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Sprint Deploys Enhanced Applications to Thwart Robocalls

Zacks Equity Research

Sprint Corporation S recently announced the deployment of two robocall blocker applications — Sprint Call Screener Basic and Sprint Call Screener Plus across its network. The trailblazing technology will flag high-risk robocalls, trace unsolicited callers and allow users to block the same.

A robocall is an unwanted phone call that typically uses a pre-recorded message to market various products and services or serve reminders for pharmacy visits or debt payments. Using an automated dialing system, these calls are made without customer consent and are often viewed as nuisances as customers are inundated with several such calls a day. In addition to infringement of privacy, robocalls try to siphon off personal data to con individuals. This eventually leads to scams, robbing unsuspecting customers of their hard-earned money.

Sprint Call Screener Basic identifies only the high-risk robocalls and displays “Spam Caller” on the incoming call screen to verify the legitimacy of the caller. It also enables customers to report complaints by phone and get business caller ID. The application is free and is accessible to all customers, both new and existing.

In order to avail a fully-featured spam block, customers can avail Sprint Call Screener Plus, which flags all spoofed calls and displays “Potential Spam”, “Robo Caller”, or “Potential Fraud” on the incoming call screen of the user’s android phone. It also offers several other facilities like complaint reporting by phone number, storing a list of blocked numbers, tracing the source of unsolicited phone calls by displaying the caller’s name, city and state, even if they are not registered in the contact list and setting a reminder to call someone back. Initially Sprint customers will be offered a 15-day trial of the paid service, post which they are required to pay $2.99 per month.

FCC Regulatory Framework

To thwart spoofing, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) had implemented an industry standard call authentication technology — SHAKEN/STIR — or Signature-based Handling of Asserted Information Using toKENs and the Secure Telephone Identity Revisited standard. Notably, this FCC mandated technology provides the best available information, making it easier for telephone companies and consumers to decide which calls are to be received or blocked.

Current Scenario

With robocalls totaling almost 3 billion each month, unsolicited robocalls rank among the top complaints to the FCC. Given the major apprehension surrounding this issue, Sprint remains committed to tracing robocalls with the implementation of effective risk management and security solutions. This, in turn, will help in reducing operational costs with increased resilience against network disruptions and cyber-attacks.

Apart from Sprint, major telecom companies like AT&T Inc. T, Verizon Communications Inc. VZ, Comcast Corporation CMCSA, TELUS and Ribbon have already taken necessary steps to prevent customers from receiving spurious calls.

The FCC has proposed a couple of measures to end this menace. These include creation of a national database of disconnected phone numbers that are reassigned to other users to avoid dialing the wrong customers repeatedly. This has enabled telecom service providers to block and filter text messages identified as spam. It has also demanded a digital validation by carriers to curb this issue. Sprint’s endeavor in this regard is likely to deliver trusted call solutions to consumers.

Zacks Rank & Price Movement

Sprint currently has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). The stock has lost 10.6% compared with the industry’s decline of 18% year to date. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

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