Brazil’s Regulator Launches Spam Number-Checking Web Portal for Consumers

In a bid to reduce abusive telemarketing calls, Brazil’s Agência Nacional de Telecomunicações (Anatel) has given consumers the ability to check who owns the numbers of calls they receive by typing them into a new web portal named “Qual Empresa Me Ligou” (“Which Company Called Me”).

The service only returns an answer for phone numbers associated with businesses, and only currently works for businesses using the following comms providers: Algar, Claro, Oi, Sercomtel, Tim, and Vivo. Anatel says that other comms providers will integrate with the service in time.

A press release from Anatel to hail the launch makes a great deal of fuss about reducing calls that have a duration of less than 3 seconds. They also list the names of 20 companies which made a lot of these calls during the final months of 2022.

That Anatel had not previously demanded simple controls to block repeated short calls suggests Brazil has a bigger problem with its regulatory and telecoms culture than with a lack of investment in technology. Independent reports suggest Brazilians receive more spam robocalls than any other nationality.

As you might have guessed, the kind of regulator which has only just realized there are some very simple and cheap methods that can massively reduce nuisance calls is also the kind of regulator that seems determined to implement the world’s most expensive, least successful method of reducing nuisance calls. I refer to STIR/SHAKEN, the US anti-spoofing protocol, which has been the subject of Brazilian regulatory seminars involving a diverse group of experts ranging from US businesses that actively sell STIR/SHAKEN to Canadian regulators that imposed STIR/SHAKEN and which want other regulators to do the same to spare their embarrassment about failing to deliver any reduction to nuisance robocalls in Canada. These seminars did not discuss the downsides of using STIR/SHAKEN or alternatives to STIR/SHAKEN because nobody in the Americas is seemingly aware of any downsides (such as the massive cost) or the existence of any alternatives (like those which get described in articles on this website).

If you speak Portuguese, are an expert in nuisance calls, and are not a shill for a STIR/SHAKEN supplier then please get in touch with Anatel. This regulator may not want your help but ordinary Brazilians really need it.

Eric Priezkalns
Eric Priezkalns
Eric is the Editor of Commsrisk. Look here for more about the history of Commsrisk and the role played by Eric.

Eric is also the Chief Executive of the Risk & Assurance Group (RAG), a global association of professionals working in risk management and business assurance for communications providers.

Previously Eric was Director of Risk Management for Qatar Telecom and he has worked with Cable & Wireless, T‑Mobile, Sky, Worldcom and other telcos. He was lead author of Revenue Assurance: Expert Opinions for Communications Providers, published by CRC Press. He is a qualified chartered accountant, with degrees in information systems, and in mathematics and philosophy.