An everyday problem
"Have a look", Mr. Müller said, showing me his mobile: An impressively extensive list of blood-red phone numbers appeared one after another as he scrolled down with his index finger. Apparently, a lot of people were laser-focused on having a conversation with Müller, a thirtysomething German living in South Africa. They were spam callers pretending to be bank executives, he explained, and his not-picking-up attitude didn't seem to affect their determination to keep calling. He told me that he regularly blocks suspicious phone numbers, but they always seem to have a new number ready, usually with a slightly different ending but similar at the core. Looking at the long list, he said with a smirk: "And that's just today's calls".
Scams are on the rise
With a little help from the CSPs
A tried-and-true solution
TalkTalk is one of the big four CSPs in the United Kingdom, with more than 4 million subscribers. The company is the value-for-money provider in the British market. However, its customers were being pestered by scam callers pretending to be from TalkTalk or other technology companies and claiming that their companies were having issues with their systems. Most of the time, the scams ended up costing the victims huge sums of money. To help, ECT proposed that TalkTalk create a virtualized solution implemented within its existing IT infrastructure that would allow customers to weed out spam callers. The solution, which TalkTalk named CallSafe, is a competitive differentiator for the company. It is also a “sticky” solution that helps retain current customers, because it allows customers to create a whitelist of approved phone numbers. If another CSP were to offer a similar service, many of those customers would be reluctant to repeat that effort in order to switch providers. At the same time, the approach taken to implementing and operating CallSafe has meant that TalkTalk has been able to provide this service while reducing both capital and operational expenditures.
That last point takes me back to my conversation with Müller: Just before parting ways, I asked him one last question. Would he pay his CSP to get rid of spam callers? "Definitely I would", he said. After a brief pause, he added, "provided they charge an affordable price".
"I'm sure they can do that", I thought to myself.