T-Mobile announced on Wednesday that it is working with Apple and other smartphone makers to bring new anti-robocalling tools to its customers.
The Uncarrier is relying on the “SHAKEN (Handling of Asserted information using toKENs) and STIR (Secure Telephony Identity Revisited)” protocol.
Essentially, SHAKEN/STIR is a system that verifies whether a call is actually being made from the number that it claims to be.
T-Mobile says its system will display a “Caller Verified” tag if the standard authenticates a call made on its network.
It’s the same standard that other telecom firms in the U.S. are developing or bringing to their customers.
Who Can Get It?
T-Mobile officially launched the call protection system on Wednesday in partnership with Comcast, Reuters reported.
Currently, it’s only available for a handful of Samsung and LG smartphones owned by T-Mobile and Metro by T-Mobile customers.
But the telecom firm told Reuters that it’s working with Apple and other device manufactures to bring its SHAKEN/STIR system to a wider variety of smartphones “in the near future.”
If the amusingly named SHAKEN/STIR standard sounds familiar, it’s because the system has been heralded by the Federal Communications Commission as a way to fight back against robocalls in the U.S.
In fact, the FCC said it will “step in” if major telecom companies in the U.S. don’t implement SHAKEN/STIR before the end of 2019.
Earlier this year, Verizon officially launched its own SHAKEN/STIR anti-robocall tool for customers on its network. And AT&T announced back in March that it had tested what it calls the nation’s first cross-platform anti-spam call measure based on SHAKEN/STIR with Comast.
Interestingly, T-Mobile is also claiming that its platform is the “nation’s first.” And to be fair, Wednesday’s launch of the feature seems to suggest that the Uncarrier has beaten AT&T to the punch on the feature. (AT&T and Comcast’s version is expected to roll out later this year.)
SHAKEN/STIR isn’t perfect, since it won’t block calls — it’ll only verify if they are authentic. But it is certainly a step in the right direction for the telecom industry, since consumers have largely been left with no choice but to resort to third-party tools like Call Control.
According to YouMail reports, robocalls have reached epidemic proportions in the U.S. An average of 168 million robocall are made every day, and an estimated 40 percent of those are thought to be scam calls.