Armed with only a cell phone prefix, you can locate where a missed call came from or which telecommunications company registered the number. You may also want to do some research if you are asking for a prefix located in a specific city or county when you sign up for a new cell phone contract. Figuring out the geographic location of a cell phone prefix is also useful if someone you know is calling from a hotel or other public phone when traveling.
Understanding Phone Number Prefixes
Area codes alone don't provide an accurate picture of where a phone number is calling from. Cell phone prefixes are the three numbers following the area code and they can narrow the search down for both the geographic location and cell phone provider. As populations continue to grow and more people are getting phone numbers, more and more prefixes are assigned.
You can find out more than where a cell phone prefix falls on the map when you use an online locator. It can also verify that the number belongs to a cell phone or a landline, which company uses that prefix, and when the prefix was registered to that location.
- Fone Finder requires you to enter an entire phone number, and will then tell you the city and state that prefix belongs to, as well as the telephone company that registered the phone number. Fone Finder has one form for phone numbers located in the United States and Canada and another form for numbers located in the rest of the world.
- Reverse Phone Directory allows you to search by cell phone number. It verifies the number you entered is a cell phone number, tells you which city and state that prefix belongs to, and lists the cell phone company that generated the phone number. Further details about the phone number and its owner are available for a fee.
- TelcoData only requires the area code and phone number prefix to perform a search. The results include the city and state the prefix is assigned to, the company the prefix is assigned to, the year the prefix was assigned, and a few other advanced characteristics of the prefix.
- MelissaData asks for a phone number and radius in miles. With those two pieces of information, MelissaData returns the city and state of the phone number, along with all the prefixes and locations within the specified radius. If you don't have a MelissaData account, the radius can't be more than four miles.
- Intelius Reverse Phone Lookup requires a phone number and provides the city and state the phone number is registered to based on the area code and prefix. Additional information about the owner of the number is available by purchasing an Intelius subscription for $29.95 a month.
Reasons to Use a Prefix Locator
The two most common reasons to use a prefix locator are to tie a phone number to a specific location and to determine what cell phone carrier the caller uses.
Identify Geographic Location
Use one of the services listed above to determine where phone number was originally registered. There are two types of locators: the type that tells you where a specific number is from (reverse look-up) and databases where you to browse by state and city to find prefixes assigned to those areas.
Identify Cell Phone Provider
If you use a cell phone plan that allows you to call other members on the same network for free, you may want to familiarize yourself with the cell phone prefixes assigned to your network in your local area. Some prefix locators will tell you which cell phone provider that person uses. Remember that prefixes reflect the company that generated the phone number originally. For instance, if a number was created on Sprint but then ported to Verizon, the prefix would still be associated with Sprint.
Knowledge Is Power
When receiving a call from an unknown number, it is always best to do a bit of research before calling the number back. Using a prefix locator can help you gain valuable information about the caller.