T-Mobile brings caller ID to cell phones

It’s a move that will surely leave some people saying, “Why did it take this long?”

The one major feature that landline phones have still managed to hold over mobile phones is caller ID – the ability to tell users who is calling even if they have never received a call from that number before.

For mobile phones, it’s possible to display a caller’s name, show a picture, and even play a different ringtone, but only if you’ve taken the time to program that caller into your contact list ahead of time.

Now, T-Mobile is bringing what has become a ubiquitous feature for landlines to the mobile space for the first time. The carrier calls the new service Name ID, and it’s powered by a company called Cequint.

“It’s so simple — it’s not sexy, it’s not cool, it’s not a video game, but it could be one of the best additions to mobile,” said Cequint CEO Rick Hennessey in a statement.

Name ID is an extra service that T-Mobile customers will have to specifically sign up for. It costs $3.99 per month and only works on supported phones, but it’s quite likely it will be a standard supported feature on all or most all T-Mobile phones in the future.

Additionally, the carrier said it will be updating existing phones to be able to use the feature in the coming months.

One of the first devices available is the Samsung Exhibit, a new Android-powered phone exclusively offered through T-Mobile. It could be a competitive advantage to bring T-Mobile back into the game after it has failed to attract much excitement in the last couple years.