As recent industry reports show that nearly half of U.S. calls this year could be scams, there’s finally a glimmer of hope. A major carrier has begun to deploy one of the most effective tools at fighting the plague of illegal calls—but so far, it works on just a single phone model.
T-Mobile announced today it is releasing a new system for verifying calls. Under their call verification system, if a T-Mobile user calls someone else who uses T-Mobile on a supported device, then the recipient will see a “Caller Verified” notice. Currently, only Galaxy Note 9 phones will have this call-verification technology, via a new software update on the phone. The company says that more phones will be able to use this service later in the year.
It’s a step towards people being able to know whether a familiar-looking call is coming from a real human using their real number, not some asshole spammer.
The company is among the first carriers to implement the so-called SHAKEN (Signature-based Handling of Asserted information using toKENs) and STIR (Secure Telephone Identity Revisited) technologies that essentially provide phones with a sort of digital authentication. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai demanded on November 5 that all carriers start implementing the technologies. Several major carriers responded later that month, showing how close they were to rolling out the services.
At the time of the filings, T-Mobile seemed to be among the most prepared to adopt SHAKEN/STIR. Once other carriers adopt this technology, it won’t just have to be a service that only benefits a subset of T-Mobile users when they receive calls from fellow T-Mobile users—it can work across all networks.
Here’s hoping Sprint, Verizon, and AT&T move fast to catch up.