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MetroPCS debuts caller ID using directory information

Caller ID has been around on cell phones since they became huge earlier this decade. However, it has always been limited to the contacts in your address book. Without a listing, all you see is the incoming number, if available. MetroPCS has changed all that. They’ve announced Screen-it, a program which displays the incoming caller information, including name, even if the caller is not in your address book. No longer will you be scratching your head and wondering: “Who’s number is that?” Or will you?

I have to wonder if this will work for cell phone lines. On one hand, I imagine it wouldn’t. Our cell phones are not in a public directory, so it would seem difficult to procure those numbers and match them to names for this service. If you only get information when a landline calls you, well, is that really worth it?

On the other hand, in sampling a number of visual voicemail services, I noticed that some of them displayed my friends’ cell phone names and numbers when they left me a message. I usually keep their first name or a nickname in my address book, but this gave me first and last. So perhaps there is a way to cull information from a cell phone number, despite the lack of a public directory.

The service will be launched later this month and will be included with “select wireless packages.” I’m guessing this means $45, maybe $50 and up. It will also be available as an a la carte addition to a lower plan.