Major Carrier Says It Blocked 191mn Wangiri Calls During First Half of 2021

International wholesale carrier iBasis has announced that its wangiri identification and filtering technologies blocked 191 million calls during the first six months of the year. They described this as the result of a 2-year program to expand their ability to fight wangiri, robocalling and other frauds.

As pointed out in their announcement, iBasis were one of the first major wholesale carriers to become users of the RAG Wangiri Blockchain, an information exchange where over 100 telcos share intelligence about wangiri fraud through advanced distributed ledger technology. The RAG Wangiri Blockchain can be accessed free of charge by businesses that upload information about the wangiri calls they detect. iBasis have also recently upgraded their systems to comply with the robocall prevention rules of the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

In 2020 iBASIS joined the RAG Wangiri Consortium, a global initiative that uses blockchain technology to share intelligence about “one ring” Wangiri fraud in its commitment to fighting fraud for customers at the industry level. In response to the STIR/SHAKEN ruling on prevention of robocalling into the US, iBASIS has also led the fight against fraud by fortifying its network with its newly developed Compliance Protocol to combat robocalling as they implement STIR/SHAKEN across their networks.

The use of the RAG Wangiri Blockchain by iBasis shows why it is in the interest of telcos to share data on wangiri, even if they believe they have wangiri under control. If a retail telco is not receiving any wangiri calls then it may be due to the filters implemented by their wholesale partner, so it would be sensible to have independent measures showing how well that wholesale partner does when compared to other wholesalers they could work with. On the other hand, if a retail telco is detecting and blocking many wangiri calls then it would be sensible to have a simple mechanism that relays this information back to the wholesale carrier that failed to block them. 191 million calls may sound like a lot, but the only way to understand the true scale of wangiri is to build up a comprehensive global picture that accounts for blocking at every stage. Only then will we understand how much reliance is placed on each filter.

iBasis is owned by Tofane Global and is reported to be the third largest carrier of international voice calls. Tofane has bought a series of wholesale carriers in recent years, including the 2019 purchase of iBasis from KPN, which has been consolidated with Altice Europe, acquired in 2018, and NOS International Carrier Services, acquired in 2020. iBasis has branded the anti-fraud service they execute on behalf of customers as FraudLock iQ360, so named because it promises to maintain a ‘360 degree’ view of inbound and outbound traffic. Their strategy is to increase the scale of their business to offset the overall decline in international traffic caused by the transition to over-the-top services whilst differentiating their offering by emphasizing how well they protect retail telcos from fraud.

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.