Addressing the STIR/SHAKEN Market Gap

Addressing the STIR/SHAKEN Market Gap

August 19th, 2019 - Telecom, Identity and Protection

By Bill Versen, Chief Product Officer, TNS

To understand the scale of the robocall problem look at the numbers. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) received 3.7 million robocall complaints in 2018, and despite regulatory and legal action underway, robocall bad actors continue to adjust their tactics to elude detection. To help combat scammers’ increasingly sophisticated ploys, Tier-1 carriers are moving forward with STIR/SHAKEN implementation.

While the call authentication framework helps neutralize robocalls originating from the larger carriers, most cross-carrier US wireless voice traffic does not exclusively traverse the “Big-Six” providers – AT&T, CenturyLink, Comcast, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon. In fact, according to our 2019 Robocall Investigation Report, only 10 percent of high-risk (scam and fraud) robocalls originate from numbers owned by the top six carriers. This discrepancy creates what we call the STIR/SHAKEN Market Gap.

STIR/SHAKEN Compliant Call Authentication Framework

Even if every top US telecom carrier fully implements STIR/SHAKEN, bad actor robocallers will continue to adapt by simply originating their scams from Tier-2 and Tier-3 carriers. Because these smaller, regional carriers often lack financial and operational resources to deploy robocall solutions, Tier-1 customers remain at risk of getting inundated with robocalls.

In order for STIR/SHAKEN to be effective, call authentication tools must extend beyond the Tier-1 carriers to the regional companies serving rural communities.

Introducing the Call Guardian Authentication Hub

In April, TNS and Metaswitch launched the Call Guardian Authentication Hub to address small markets. Now, regional carriers can rapidly go-to-market and adopt protocols that help end illegal spoofing and better protect their subscribers from nefarious robocalls.

The Authentication Hub integrates Call Guardian and MetaSphere QCall, and it interoperates with a carrier’s network to originate and terminate calls. Carriers of all sizes can deploy this robust solution in a matter of days, ultimately saving them time and resources.

The viability of Call Guardian Authentication Hub is TNS’ visibility into over one billion daily call events from our network of more than 500 North American carriers. Although STIR/SHAKEN enables carriers to sign calls within their own network, our Authentication Hub simplifies signing of inter-carrier calls by automatically authenticating and verifying calls and applying the appropriate call validation treatment. It also includes support for universal blocking of illegal robocalls as defined by US and Canadian regulators.

The benefits of the Call Guardian Authentication Hub include:

  • Meet FCC Requirements: Call authentication framework that complies with direction for Tier-1 providers.
  • Reduce Network Costs: Blocks calls in the network allowed by the FCC, reducing CNAM costs.
  • Engagement Platform: Network-level solution that can be leveraged for branded calling and enhanced caller ID.
  • OPEX-Based Model: Cloud-based solution that scales to any size network.
  • Attestation: Ingests parameters from STIR/SHAKEN to provide improved call management for subscribers.
  • Ubiquitous Solution: Supports multiple network protocols (SIP, AIN, IMS, NGN) and integrates with all major network elements.
  • Multi-Layered Approach: Adds an analytics layer, in addition to STIR/SHAKEN, to give a better understanding of the intent of each call.
  • Unique Algorithm: AI, big data and machine learning combine to effectively detect call patterns without requiring crowdsourced reporting.

Because the Hub allows STIR/SHAKEN to easily scale beyond Tier-1 carriers, TNS and Metaswitch dramatically reduce nefarious robocalls for consumers. To learn more about TNS’ Call Guardian STIR/SHAKEN capabilities, visit

While the battle with robocall bad actors continues unabated, TNS’ Call Guardian Authentication Hub is bringing a robust solution to this vexing problem with vital additional insights provided by TNS’ advanced analytics server. Additional machine learning methods for blocking robocalls using real-time AI in combination with big data gleaned from the network also addresses the constantly changing identities of robocallers. With this solution, TNS is acceding to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s call to industry participants to seek sophisticated solutions for battling this troublesome practice.

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