A cell phone prefix locator comes in handy if you're trying to decide where a missed call came from. You may also want to do a little research so that you can ask for a prefix located in a specific state when you sign up for a contract and get a new cell phone or move and need a change of number. In other situations, you may want to call someone but are unsure of which cell phone provider the person uses. A quick search can tell you whether you can chat away for free (many carriers offer free in-network calling) or if you'll be sacrificing those precious minutes.
Understanding Cell Phone Prefixes
Area codes aren't enough to tell where calls are coming from anymore. Cell phone prefixes are the three numbers following the area code that tell you where a phone number is located, and even whether the number is a landline or a cell phone number (though this is quickly becoming a gray area as people use cell phone numbers and landline numbers interchangeably). As populations grow in certain areas, more and more prefixes are added to the list.
You can find out even more than where on the map a cell phone prefix falls when you use an online locator. Verify that the number does belong to a cell phone instead of a landline, which cell company uses that prefix, and more.
- Fone Finder lets you search whole phone numbers. It will then tell you the city and state that prefix belongs to as well as the telephone company it is associated with and whether it's a mobile number or a landline. You can search United States, Canada, and international numbers.
- Reverse Phone Directory allows you to search by cell phone number. It will verify that the number you entered is a cell phone number and tell you which county that prefix belongs to. For any other details about the person who owns that number, there is a fee attached.
- TelcoData shows you the general location and service provider when you enter an area code and prefix.
Reasons to Use a Cell Phone Prefix Locator
The two most common reasons to use a cell phone prefix locator are to identify the geographic area that a caller is from and to determine what cell phone carrier the person uses.
Identify Geographic Location
Use a cell phone prefix locator to determine where a caller is from (or at least where the phone was originally purchased). You could also use this information to try to guess what your next number could possibly start with. There are two types of locators: the type that tells you where a number is from (reverse look-up) when you enter it in, as in the case of a missed call, and the type of listing where you search by state and sometimes county or city to find out the prefixes associated with those areas.
Identify Cell Phone Provider
If you use a cell phone company that allows you to call other members on the same network for free, you may want to familiarize yourself with the cell phone prefixes within your network, especially those in your local area. Some cell phone prefix locators will tell you which cell phone provider that person uses. You may want to verify it with the owner of the number anyway, as cell phone number portability from carrier to carrier may mean that there are exceptions to the general cell phone provider and prefix guidelines.
Knowing Prefixes Can Be Handy
It can be handy to be able to look up information on a missed call, to determine the geographic location where a phone was purchased or to identify what cell provider a person uses. Using a prefix locator can help you gain this information.