T-Mobile and Sprint’s proposed merger still hasn’t been approved by the FCC but they are now working together to help consumers in the fight against robocalls. The two carriers announced that they are implementing the Stir/Shaken call verification technology between their networks. This means that if you’ve subscribed to one and you receive a call from the other, you will be notified that it is indeed a legitimate number and not someone else pretending to be that number.
Robocalls are some of the most prevalent annoyances that consumers receive, to the point that there have been congressional hearings on how carriers should protect their subscribers against those. The Stir/Shaken standard is one solution that the FCC has recommended. The next step, of course, is to implement it across networks which the major carriers are slowly doing. T-Mobile says they were the first to announce their readiness back in 2018 and has now implemented it across four networks: Comcast Xfinity Voice home phone service, AT&T Wireless, Inteliquent and now Sprint.
The anti-robocalling feature has started rolling out to both T-Mobile and Sprint customers. When you receive calls from either, you will see that the number is real as it will display “Caller Verified” and it is the actual number displayed on your caller ID. Bad actors try to trick networks into thinking that they’re legit numbers but in fact, they’re just spoofing a real number. This is where the Stir/Shaken technology comes in, plus “reasonable analytics”.
Caller Verified is now supported across 23 smartphones on the T-Mobile network. They promised that they will be bringing it to more devices soon, although there is no indicated timetable as to when that will be. Oh and in case you didn’t know yet, Stir/Shaken stands for Secure Telephone Identity Revisited (STIR) and Signature-based Handling of Asserted Information Using toKENs (SHAKEN).
The FCC, led by chairman Ajit Pai, has been pressuring carriers to implement these anti-robocall measures and has even threatened “regulatory intervention” if they do not apply it soon. Hopefully, all the cross-network stuff will be ironed out soon so everyone can stop getting these spoofed calls.