Our Phone Validation API, Reverse Phone API, and Caller Identification API return a carrier name as part of the response. This data is refreshed within 15 minutes of any change, so the data is practically in real-time. In total, we are tracking today:
- 3600+ carriers for the U.S.
- 150+ for other North American countries like Antigua, Bermuda, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, etc.
- 200+ carriers for Canada
With so many carriers, we often get asked about the carrier name we return. We are all familiar with Verizon Wireless or Comcast, but there are quite a few others where the naming can be confusing in terms of what they mean.
Here are some examples of the carrier names and their explanations:
- Apollo Communications, LLC – CO: This means Apollo Communications is a telecommunications provider, specifically in Colorado.
- Optel Telecom, Inc. (CLEC): Optel is a telecommunications provider company (often smaller, local companies) that operates in competition with the already established Local Exchange Carriers (LECs, typically the larger, incumbent telco providers). CLECs provide telephone and data services by leasing lines from the incumbents or by building their own networks. They were established to introduce competition into local telecom markets and typically offer an alternative for consumers to traditional service providers. Optel Telecom is a landline provider.
- AT&T: There are dozens of carriers today that identify or link back to AT&T, mostly through various acquisitions, subsidiaries in different regions, etc. Here’s a few:
- AT&T Wireless: AT&T Wireless is, of course, well known.
- AT&T PSTN: AT&T PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) is the landline part of their network.
- Mediaone Telecommunications Corp. DBA AT&T Broadband: This carrier is one of the acquisitions by AT&T, hence the DBA (Doing Business As) of AT&T.
- AT&T, Inc. – PR: This is the AT&T subsidiary in Puerto Rico.
- AWS Caribbean Services, Inc. (AT&T Wireless Blue): That name is actually taken from the name of the Wireless Network Operator AWS Caribbean Services. The AWS, we believe, stands for AT&T Wireless Services”. At one time, it was an AT&T “BLUE” network. We added the parentheses to help identify it that way.
- American Broadband – Sprint Reseller: American Broadband is a telecommunications provider and uses the Sprint network (Spectrum) to provide mobile services. In fact, we are tracking 135+ Sprint reseller carriers just in the U.S.
- TextNow – Bandwidth.com – SVR: This name follows the ServiceProvider – NumberProvider – DefaultAggregator format.
- The Number Provider is the source of the numbers. In this case, Bandwidth.com owned the numbers, and TextNow bought them.
- The Service Provider is the carrier who is serving these numbers now. In this case, TextNow.
- The Default Aggregator identifies the default messaging aggregator if no other routing is known, meaning it’s the service responsible for routing the messages across the network for proper delivery.
- Twilio – Toll-Free – SMS-Sybase365/MMS-SVR: In this case, SMS should be routed
- toward Sybase365/SAP (now Sinch), and that MMS should route toward Syniverse.
- Zipwhip – Toll-Free – SVR: Zipwhip is the telephone number provider, in this case a toll-free number, and Syniverse is the messaging aggregator behind the scenes helping with message routing for this toll-free number.
- CallFire Inc. – Toll-Free – Zipwhip: In this case, CallFire is the telephone number provider, and Zipwhip is just a messaging aggregator. You can see how different carriers can function differently within the network.
- Level 3 Communications, LLC and Level 3 – SVR: Both are from Level 3, a telecommunications company. However, Level 3 Communications, LLC is a landline network, while Level 3 – SVR is a non-fixed VoIP carrier with Syniverse as the messaging aggregator service.
- Vibes – 10 DLC: Vibes is the carrier, and the number is 10 DLC format for sending applications to person text messaging services (A2P/10 DLC).
- Tychron Messaging SMS/MMS-1: This is a phone carrier used for messaging services, most likely using APIs.
Hopefully, this explains what is happening behind the scenes on how various carriers work together to deliver voice and SMS services. There are probably more carrier name variations that provide further insight into whose network is being used, who owns the phone number, and how/who is being used for message routing that we probably have missed. Let us know if you see anything that you would like to learn further about via email@example.com.