Differentiating Landline and Cell Phone Numbers

landline and cell phone
Whenever someone calls you, it’s helpful to be able to figure out whether that call was made from a landline phone or a cell phone. Why?

If you can determine that it was a cell phone, then you can feel free to call back at any time of the day in order to leave a message. If it’s a landline, however, you might not want to call at certain times, like early in the morning or late at night, because the ringing of the landline phone might wake people up if the homeowners never turn off the ringer.

Another consideration is the other party’s cell phone minutes. That is, if you ascertain that a phone call was made from a mobile phone, you might choose to respond by sending a text message or by writing an email. That way, you don’t have to worry about eating up the other person’s valuable phone minutes if you’re not sure and want to be respectful of that.

Businesses can also benefit from being able to tell cell phone numbers apart from landline numbers.

If you run, say, a hair salon, you might be in the habit of texting your customers about upcoming appointments. However, you don’t want to be sending text messages to a landline number by mistake. Not only will text messages to landlines never get delivered (although some landline based VoIP numbers do accept text messages) you may still be charged a fee by your text message service provider for these requests.

In addition, many businesses and medical offices want to have a cell phone number for every one of their clients or patients so that they can reach them at any time of the day. And medical offices may qualify for EHR incentives if their phone number data is more meaningful.

Most schools want to be able to reach parents in case of any type of emergency involving their children and when filling out the school forms, occasionally parents don’t enter the right numbers in the correct fields. If school administrators call a landline number during the day when no one is home it can be useless, this wastes school administrator time and can cause your child undo anxiety.

If you manage a doctor’s office, and you are in the processing of switching from a paper filing system to an Electronic Health Records (EHR) system, you need to input up-to-date information on the phone numbers of all of your patients.

How Do You Know if You are Calling a Landline or Mobile Number?

So how do you actually go about figuring out whether a certain phone number is a landline number or a mobile number? A company like SearchBug can actually do all of the work for you. In fact, the company’s phone number verification tools is among one of its most popular services.

So how does this system work? All you have to do is visit the landline or cell phone number tool and enter the phone number. Any valid phone number from the United States or Canada will work. SearchBug will then tell you whether that phone number is a landline number, a wireless number, a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) number, or an unknown number (unknowns can be for a variety reasons such as the area code is invalid, or the area code and prefix do not match, or the number provide is not a valid number like the area code 555 is used for movies.

VoIP numbers by the way, are a system of vocal communications in which the sounds of people’s voices are carried over the Internet. VoIP numbers are typically sold in blocks of 1000s to VoIp providers from the major CLEC (Central Local Exchange Carriers).

That’s not all. SearchBug will also respond with the following pieces of information about that number:

  • the name of the phone company or, in the case of VoIP, the name of the local exchange carrier
  • the city or town where a landline phone is located, or where a mobile phone owner lives
  • the area code local
  • the local time zone for that number

You can find out all this information for free, too. SearchBug will even let you search for up to five different phone numbers a day. And for a nominal charge, you can find out if the phone number you searched for was ported – meaning whether that number was transferred, say, from a landline phone to a mobile phone or from AT&T to Verizon for example.

For an extra charge, you can learn the name of the person to whom that phone number is assigned if you need that sort of information. That can be a valuable tool in case, for instance, someone keeps calling you and hanging up whenever you answer.

Marketing Lists and Text Messaging

Marketing Lists via text messaging campaigns are among the most effective ways of reaching customers and potential customers. With just your smartphone at hand, you can create enthusiasm for your products or services immediately. But the only way you’ll succeed at text message campaigning – which is known in the business and advertising communities as SMS, or Short Message Marketing – is to have a carefully-compiled marketing list.

Marketing List and Text Messages - You have 1 New MessageFirst of all, what makes a text message campaign so helpful to small businesses? The main reason is that so many people will see the texts you send them. You could hang a sign in a store window on the busiest street in town, yet many people would simply walk right by it without noticing. In contrast, studies have shown that over 90% of people, as high as 95%, will open and look at a texted ad at once.

There are more benefits to text messaging ads, too. They’re friendly to the environment. They make your business seem cutting-edge, even ‘cool.’ They’re cheaper than many other forms of advertising – including TV spots and, believe it or not, traditional flyers! They’re interactive: people can respond to you right away with questions, comments or suggestions, and you can answer them right away. Perhaps best of all, people who are intrigued by your texts may share them with their contact lists via Facebook, Twitter, etc. Thus, those people will do additional advertising for you, for free!

If you’ve just opened a small business, whether it’s a pizzeria or a garage or something else entirely, you’ll probably want to buy a marketing list – a list of potential customers – from a company specializing in such lists. But these lists may not include cell phone numbers, as there are laws around marketing to cell phones. So how do you get to your potential customers?  You can email or call people and ask them to sign up for your text messaging promotions (to do so, they could email you back or text you a certain code.)

You can also get people to agree to receive your texts by including sign-up sheets on your website and social media sites, and by having your employees ask your customers if they’d like to receive texts.  There are even iPad apps specifically designed to manage in-store sign ups and people like using iPads and tablets so it’s an easier way to get them to give you their information.

But to reiterate, you should never text a customer without their permission beforehand. An unsolicited text message can make customers feel violated, and rightly so. Plus, this practice probably goes against your carrier’s rules, and may even be unlawful where you live. Never pressure anyone to join your text marketing list, either, and instruct your employees not to pressure anyone. Further, there should always be a simple way for your customers to opt out of getting your texts should they change their minds about it.

In order to make more people want to be on your text message marketing list, you have to offer them incentives, incentives they can’t receive any other way. Maybe they get a special discount or coupon, or maybe an exclusive freebie – three slices of pizza for the slice of two, for instance – or maybe you’ll even set up special times during which they can come into your establishment, times when the place is otherwise closed to the general public.

Once you have a sizable text message marketing list at your disposal, the next step is to use it. Just remember that effective text messages are not always easy to create. DO NOT just throw something together off the top of your head. Rather, take care in crafting messages. Write out words and phrases as much as you can; try not to abbreviate even if you believe that a certain abbreviation or acronym is well-known. At the same time, use as few words as you can without sacrificing meaning. Use correct spelling and grammar. Don’t forget to provide the name of your establishment. (You might choose to include a link to your company’s website.) Most of all, there should be what advertisers refer to as a ‘call to action.’ That means you should provide a specific, attractive reason as to why the person receiving the text ought to get to your place of business as soon as possible. Don’t just say: “We have great prices on teddy bears.” Say: “All teddy bears are on sale, up to 50%, until tomorrow night.”

Once you get the hang of text marketing, you can start having fun with it. For example, you might set up a contest in which the tenth person to text you back receives a prize. Or if you own, say, an ice cream parlor, you could create polls to discover your customer’s favorite flavors. You might even set up a weekly poll in which you pit one flavor against another. Be creative!

If you’re not aware, SearchBug offers a free text messaging service that you can use from your computer.  Get up to five (5) free texts daily or subscribe for only $5.97 a month for unlimited texts.

Identify Phone Numbers for Cell Phone Text Messaging

There are several ways to process phone records to determine the line type and carrier (other information is also available if needed).Identify Phone Numbers

  • You can scour the internet for free tools to do this yourself.
  • You can hire a service to run a manual batch to clean lists of phone records.
  • You can subscribe to a service that lets you upload a file with phone numbers.
  • You can subscribe to a service that provides a real-time API and returns XML.

If you have less than a few hundred records you can typically find a free ‘identify phone number’ tool online where you can do the lookup yourself.  The SearchBug service allows you to lookup phone info for free a few times a day. You can subscribe for under $4.00 per month and run 100 per day manually. This is by far the cheapest solution available.

A Manual Batch Service:
If you have a list with 1,000, 10,000 or even a few 100,000 records to clean and only need a single list cleaned, this is a good option. Easy to get started. Simply complete a payment form and email (upload in future) your spreadsheet of numbers with one number per row. Your batch is processed and returned within one business day (sometimes the same day). There is a flat  fee per batch based on number of records.

The Self Service Batch Tool:
This tool allows you to upload phone numbers in any format (ie. dashes, spaces, or even if it has a 1 in front). You can sign up and enter your billing information online. Then you can start to submit 1 to 10,000 records per batch (as many batches as needed daily up to your subscribed monthly limit). Tiered pricing is based on number of records processed monthly. Fee is a monthly subscription as is lower than flat per batch fee pricing.

A Real-Time API:
An API allows you to “call” HTTP GET or HTTP POST via a private URL and receive XML in return to parse into your database as needed. This method allows you to submit from 1 to 1,000 records per API call.

The XML returned can be used as you need. Parse it into your database live. Do you have an inbound call center and want to know information about the number in real-time. Are your people talking to mobile users? Tiered pricing based on number of records processed monthly.

Output from the batch tool or API can return any of the following information:

  • Identify each line type (Cell / Landline / unknown)
  • Carrier name
  • Location
  • Calling Area

Want to learn more about phone number lookup?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Noah Wieder is CEO of SearchBug, Inc. and the founder of Best People Search. SearchBug.com offers a Free People Finder and Company Search as well as Data Scrubbing Services. Bestpeoplesearch.com is a private investigator portal and Information Retrieval Services web site where investigators offer searches to businesses and individuals with specific search needs.

How to find a phone number from name, city and state.

How to find a phone number from name, city and state.

This is a very common question and thought I would review and explain here. The question comes in many forms but one of the most common types of requests is:

QUESTION: If I provide you with someone’s name, city and state can you get me a valid phone number? Most of the other sites I’ve tried provide old numbers and what is the cost?

The simple answer is, yes, our investigators can do this for you. However, let me explain.

One of the reasons other sites provide old numbers is because people move and change phone numbers and most other find phone number services use flat file databases or old phone books and cross reference additional information found and make best guesses based on computer algorithms. Those are only as good as the database or people programming the algorithms.

If you are looking for a valid land line phone number that is attached to a physical address but don’t have the address, and all you have is the name, city and state you can do a find address and phone number search.This is a professional search performed by a human private investigator so you get a real address and phone number.

Now keep in mind that not everyone has a land line phone these days and many people only use cell phones. So the above search may only produce an address. Also, if the person you are looking for has a common name and you only have city and state it may not be successful.

If you wish to locate someone’s cell phone number please review our cell phone number lookup search (note that this search requires a previous or recent address). So if you don’t have any address you may want to do some research yourself and locate an address first.

You have several options to try and locate an address:
We have a few self service people search tools which you can review.

  1. Individual and Free People Finder Tools
  2. Unlimited People Search Access
  3. Free People Search by name and state


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Noah Wieder is CEO of SearchBug, Inc. and the founder of Best People Search. SearchBug.com offers a Free People Finder and Company Search as well as Data Scrubbing Services. Bestpeoplesearch.com is a private investigator portal and Information Retrieval Services web site where investigators offer searches to businesses and individuals with specific search needs.