What is a Phone Number Carrier Lookup API?
Carrier lookup services leverage databases to provide mobile network information associated with a particular mobile phone number. They provide not only information about the carrier (usually a numeric code) but additional information like location data, country code, and local format for the phone number.
Some carrier APIs also do phone number lookups or help you weed out invalid phone numbers.
Benefits of Using a Carrier Lookup API
If you use SMS verification for user authentication, you may be frequently sending SMS messages to many different countries. The cell phone carriers in these countries may have different rules regarding how information should be sent - for example, some accept Unicode formats while others do not.
It is recommended to perform a carrier lookup for each carrier associated with the phone numbers in your user data at least once. However, rules and regulations change frequently, so to keep your carrier information up to date, you should plan to perform carrier lookups monthly or even more frequently.
How to Choose the Best Phone Carrier Lookup API
When it comes to choosing a phone carrier lookup API, the most important thing to consider is ease of integration and customer support. While it can be tempting to simply opt for the cheapest plan, you want to make sure you have a good support team behind you in case something goes wrong.
We recommend evaluating the following criteria when looking at phone carrier lookup APIs:
- clear, intuitive interface
- Rest JSON API
- handles international phone numbers
- offers both real-time API requests and bulk lookup
- 98% or better accuracy
- 99% or better uptime
- reliable customer serviceap
- easy to integrate into your app or website
- reasonable price
Top Phone Number Carrier Lookup APIs
We tested some of the most commonly used APIs on the market to find the best ones for your business. These were our favorites based on functionality, pricing, and available features.
The AbstractAPI Free Phone Number Validation API is quick to get started with and easy to use. While it is primarily a number lookup API and validation service, it also provides carrier information:
- quick and easy startup
- includes number type and carrier data
- code snippets for popular programming languages, plus tutorials on how to use the APIs
- customer support may be lacking
The free tier allows up to 250 API calls per month at 1 request/second. From there, pricing starts at $17/month for up to 30,000 requests per year at 5 requests/second and increases up to $391/month for up to 3 million requests per year at 200 requests/second.
Numverify’s API supports carrier lookup in over 230 countries, while also providing line type detection and country and location data. They also have a set of tutorial guides to help you get up and running with the API, with code snippets and examples included:
- clear documentation with multiple easy-to-follow tutorials
- generous free tier
Numverify offers a free tier with up to 1000 API calls per month and no customer support. The next tier up is $14.99/month for up to 5000 requests with support, then $59.99/month for up to 50,000 requests, and $129.99/month for up to 250,000 requests.
IPQualityScore is primarily an IP geolocation API that provides geographical information about a given IP address. However, they also have a Phone Validator API that does carrier lookup. Roaming status, carrier lookups, and line type checks are fully available for most countries.
- maintains partnerships with telecom companies to ensure carrier data is accurate
- can detect blacklisted, inactive, and fake numbers
- difficult to get started (although you can test one number at a time in the browser)
IPQualityScore pricing is not available online. Contact a sales representative for more information.
Twilio is by far the most trusted name in communication data and telecom integration. They offer Phone Lookup that returns information like validation and formatting, carrier name, caller name (in the US only), and line type.
Unfortunately, the Twilio solution is not an API - you must download and use the Twilio CLI or deploy an app to Twilio to get started. This might be a more complicated process than most small business or hobbyist developers are willing to undertake, and if all you need is carrier info, there are easier ways to get it.
- trusted name / big company
- clear docs
- overkill for most purposes
Twilio’s pricing for this particular service is not available online. You can start for free or contact a sales representative for more information.
5. Numlookup API
The Numlookup API boasts over 99% uptime in the last several years and they guarantee 24-hour turnaround for customer support (on paid plans only.) They provide phone number validation and lookup, returning carrier dageta along with other information.
We found it easy to start testing the service via the free tier, but rate limits are low and will be hit very quickly.
- SDKs for Python, Ruby, Node.js, and PHP
- higher paid tiers allow multiple API keys
- free tier limits are low
- not all data for mobile numbers is available on the free plan
Numlookup API’s free tier allows up to 100 requests at 10 requests/minute. Their basic plan is $9/month for up to 7000 requests. Plans increase to $44/month for up to 65,000 requests and $89/month for up to 300,000 requests.
Plivo maintains APIs for several different use cases, including verification, voice calling, VOIP, SMS, and phone number lookup. Their Number Lookup API not only returns information like carrier data, etc. but also matches phone numbers to IP addresses for added security.
You can sign up and get started for free, although pricing specifically for the Number Lookup API was difficult to find online.
- trusted name
- powerful API that can be leveraged for multiple use cases
- not easy to get up and running
Plivo offers flexible pricing, both as pay-as-you-go and via a monthly subscription. Prices specifically for the Number Lookup API are not available online - contact a sales representative.
7. D7 API
D7’s Number Lookup API offers number validation, active status, geolocation data, carrier information, and line type detection. They also integrate with other services to enhance the data available via the API.
Signing up for a free account was not possible, and we found their pricing structure difficult to parse.
- powerful and flexible API
- customer support
- opaque pricing and barriers to quickly getting started
- their offerings may be overkill for someone simply looking for carrier data
Pricing for the phone number lookup API is not available online. Contact a sales representative.
Integration and Technical Considerations
Most of these APIs have extensive and easy-to-parse documentation about how to integrate them into existing services. If they don’t, consider using a different API, because documentation and ease of use should be one of the things you evaluate when choosing a service.
Generally, to integrate an API with your existing codebase, you need to set up a request/response handler to send requests to the API endpoint, with the API key and phone number included as request parameters. The handler should also receive the JSON response, parse it, and pull out the relevant information to be passed to the client, server, or wherever it is needed.
Case Studies and Success Stories
“Huge time saver! I wish we set up this type of phone and email verification sooner so we had cleaner data, but thankfully we're protected now going forward with Abstract's APIs.” - Chris Stanley, Scope on AbstractAPI’s Phone Number Validation API
“We have been using Plivo for several years without any issues. It was easy to set up and configure with our FreePBX server. It's ease to use and easy to integrate the services. Also, their Support and services are very good.” - Anonymous, on Plivo’s Phone Number Lookup API
“D7 provide free credits until the integrations are successful and webchat support is easily reachable and awesome. You can signup with social media authentication and there aren't any more verifications. You can directly start using after signup. D7 provides free sender id for most of the countries and you can easily get it by contacting them over webchat.”
If you send bulk SMS or use SMS for user authentication and verification, carrier lookup should be an integral part of your app’s architecture. Carrier lookup is also useful for individuals seeking more information about a phone number - for example, location.
Choosing the right carrier lookup service for your business requires an examination of your business’s particular needs and use cases.
What is a phone number carrier lookup API?
A carrier lookup API provides information about the network or carrier for a mobile number. They often also provide additional information like country or other geographical data, IP matching, phone number validation, and active status.
How does carrier lookup API improve business communication?
Carrier lookup helps you stay on top of which carriers your users use so that you can ensure that you are up to date and compliant with the various rules and regulations of those carriers.
Can I integrate a phone carrier lookup API into my existing CRM?
Yes! Phone carrier APIs are generally simple REST APIs that return JSON responses. All that is needed to communicate with them is a GET or POST request.
What are the costs associated with using a phone lookup API?
Different platforms provide services at different price points. Contact a sales representative from the platforms you are evaluating for more details.