“Who is Calling” coming to cell phones

September 25, 2011 at 11:35 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Finally! The most valuable voice feature ever–knowing who is calling–is finally coming to your cell phone. U.S. Mobile Operators are starting to deploy Calling Name (to let you know “Who Is Calling”). The latest, T-Mobile, now offers this service–check out the excellent Engadget analysis at “T-Mobile Name ID finally brings true caller ID to your cellphone.”

Other Operators are planning to offer this. Look for it! Thus far, Sprint, MetroPCS and T-Mobile offer this feature.

As mobile service becomes the replacement for wireline service, it is picking up all of the best features of wireline. Next up, High-Quality Voice!


Sighted!!! Wireless Calling Name

October 23, 2008 at 2:14 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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Wireless CNAM just launched in the US, so each of us is a bit closer to the availability of the most popular wireline feature on our wireless phone. As previously discussed, this feature has been available to mobile operators for over 5 years, but operators are just warming up to delivering it. MetroPCS just launched the service to their 5 million subs (see their press release, and some press coverage from WirelessWeek here and a story on the official release, below), so we can hope that as people try it and like it, other operators will turn up the service, too. 

Previously, T-Mobile included Calling Name for @Home subs (for wired phones attached to their @Home router, not for mobile subs). And a watered-down version of Calling Name was offered by Verizon Wireless, but it doesn’t seem to be of much value (so why bother?): it provided the Caller’s City and State. Big deal. I don’t want to have to guess at the identity of the caller, I want to know exactly the Caller’s Name to decide if I need to answer the call on my mobile. Kudos to MetroPCS for bringing this feature to market!

Here’s a clear description of the benefits of this service, from their press release:

“MetroPCS … launches Screen-it, a service that displays the calling party’s name on a subscriber’s wireless phone. Screen-it allows consumers to more successfully manage incoming calls to their phone by seeing the caller’s name before answering the call. Call screening is drastically improved when unknown caller names are shown that are not already stored in the phone’s personal contact list. 

Consumers and businesses rely on a name and number to identify the caller. Automatically matching a name to the incoming telephone number and displaying it on a callerID device or on the phone has been a common feature of landline telephones since 1984. This feature has never been available on wireless phones in the United States. With Screen-it, for the first time wireless consumers will see the name of who is calling them before they answer the call, even if it’s an unknown caller. 

“The new Screen-it service is a core part of MetroPCS’ landline replacement strategy as it offers our customers the same standard features that they enjoy on the landline telephone,” said Tom Keys, chief operating officer for MetroPCS. “Being the first to introduce this service demonstrates MetroPCS’ commitment to providing the best wireless service to its customers.”


MetroPCS Launches Next-Gen Caller ID

By Evan Koblentz

WirelessWeek – October 16, 2008

MetroPCS is putting a new twist on traditional Caller ID. The contractless carrier’s new service, Screen-it, is intended to display a caller’s name and number, when available, even if it appears as “unknown” to the regular Caller ID service. “This feature has never been available on wireless phones in the United States,” the company said in a statement today. Names will remain hidden if callers choose to block that information. Screen-it will be included in MetroPCS’ $50 per month service plan and available for $2 per month with the $35, $40 and $45 plans.

Ensuring Calling Name delivery

October 10, 2008 at 4:40 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Oddly, I had some difficulty in getting Calling Name to work right on my @Home installation. Fortunately, to reproduce the wireline Caller ID service that includes Calling Name, T-Mobile provides “true Caller ID” that includes Calling Name and so I expect to get the same experience as I have on a wireline telephone: reliable delivery of calling party number and name. Unfortunately, the Calling Name component has not been working right. I was getting Calling Name info on some calls and not getting Calling Name on others, with no discernible pattern.

Solution: Customer Care finally fixed the problem: they transferred me to @Home Tech Support, and they found that my Calling Name service somehow was not activated. (May have had to do with the fact that my number did not port over correctly, but I doubt that). They did a couple of things, but the last one did the trick: they first (1) rebroadcast that my telephone number had been ported to T-Mobile (in case Qwest still thought that they owned it) and (2) reprovisioned my Calling Name service. Then, they called me back at a later time to ensure that the fix worked. Let me repeat that: They called Me to ensure that the fix worked, and that all was well – when have you received that service?!?

Nice job, T-Mobile Customer Care!  😀

Ways to Enhance T-Mobile @Home

September 23, 2008 at 9:04 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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OK, so @Home is a smokin’ deal, but you can make it do even more. Here are a few improvements that I was able to make as I set up @Home in my home office:

  • Multiple phones a ringin’
    Most people have more than one phone in their apartment or home, right? Well, @Home can serve all of them (although the Install Guide and Manual do not lead you to that conclusion, and suggest that you directly connect a single phone to the router. Uh, that’s kinda limiting, don’t you think? You can connect the router to your home wiring so that you can make/receive calls from all phone in da house.
  • One or two fixed lines and telephone numbers (double your savings!)
    More than one person want to talk at the same time in your home? No problem! You can have one or two wireline connections, so that two, independent calls can come in or go out, each on different telephone numbers. If you have two, wireline numbers, you can move both to @Home and double your savings.
  • Multiple cellular phones (free) calling
    You can have more than one cell phone simultaneously using your @Home wireless service.
  • Free calls from anywhere you have Internet access
    @Home provides you with free calling when your phone is on a Wi-Fi network, not just from your Home. Get more! (as T-Mobile used to say). You can have free calls from anywhere that you can access the Internet: Starbucks, airport, hotel room in Hong Kong, … anywhere! With this technique, you will save a lot on roaming fees for voice and data.
  • Expanded range, better audio quality
    To ensure that you have lots of (free) Wi-Fi coverage, you can expand it, if you desire.
  • Conveniently Locating the Router
    To avoid placing creating an equipment pile (I didn’t want all that hot gear flashing and heating up my home office), you can move it to a convenient place.
  • Ensuring Calling Name delivery
    I like Calling Name (considered part of the “true Caller ID” that T-Mobile offers as part of @Home) and had to do so me work to ensure that it was provided.
  • Things you’ll Like and Dislike
    Here’s a summary review of @Home service, with comments on some things that you may miss, like sending/receiving a FAX.
  • How to successfully Port an existing number to @Home
    You can save a lot of cash by moving any existing wireline phone service to @Home, while keeping your existing telephone number (no one will know).

I’ll review each of these, in detail, over successive blog entries. I hope that you benefit from these ideas, as my intent here is just to share something that may be useful to as many folks as possible. Enjoy!

Want to know the Name of Callers? (on your mobile handset)

September 22, 2008 at 4:00 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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Like to know the name of the people who are calling you? I do!
If you want this feature, your mobile operator can deliver it,
and they’d like to hear from you!

Recently, I noted that it’s possible to deliver not just the Number, but the Name of the caller, just like on your wireline service. Just like on your @Home service. It’s possible: you just have to ask for it. 

This service is already available (for over 5 years), and mobile operators have held off on delivering it. Recently, Verizon Wireless started delivering a pale version of this, providing city and state info on the caller (in addition to the number). Personally, I want to know the caller’s name, and I gladly pay for this feature on my wireline service. If you want Calling Name delivery on your mobile, tell your mobile phone company! If you ask for it, then can deliver it (that’s what we’re all in business for: satisfying the end customer).

Caller ID includes Calling Name

September 22, 2008 at 3:45 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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@Home delivers “True Caller ID” that includes Calling Name Display. Nice!

I had a narrow (and, apparently, aged) view of the Caller ID feature. Originally, there was a distinction between Calling Number and Calling Name display (Caller ID preceded Calling Name, and display of Name was sold as an enhancement to the display of the calling party number). (Note: Just to date me, I worked at AT&T Bell Labs when we first designed and introduced these features that utilized the new, out-of-band signaling system). Now, there appears to be no distinction and Caller ID includes Calling Name (see attached definition, from the Qwest web site). Since @Home seeks to provide you with wireline-equivalent features, it includes all of the basic features, even voice mail (see the demo here).

Now if only they would deliver Calling Name to my handset!
It’s readily available, and even starting to appear in the marketplace. (Full disclosure: the company that I work for, VeriSign , actually delivers the Calling Name service for @Home, and the same solution can be delivered to your wireless phone, too – the mobile operators are just unsure if subscribers really want it on their phone). Technically, you can receive the same quality of Caller ID (including Calling Name) that you receive on your wired phone. If you want Calling Name delivery on your mobile, tell your mobile phone company!


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