The scourge of robocalls and spoofed numbers is bad as now as it’s ever been, but in recent weeks, the government and the private sector have both been taking the issue more seriously. In fact, US mobile carriers T-Mobile and AT&T revealed on Wednesday that they are teaming up to bring call cross-network call authentication protections to their subscribers. That’s right — two of the industry’s biggest rivals are working together to help you.
T-Mobile and AT&T will take advantage of the SHAKEN/STIR caller authentication technology to ensure that anyone who receives a call on either of their networks or between their networks knows when the call is legitimate and when it’s spam. SHAKEN/STIR will verify a call is from the number that appears on your caller ID.
As we’ve noted in previous articles about the robocall nightmare, SHAKEN/STIR (which stands for Signature-based Handling of Asserted Information Using toKENs and the Secure Telephone Identity Revisited) is the standard that the FCC recommends carriers use to digitally verify phone calls. T-Mobile and AT&T say that SHAKEN/STIR will be more effective as more device makers and network providers support the technology.
“U.S. mobile customers received nearly 48 billion robocalls last year – more than 150 calls for every adult!” the joint press release from T-Mobile and AT&T declares. “Unwanted robocalls aren’t slowing down but caller verification can help customers better decide which calls they answer or ignore.”
We’re still a ways away from robocalls being intercepted and cut off before they reach our phones, but this is a huge step in the right direction, especially for those of us who still actually make and receive phone calls on a regular basis and don’t want to second guess every time we have to pick up the phone.