If you're a complaint desk representative at Acme Exploding Bird Trap Co.'s Baltimore office, you will soon be able to look at your telephone and see that your disgruntled caller isn't just 555-1234. You'll know it's Coyote, Wile E.
Starting Dec. 1, Bell Atlantic Corp. will offer customers throughout Maryland an enhanced version of its Caller ID service that lets customers see the names as well as the phone numbers of their callers before picking up the phone.
The Caller ID Deluxe service, introduced on a trial basis in Virginia earlier this year, will display the name that appears on the caller's telephone account, up to 15 characters, with the last name appearing first. (That means Doe, John could actually be Doe, Mary, so be careful how you answer the phone.)
If nobody is home when the call comes in, the name and number of the caller would be stored in memory as a message.
Caller ID Deluxe will cost $7.50 a month compared with the $6.50 price tag on the basic service. Current Caller ID customers might have to upgrade their display units to display the longer message.
Individuals will be able to bypass Caller ID Deluxe, just as they can bypass the current service, by dialing *67 on a Touch-Tone phone or 1167 on a rotary phone. Caller ID customers can automatically reject calls from those who seek to remain anonymous at no extra charge.
Bell Atlantic spokesman Dave Pacholczyk said that for now many long-distance calls will not be identified by the service. He said that will change as of April, when the Federal Communications Commission will require that Caller ID information be transmitted in long-distance calling.