What you need to know

  • T-Mobile and AT&T have rolled out cross-network call authentication based on SHAKEN/STIR standards to protect their consumers from robocalls.
  • SHAKEN/STIR technology makes it possible for people to know whether or not an incoming call is actually coming from the number being shown on the caller ID display.
  • In June this year, the FCC voted to allow carriers to block robocalls by default.

T-Mobile and AT&T today announced the rollout of cross-network call authentication technology across their networks. The call authentication technology is based on SHAKEN/STIR standards, which means AT&T and T-Mobile subscribers will now be notified in case an incoming call is a spoofed robocall.

If you are an AT&T or T-Mobile subscriber, you will soon start seeing a "Caller Verified" message whenever you receive an incoming call that is really coming from the number that you see on the caller ID display. In case you don't see the "Caller Verified" message, it is likely that the call is from a spammer or a spoofed robocall.

In November last year, FCC chairman Ajit Pai had asked all major U.S. carriers to deploy a call authentication system using the SHAKEN/STIR framework by the end of 2019. More recently, the FCC voted to allow carriers in the U.S. to block robocalls by default.

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The first U.S. carrier to implement call authentication using the SHAKEN/STIR framework was T-Mobile, which introduced it in January this year. AT&T teamed up with Comcast in March this year to authenticate calls between their networks, while T-Mobile partnered with Comcast in April. Sprint is expected to roll out call authentication on its network sometime in the second half of the year. Verizon is also likely to implement the technology on its network in the coming months.

Even though SHAKEN/STIR call authentication systems cannot eliminate the robocall problem completely, they will help consumers ignore spoofed robocalls. According to data from YouMail Robocall Index, nearly 48 billion robocalls were made in the U.S. last year.

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