who owns each block listed next to it. If your phone number was 806-350-1xxx it would be in the 1 block.
The Rate Centre box will tell you what city the phone number is located in. The Region box will show a state. The Switch is what switch the phone number is on. If the Switch is blank, many times this is a cell phone but that’s not always a good indicator.
The OCN will give you the carrier of the phone. This is how you tell whether it’s a cell phone or a land line. If it says something like “Southwestern Bell” it’s usually a landline, if it’s a cell phone it will give a wireless company’s name, and will usually have “wireless” or “cell” in the name. Verizon wireless will show up as “Verizon Wireless” but their land lines will show up as just “Verizon” most of the time. The example above is a land line block from a local phone company.
The LATA code is used to figure long distance rates. I have no idea what this means in Canada, but in the US that’s what it means on a basic level. This isn’t always exact either so click on the block link for local vs. long distance calls, not trying to match the LATA.
The other fields aren’t very important but can tell you when a block of numbers was discontinued. I haven’t ever seen these filled in, but in bigger cities they might be.
The map link will give you a Google Map of where the rate center is. Not terribly useful but convenient.