Improved Number Search - Now Public!

More ways to search and sign up is no longer required.

Published on January, 11th 2022

We just started 2022 and BuzzMeIn is already getting better! Hopefully you enjoyed the holidays with your loved ones and are staying safe.

As we learned in our previous blog post, BuzzMeIn makes it super easy to forward your apartment buzzer to your cell phone. This is important for folks with a long-distance number in certain buildings - let me explain...

If you had a cell phone about 10 or 15 years ago, you probably remember long-distance charges or, e.g. in Europe, different call rates depending on which network you are calling. Those were the days before unlimited nationwide calling or all-net flats. Basically back then it was more expensive to call from one carrier to another, or from one city to another - similar to how calling a number abroad is usually more expensive.

The reason for this (partially) was that those calls were more expensive for phone service provider, so they pass on these costs to their customers. But people were good at avoiding these costs, e.g. knowing which of your friends were using which network.

The same goes for apartment buzzer systems. Their operators too want to avoid higher costs from people receiving buzzer calls on numbers that incur long-distance or other additional charges. So many systems are locked down so that specific numbers that can't be added. Most commonly it is not possible to add a number with the leading 1 - the country calling code for US & Canada - which is often required to dial long-distance numbers.

But now we live in 2022, can we just move on and receive our buzzer calls on our cell phone?! Yes, we can! The "secret" is to get a phone number that is permitted by your buzzer system, and here is how you do it. Unfortunately this often involves trial and error, so be nice to your building manager when asking them to update your phone number in the buzzer system (it might not be the last time).

The safest way to get a number that works with your buzzer requires your to know the system's phone number. By knowing where the calls come from, we can try to pick a number that shouldn't incur any extra charges. You can find out this number by asking the building manager or your neighbours - they should see it on their caller ID when someone rings their buzzer.

Let's assume your building's number is +1 (604) 330 5000. We definitely need a number in the US/Canada - country calling code +1 - and most likely with the 604 area code. But if you think that any +1 (604) xxx xxxx number will do, you might be mistaken. In some areas, a single area code covers multiple cities or towns. In this case even a phone number with the same area code might be considered "long distance" 🤯

Meet BuzzMeIn's new prefix search 🎉 Now you can search for the perfect number that will almost guaranteed work with your buzzer system! New! Phone number search by area code and prefix

Unfortunately phone numbers are a limited resource. Sure, theoretically there are almost 10 billion possible combinations for Canadian and American phone numbers. But some numbers are reserved and it's not just people's cell phones that have individual phone numbers. And if you'd like a phone number matching not just the area code but also the next 3 digits, now there are only 9,999 possible numbers left.

So what to do when you can't find a number that also matches the first 3 digits after the area code or if you don't know your building's outgoing buzzer number?

BuzzMeIn also lets you search phone numbers based on location. Let's say you live in Victoria on beautiful Vancouver Island, you might be able to use a (236) or (778) phone number which shouldn't count as a long distance number for calls coming from Victoria. Find numbers with different area codes for your location.

Now all this is harder than it should be and unfortunately that won't change anytime soon. But the BuzzMeIn number search is now available to anyone without having to sign up first! 🎉

It is very annoying having to sign up for a service just to find out that it doesn't offer what you need. Initially the search was restricted to signed up users to avoid potential high search traffic by spammers and other bad actors. But the user experience is the most important, so let's hope for once we can have nice things on the internet.

Are you ready to make the first step? Go ahead and find your number now!

Cheers,
Axel