T-Mobile today launched a new anti-robocalling feature for select Android phones. The carrier also says, however, that it is working with Apple to bring the technology to the iPhone.
T-Mobile’s technology was developed partnership with Comcast and attempts to curb the growing problem of robocalling in the United States. The feature is based on a combination of industry standards, as detailed by Reuters:
The feature uses an industry standard, called “Secure Telephony Identity Revisited (STIR) and Secure Handling of Asserted information using toKENs (SHAKEN),” or STIR/SHAKEN, to identify authentic calls across the networks.
T-Mobile’s feature works by marking authenticated callers as “verified,” which theoretically makes it easier for users to avoid robocalls and other spam calls. John Legere claims that T-Mobile is the “first” carrier to “cross industry lines” to protect consumers from robocalls:
“Robocalls and spam calls are an industry-wide problem, and we’ve got to join forces to keep consumers protected. Today, we’re the first to cross industry lines to do just that,” said John Legere, chief executive of T-Mobile.
Legere is presumably referring to the fact that T-Mobile’s feature is the first to work across multiple networks as it authenticates calls between its own network and Comcast. The feature will be available to both T-Mobile and Metro by T-Mobile customers, as well as Xfinity Voice home phone service users.
As for iPhone users, T-Mobile claims that it is working with Apple to implement support for the device. The iPhone added call blocking and identification features as part of iOS 10, but these capabilities are not at all powerful enough to combat robocalls and spam calls.
According to data from YouMail cited by Reuters, 5.2 billion robocalls were placed last month alone. Scams make up 40 percent of those calls. T-Mobile’s new service comes as the FCC has threatened to get involved unless carriers stepped up their efforts to prevent robocalls.