Be Wary Of Your Cell Phone Number

july 2, 2004

Be wary of your cell phone number being listed in a nation directory without your permission. US cell phone service providers are planning on putting together a national directory of numbers, and they plan to do it as an opt-out rather than an opt-in. What does that mean to you? You'd have to specifically call in to tell your cell phone service provided that you don't want your number listed -- instead of you calling in to (stupidly) tell them to list your number. Can you say "hello" to telemarketers calling your cell phone after your number is listed? I am going to write my provided T-Mobile to let them know that if they go ahead and join this national directory plan that I will be taking my service elsewhere -- as you should too. US Cellular and Verizon Wireless are the only companies who have said that they will not be part of the national directory. I think the other large providers should not do it either. Find me one person who would be willing to list their cell phone number publically for everyone to see. I think for most of us, the people that need our cell numbers have it. And the rest can ask us for it if they need to. I for one don't want my number listed publically, even if I didn't have to pay for minutes.

U.S. Cellular has vowed to withhold customers' numbers from any directory. And the nation's largest cell-phone service provider, Verizon Wireless, will not participate in a wireless directory to protect customer privacy. Other carriers, however, will begin working out details soon. As a result, a directory service could start next year.