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T-Mobile has blocked one billion spam calls in the last 18 months

Published Nov 9th, 2018 5:02PM EST

We’ve told you in the past about estimates suggesting that your cell phone is going to be bombarded with a ton more spam calls next year. Estimates vary, but the increase is forecasted to mean around half, and maybe more, of all mobile traffic in 2019 will be attributable to such calls.

That’s not to say preparations aren’t being made to fight them. Indeed, T-Mobile today has touted its record over the last 18 months of having blocked 1 billion such spam calls to its customers’ phones, and that its Scam ID and Scam Block technology has helped the so-called Un-carrier flag more than 6 billion calls as “likely” spam.

Building on that, T-Mobile also announced today that it’s rolling out more protections to stop customers from being harassed by such calls. On the heels of the FCC calling on the industry to implement STIR (Secure Telephony Identity Revisited) and SHAKEN (Secure Handling of Asserted information using toKENs) standards, T-Mobile said today that it is the first in the industry to be ready to implement both standards. “When adopted industry-wide,” according to a spokesman, “these standards will allow customers to know the calls they are receiving are verified as authentic and not spoofed or hijacked by scammers.”

Meanwhile, T-Mobile also said today that it’s integrated new spoof identification technology at the network level, “meaning that Scam ID and Scam Block, the Un-carrier’s free scam detection services, can now better catch and stop spoofed numbers from reaching your phone.” the spokesman continued. In terms of other benefits, the Un-carrier also touts its offering of free scam protection on any device without the need for an app or registration.

“In addition to being first to announce readiness for both the new STIR/SHAKEN standards,” T-Mobile said in its announcement today, “T-Mobile improved its popular Scam ID and Scam Block with new protections against the increasingly common ‘Neighborhood Spoofing’ — where scammers temporarily hijack a phone number to match the area code and 3-digit prefix of the person they are targeting, making the incoming call look familiar. Existing protection apps can only black-list against known scam numbers, not legitimate numbers that’ve been temporarily hijacked by scammers.

“Together with partner First Orion, T-Mobile is the only major wireless provider to add and deliver new protections at the network level. That means Un-carrier customers can expect fewer of these types of calls, thanks to intelligent analysis of network-wide data that better pinpoints and identifies the origin of a call before it reaches your phone.”

Andy Meek Trending News Editor

Andy Meek is a reporter based in Memphis who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming.

Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.