Automatic Number Identification

Definition of Automatic Number Identification

Automatic Number Identification (ANI) is a telecommunication technology used by phone service providers to identify and display the phone number of a caller to the recipient. It is similar to Caller ID, but ANI primarily serves to track billing details and call routing information. Unlike Caller ID, ANI cannot be blocked by the caller, ensuring the receiving party gets accurate information.


The phonetics of the keyword “Automatic Number Identification” is:ɔːˈtəʊˌmætɪk ˈnʌmbər ˌaɪdɛnˈtɪfɪˌkeɪʃn

Key Takeaways

  1. Automatic Number Identification (ANI) is a telecommunication system feature that identifies and displays the telephone number of the calling party on the receiver’s device before the call is answered.
  2. ANI is mainly used for billing purposes, call routing, and call tracking, enabling telephone companies to provide efficient services to customers and effectively manage network resources.
  3. Although beneficial, ANI can raise privacy concerns as the caller’s phone number is shared without their consent. To counter this, call blocking and number spoofing services can be used to preserve caller privacy.

Importance of Automatic Number Identification

Automatic Number Identification (ANI) is a crucial aspect of telecommunications technology, as it enables the swift and accurate identification of the calling party’s phone number.

The importance of ANI lies in its ability to streamline billing procedures, facilitate emergency services by providing accurate caller location, enhance call routing processes, and support call tracking for various business applications.

Furthermore, ANI ensures better customer service by allowing businesses to efficiently retrieve customer information before agents answer the call, ultimately leading to a more personalized experience.

Overall, ANI plays a crucial role in streamlining communication, enhancing operational efficiency, and ensuring effective decision-making in both personal and professional settings.


Automatic Number Identification (ANI) serves a crucial purpose in the world of telecommunications by enabling the efficient and swift identification of a caller’s phone number. This technology plays a vital role in connecting calls accurately and quickly, allowing both service providers and emergency services to track and record essential information concerning the specific phone numbers involved in a call.

Developed initially for the long distance billing purposes of telephone companies, ANI has since expanded its applications to incorporate a wide range of industries, including telemarketing, call centers, and emergency response services. One of the prime uses of ANI lies in its ability to facilitate prompt and effective assistance during emergencies.

When a distressed individual contacts emergency services, the technology instantly allows the operator to access the caller’s phone number and, subsequently, their location information. This vital data empowers emergency services to respond quickly and accurately to situations, potentially saving lives.

Furthermore, businesses and call centers depend on ANI to personalize customer interactions, route calls effectively, and monitor call data for fraud prevention and quality assurance purposes. By providing crucial caller information to various organizations and services, Automatic Number Identification contributes significantly to augmenting operational efficiencies, bolstering safety measures, and enhancing our overall communication experiences.

Examples of Automatic Number Identification

Example 1: Emergency Services (such as 911)Automatic Number Identification (ANI) plays a critical role in emergency services. Whenever someone dials 911 or their local emergency number, ANI technology helps identify the caller’s phone number and location, which enables emergency responders to dispatch assistance even if the caller is unable to communicate their specific location. The quick identification of the caller’s information through ANI can save time and potentially lives in an emergency situation.Example 2: Call Centers and Customer Support ServicesBusinesses and organizations often use ANI technology to enhance their customer service, particularly in call centers. When a customer calls, the ANI system identifies the phone number and integrates it with the company’s CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software. This provides customer service representatives with the caller’s information, including their name, address, and previous interactions with the company. This allows for more personalized and efficient customer service experience.Example 3: Call Tracking and TelemarketingANI technology helps businesses track and analyze their inbound and outbound calls. By allowing the identification of the calling and called numbers, businesses can analyze call patterns, the effectiveness of their marketing campaigns, and measure the success of sales personnel. In telemarketing, ANI allows companies to display a local or familiar number to the recipient, which increases the likelihood of the recipient answering the call. Additionally, it helps telemarketing companies ensure they are complying with the “Do Not Call” lists by identifying the numbers they are calling, enabling them to prevent dialing restricted numbers.

Automatic Number Identification FAQ

What is Automatic Number Identification (ANI)?

Automatic Number Identification (ANI) is a telecommunication system feature that identifies and displays the telephone number of the calling party on the recipient’s telephone or other communication device during an incoming call.

How does ANI work?

ANI works by sending the calling party’s telephone number along with the call setup information. This data is then transmitted to the recipient’s phone company, where it is processed and displayed on the recipient’s telephone or device.

What are the benefits of ANI?

ANI provides various benefits, such as enabling call routing to the appropriate department, identifying callers for call-backs or follow-ups, and aiding in call tracking and fraud prevention. It can also improve customer service by allowing call recipients to access relevant information or records before answering the call.

Is ANI the same as Caller ID?

No, ANI and Caller ID are different features. Although both display the caller’s telephone number, ANI is primarily used by phone companies for billing purposes and cannot be blocked by the caller. On the other hand, Caller ID is a separate service designed for customers, and callers can block or alter the information displayed through various methods.

Can I block my own ANI information from being transmitted?

No, ANI information cannot be blocked by the caller, as it is used by telephone companies for billing purposes and to route calls properly. However, the Caller ID information, which is visible to the call recipient, can be blocked or altered in certain circumstances.

Related Technology Terms

  • Caller ID
  • Telephone Number Identification
  • Dialed Number Identification Service (DNIS)
  • Line Information Database (LIDB)
  • Number Portability Administration Center (NPAC)

Sources for More Information


About The Authors

The DevX Technology Glossary is reviewed by technology experts and writers from our community. Terms and definitions continue to go under updates to stay relevant and up-to-date. These experts help us maintain the almost 10,000+ technology terms on DevX. Our reviewers have a strong technical background in software development, engineering, and startup businesses. They are experts with real-world experience working in the tech industry and academia.

See our full expert review panel.

These experts include:


About Our Editorial Process

At DevX, we’re dedicated to tech entrepreneurship. Our team closely follows industry shifts, new products, AI breakthroughs, technology trends, and funding announcements. Articles undergo thorough editing to ensure accuracy and clarity, reflecting DevX’s style and supporting entrepreneurs in the tech sphere.

See our full editorial policy.

More Technology Terms

Technology Glossary

Table of Contents