Not everything touted as CNAM is actually network CNAM. Providing real network CNAM requires relationships and connectivity to all the authoritative SNCCs that store carrier supplied values associated with each telephone number. Traditional network CNAM also means that, when there is a value stored by the carrier which provides the service for that phone number, the SNCC storing the name value is queried in real-time. At times this may vary in terms of price per query, because each authoritative database storing the CNAM values have different contractual arrangements with each provider.

The Changing CNAM Landscape

The landscape of CNAM has slowly changed over the last two decades as a result of mergers and acquisitions. While there has been some consolidation within the industry, there are many carriers that choose to continue to maintain their subscriber name values with the same CNAM storage providers they have used for years, which have remained unaffected by these M&A events. Many of these carriers and others that are actively looking for alternatives to Neustar prefer the traditional network CNAM values, when available. There is a simple reason that this preference exists. The effort by Neustar to centralize CNAM has exposed carriers to inconsistent CNAM results. Inaccuracies, due to authoritative network values being bypassed in favor of lower cost in-house proprietary data, has led to customer complaints for many carriers. Here is what happens: the SNCCs that house carrier supplied name values for many millions of phone numbers being stored outside of the Neustar ecosystem are skipped over in favor of their low-cost in-house data. These values may often times be out-of-date or completely inaccurate, yet some carriers are under the impression that what they are purchasing is actual CNAM. While this is not necessarily a frequent occurrence, it happens enough to be a pain point for carriers, and it represents a departure from the traditional telecom standards that the industry has come to expect for decades.

The Confusion Around Hybrid Caller ID Products

Hybrid CNAM products such as Caller Name are often times a source of confusion due to the manner in which it is marketed, sold, and supported. When an end user experiences an issue with Caller ID, it usually works its way back to the carrier. This means someone within the telephone company has to interact with their CNAM vendor. Each time this happens, it’s a negative experience for the end user, and it also represents a loss of productivity for the carrier. Products that bypass authoritative sources for carrier-supplied CNAM values can be massaged during the sales process through marketing, but at OpenCNAM, we believe the carrier-supplied values must be used, when available. This ensures that the carriers, and thus their customers, can always expect to receive an authoritative telco originated value if there is a carrier-supplied value.

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