Mobile and AT&T work together to fight robocalls across their networks

A smartphone with an incoming phone call from an unknown caller

A smartphone with an incoming phone call from an unknown caller

A spoofed call can show an incorrect caller ID, potentially leading people to accept it because they trust who they think it is. If you have a compatible T-Mobile or Metro by T-Mobile device, you'll see "Caller Verified" on calls from AT&T Wireless that pass the authentication system.

AT&T and T-Mobile both offer free blocking services, but they both also charge $4 a month extra for their most thorough blocking services. The protocols use digital certificates to ensure the incoming phone number is originating from a device that is registered to that number.

The scourge of robocalls and spoofed numbers is bad as now as it's ever been, but in recent weeks, the government and the private sector have both been taking the issue more seriously.

Because of this, SHAKEN and STIR will work best when it's adopted by all major phone providers, and the Federal Communications Commission has been urging carriers to deploy it quickly.

An agreement on SHAKEN/STIR was inked between T-Mobile and Comcast Xfinity Home land lines in April 2019, as well as between AT&T and Xfinity Home land lines, and now AT&T and T-Mobile are joining up the triangle.

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The progress big carriers hopefully make here is important, but as Ars Technica points out, it's not clear that the changes announced today will solve, well, much of anything in the short term. Verizon is also likely to implement the technology on its network in the coming months. But calls that fail the new Caller ID verification test will not come with warnings unless there's another reason to suspect that it's a scam, T-Mobile told Ars.

The plan involves implementing the "SHAKEN/STIR framework", an industry-developed standard that can validate phone calls from one carrier to another.

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. If that's not showing, you'll know that the call could be suspicious.

"Consumers want and need reliable caller ID information". For one, this specific effort won't actually block robocalls.

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