In a joint press release early Tuesday morning, telecom operator Sprint (NYSE:S) and cable giant Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) announced a shared effort to block so-called robocalls from reaching their phone service customers.
Two technologies, known as Secure Telephone Identity Revisited (STIR) and Signature-based Handling of Asserted information using toKENs (SHAKEN), will combine to check the identities of calls between these compliant networks. Robocalls often employ fake caller identities in order to spread unwanted marketing calls and other voice-based spam.
These providers have already dipped the odd toe in the anti-robocall waters. In a separate press release today, Sprint also announced a STIR/SHAKEN implementation for connections to T-Mobile (NASDAQ:TMUS). Comcast recently signed a similar agreement with Canadian phone network operator Telus (NYSE:TU).
More deals should follow -- STIR/SHAKEN support among American carriers is a requirement under the TRACED Act, an anti-robocall law that was signed at the end of December. The Federal Communications Commission is tasked to design a regulatory framework for this by the end of September 2020. Comcast, T-Mobile, and Sprint are simply getting started before anybody forces them to.
"While all carriers compete fiercely in the marketplace, we all agree that the industrywide plague of robocalls and scammers must be tackled arm-in-arm with other carriers as we put the latest technology to work to help protect our customers," said Sprint CEO Michel Combes in a prepared statement. "STIR/SHAKEN is one tool among many that Sprint is utilizing in a multi-year anti-robocalling development program to improve our customers' experience."