What is CNAM

CNAM – Probing into the World of Caller ID Name


Technological advancements have significantly elevated the concept of communication. People around the world can stay connected throughout and exchange caller information with the effective utilisation of CNAM technology. What is a CNAM, you may ask?

CNAM is an innovation that pairs phone numbers with diverse alphanumeric characters, offering a unique identity to the assigned number. This technology is often adopted by the general public and business organisations operating within the United States of America. This technology helps to control increasing fraudulent activities by limiting nuisance calls.

Moreover, it allocates a distinct identity consisting of 15 alphanumeric characters to a specific phone number that is displayed on a caller ID system. The technology has helped to resolve the following issues:

  • Streamlining the communication process.
  • Instilling trust among the general audience.
  • Minimising scammer activities.
  • Working with a central database for all registered phone numbers.
  • Giving business phone numbers a unique identity. 

Let us dive deep into the world of called IDs to find relevant answers to the fundamental question, “What is a CNAM?”

What is a CNAM and How Does it Work?

US-based carrier service providers that are in charge of issuing phone numbers to legitimate businesses possess the ability to add CNAM credentials that are directly paired with every number. Every individual and business firm has complete control over determining unique details that they wish to display on caller IDs. However, once a CNAM pattern is established and registered, users will no longer be able to update or change the alphanumeric sequence on their own.

Carrier networks then share the registered CNAM credentials with multiple CNAM database operators. When calls are initiated, carrier companies extract CNAM details from these databases, which are then disclosed to the recipient’s caller ID. 

For availing CNAM-related services, carrier operators must pay an additional compensation ranging between 0.002 to 0.006 cents for every inquiry. This additional charge is also referred to as a CNAM dip. The operations of CNAM database providers are only limited to the United States of America, as certain regions of Canada do not abide by the same standards. 

Where is CNAM Available?

The use of this technology is only practised in the USA and some parts of Canada. However, the system also relies on other online caller ID database bodies, such as SEON, to avail global coverage.

Moreover, other mobile operators present in different corners of the world incorporate specific infrastructures that allow them to extract specific CNAM alphanumeric details originating from the USA. Seek assistance from your carrier network to learn more about the notion of CNAM.

Types of CNAM

Unlike the Canadian standards, this technology in the US does not depend on a singular system. There are two different types of CNAM systems present in the USA.

A. Incoming CNAM

The carrier network extracts incoming data through the lookup dip by seeking assistance from multiple CNAM databases. When a call is made, the receiver is able to view CNAM details on their caller ID.

B. Outgoing CNAM

On the other hand, outgoing CNAM details are directly managed by the database responsible for registering all CNAM credentials. Business firms that utilise the number request the preferred CNAM data through the providers. The carrier network of the firm is only responsible for submitting the formulated CNAM data to the central CNAM database operator.

Interesting Read: How to Block No Caller ID on iPhone?

CNAM Databases

The information registered by the CNAM databases is essentially provided by carrier networks operating within the United States of America. Carrier companies play an important role in ensuring that all the data circulating within the system are represented accurately.

However, there are several loopholes present in the system, as disparities between the true identity of the caller and the information shared on the caller ID may exist. Carrier companies often fail to notify and update database providers regarding the changes in business caller ID names. Therefore, the possibility of an error highlighting incorrect CNAM credentials also exists.

Moreover, the external influence of scammers also plays a part in tampering with the data recognised by CNAM databases. Hackers and scammers tend to replicate similar details of a recognised business entity.

Number of Database Providers

There are close to eight active CNAM databases operating from the United States of America. They are:

  • Intelco
  • Baby Bells
  • Sprint
  • Verisign
  • Qwest, etc.

Additionally, there are third-party e-commerce software firms that provide alternative solutions, allowing organisations to search for relevant CNAM details along with other relevant information. CNAM databases also seek assistance from Open Source Intelligence (OSINT), which uses the information shared on public forums and social media platforms.

Difference Between Caller ID and CNAM

Caller IDs and CNAM work towards solving a common problem. However, the concepts are different from each other.

  • CNAM – It depends on a specific database which is in charge of recording all the verified alphanumeric identities of phone numbers operating in the US and Canadian markets. It highlights the company name and the phone number linked with it on a caller ID.
  • Caller ID – On the flip side, caller ID is a global technology that highlights the phone number of the user initiating a call. The information available from a caller ID can be used to display a specific CNAM caller name ID on iPhone credentials.


The primary benefits include:

A. Complete Caller Trust

The implementation of this system has established an elevated level of trust and security among callers. Individuals are more likely to answer calls that have a verified identity. Thus, the damages incurred through scam calls have been significantly compromised due to this technology. 

The CNAM system gives a phone number credibility and helps recipients identify the caller directly by the information shared on the caller ID. CNAM details help mobile phone users to make better decisions catering to the aspect of answering calls.

B. Ease Communication

CNAM simplifies the communication channel as users are aware if the call being initiated is from an unknown or unregistered phone number. Instead of answering every call, users can now screen, scrutinize, prioritise, and verify the identity of the caller. Thus, it helps to save time and ensure that users respond to phone calls that matter. Therefore, communication becomes more direct and smooth.

C. Enhancing Brand Image

Every business aspires to have a distinct brand identity so that it can be effectively recognised by its target audience. This aspect is fulfilled with a CNAM caller name ID on Android. Businesses can connect with their customers directly, allowing them to build a favourable image among the general public. 

Likewise, businesses can classify and segment calls according to their priority list, ensuring they deliver personalised solutions to every independent client. A brand’s reputation gets a massive boost with CNAM technology.

D. Maintaining Compliance Standards

CNAM plays an important role in maintaining compliance and legal standards in every industry. Businesses can maintain complete transparency by using their unique CNAM identity to communicate with their customers. 

The system also safeguards businesses from being framed by the malpractices of scammers. Hackers participating in various fraudulent activities tend to impersonate reputed business firms. Having a unique CNAM identity protects a business against such claims.

Limitations and Challenges

The technology offers a wide range of solutions to the final user. However, there are certain loopholes present in the system that also must be acknowledged by individuals and businesses. They are:

A. Inaccurate Data

CNAM technology primarily depends on the information registered by database operators. However, the data registered may sometimes be outdated, resulting in providing inaccurate information. The identity highlighted in the caller ID may be unavailable, old, or even incorrect. Thus, it can sometimes highlight data that does not accurately depict the true identity of the caller.

B. Unable to Extract Data for Blocked Numbers

CNAM cannot extract information for contacts that have been blocked or marked as unlisted. This feature is intentionally activated by the system as they are hindered from being disclosed to the general public. Therefore, users will only be able to view the phone numbers of blocked callers from its database. The identity of such phone numbers is withheld.

C. Incompatible to Number Porting

To enhance user experience, carrier firms now work with a wide range of additional services that help customers to attain complete satisfaction. The concept of number porting has gained a lot of popularity, which allows a user to switch networks while working the original phone number.

Consequently, it’s databases often fail to recognise the phone numbers that have been recently ported to a new network. Therefore, the identity of the previous business is detected rather than the present provider, in turn causing a lot of confusion among customers.

D. Influence of Third-Party Databases

CNAM databases are managed by third-party service providers. Therefore, the overall accuracy of the information shared highly depends on the frequency of updated data being registered. Inconsistent recording of different third-party databases can provide inaccurate information.

Moreover, the operation of this technology is only restricted to the US and some regions of Canada. The databases fail to recognise international calls originating from foreign countries.

Why use CNAM Service?

The services have notably enhanced trust and safety among individuals and businesses. The issues concerning fraud have also been effectively controlled with the introduction of latest technology. According to a recent study, it is estimated that close to 75% of Americans no longer answer phone calls originating from numbers that they do not recognise.

The overall transparency between businesses and the final customer has improved as phishing calls are restricted. Companies can now directly connect with their target audience, offering personalized solutions to every independent customer.

Related Article: Call Screening 101 – Everything You Need to Know

How to Check Your Number’s CNAM?

Individuals and businesses can verify their identity by following these measures:

  • Option 1: Users can seek assistance from API software to search relevant CNAM details of a specific phone number operating in the US.
  • Option 2: Session Initiation Protocol Trunking or SIP Trunking helps businesses conduct CNAM searches for the calls initiated on independent trunks.
  • Option 3: Consulting your carrier network is the best possible measure to effectively track and monitor CNAM details.

Do All Carriers Support CNAM?

As CNAM technology is only restricted within the United States of America and a few sections of Canada, registered carrier networks operating within these countries have access to it’s details. Other carrier service providers originating from foreign countries may also have access to CNAM databases depending on the agreement, policies, and technologies adopted.

What to do if Your CNAM is Not Showing?

There are multiple third-party databases that hold all the updated CNAM details for recognised phone numbers. Neustar is the foremost database service provider that holds most of the information. When a phone number is registered, the carrier network responsible must submit the application to databases like Neustar so that the records can be updated.

The issue that is not being detected may originate when a user activates number porting and shifts to a different carrier network. The new mobile operator must send a fresh application updating the databases about the porting process. Therefore, users are recommended to connect with their carrier service provider to ensure that CNAM details have been effectively shared with recognized third-party databases.


These are some of the foremost aspects that help us to answer the fundamental question, “What is a CNAM?” For more detailed information about this concept, be sure to contact the customer support team of your carrier service provider.


What is the maximum length of CNAM?

The minimum length is limited to 15 alphanumeric characters. 

How long does CNAM take to update?

Conventionally, the credentials take 72 hours to update. Connect with your carrier service provider to receive immediate updates considering CNAM registration.

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