Caller ID Name (CNAM)

This glossary was last updated on Jan. 22, 2024.

What is CNAM? 

CNAM means Caller ID Name and is the first and last name, or company name, associated with a phone number. 

A component of Caller ID, CNAM may be displayed to users on the receiving end of calls. However, CNAM isn’t standardized across communications service providers so specific carriers might not offer this identifier.

The CNAM might also be blocked, restricted, or ‘not available.’ 

How CNAM works in the U.S.

During a call, CNAM information isn’t sent. Instead, the terminating carrier is responsible for providing the Caller ID Name to call recipients. 

This happens by performing a database lookup using the caller’s telephone number. However, if the data isn’t with that carrier, then the terminating carrier performs a CNAM lookup and pays the carrier hosting the caller ID name.

Caller ID vs. CNAM 

Caller ID, or CLID, is the actual phone number calling you. CNAM, on the other hand, is the text that tells you the identifying name for the number. 

How is Bandwidth involved with CNAM lookup?

When Bandwidth delivers an inbound phone call, our customers can use an API function called ‘CNAM Lookup’ to input the phone number and query the caller ID. You can think of it as ‘do it yourself’ caller ID.

Bandwidth makes available an API that acts as a query service for our customers to input a phone number, and return the caller ID. 

Bandwidth makes it easy to manage CNAM records through either web portal or API, all with Bandwidth’s world-class customer support.

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