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MetroPCS customers will know when you're calling

October 16, 2008 |  2:25 pm

MetroPCS The "ignore" button on cellphones is an altogether underappreciated feature. If you know who's calling, you can assess whether it's really worth it to interrupt what you're doing to talk to them, then use this button to send them merrily along to voicemail without them knowing you did so.

But the "ignore" button is most easily used when you actually know who's calling. Oftentimes, an unidentified number will call, and you'll be forced to answer. The temptation of the unknown is just too great. What if it's the lottery commission calling to tell you you've won $17 million and you need to come claim it immediately before they pass it on to someone else? Such are the travails of modern life.

Today, MetroPCS launches a solution to help you with this quandary. Called Screen-it, the service displays the caller's name, whether or not he or she is in your phone's list of contacts. So if the lottery commission did call and you'd never called it before or entered its information into your phone, its name and number would still pop up on screen. This could earn you $17 million! This service has been available on landline phones for years, but MetroPCS says it's the first time it's available on cellphones.

MetroPCS is working with TARGUSinfo on the service: TARGUSinfo has a phone database of numbers and names that it can use in caller ID services.

Sadly, this is only available to MetroPCS subscribers, who number 4.8 million nationwide. They'll be able to ignore the rest of us with abandon.

-- Alana Semuels

Photo by MetroPCS