T-Mobile has reached another milestone in the spam and texting war by offering STIR / SHAKEN support on all major networks in the US. This will go a long way in preventing scammers from dodging anti-spam and call blocking methods by forging caller ID information. T-Mobile is the first major wireless carrier to meet the targets of the TRACED law by the FCC-mandated June 30 deadline.
Scammers notoriously use number spoofing to hide the true origin of a call or text message, sometimes going so far as to use an area code that matches that of the number they are contacting. The STIR / SHAKEN protocols are designed to make this policy easily discoverable by adding metadata to the origin of a call or SMS and sending it over networks so that the destination can determine if the caller ID information is correct.
T-Mobile’s announcement highlights that 98% of all wireless customers in the US are now covered by STIR / SHAKEN through its network. In other words, if a call comes from or goes to a T-Mobile customer, it is very likely that it has been verified and came from the number displayed in the caller information. While calls can still come from sources where they can be forged, they will not be verified and should be marked as unverified numbers.
This is not the first “first” for T-Mobile in the fight against number spoofing. The un-carrier is in charge with the first functioning call verification between two networks in early 2019 and later across three networks at the end of the same year. Integrations continued in 2020 and T-Mobile finally completed its goal with the integration of Spectrum Voice from Charter Communications.
The TRACED law will go into effect on June 30 and requires that all major networks connect STIR / SHAKEN integration to all other major networks. This leaves almost exactly three months for everyone to get started. Given that the roadblocks for interconnecting each carrier have largely been laid down in a few budding networks and completed the final tests, we can expect quite a few similar announcements before the June deadline.