U.S. wireless carrier AT&T on Tuesday launched a new network-based feature it said will give customers more control to fend off unwanted spam calls on their cell phones.
Dubbed AT&T Call Protect, the carrier said the new solution automatically blocks fraud calls and notifies customers with a warning logo when suspected spam calls do come through so customers can choose whether or not to answer. AT&T said Call Protect’s features can also be expanded to include 30-day temporary call blocking and other optional features when customers download the companion app.
“Nuisance calls are an industry-wide problem that unfortunately affect many people,” Jeff Bradley, AT&T’s senior vice president of Device and Network Services Marketing, said. “We’ve listened to our customers and know they want a network that provides tools to proactively assist in blocking nuisance calls. AT&T Call Protect, along with others, will help put customers more in control of the calls they receive.”
AT&T said customers who have HD Voice can all Call Protect via their myAT&T account and can add and control features through the aforementioned app.
The carrier noted Call Protect has the potential to inadvertently block wanted calls, but said customers can adjust the service’s settings to turn off call blocking or allow designated numbers to ring through. Additionally, AT&T observed spam notices will only be delivered when customers are in an HD Voice coverage area.
The introduction of Call Protect comes as carriers and stakeholders across the industry work on solutions to help reduce the number of spam calls and texts getting through to subscribers.
Back in September, Sprint stepped up its spam game with an expansion of its partnership with Cequint to develop “enhanced caller ID solutions” that would prevent spam calls from reaching customers.
The four major wireless carriers, along with the likes of Apple, Comcast, Ericsson, Google, Microsoft, Nokia, Qualcomm, Samsung, and others, came together back in August to form a new robocall strike force at FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s request.
The group – led by AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson – has been working to address five key points to prevent spam calls and texts, including conforming to VoIP caller ID verification standards as soon as they are made available; adopting SS7 solutions for VoIP calls if they’re viable; evaluating the feasibility of a “Do Not Originate” list; working further to develop and implement solutions to detect, assess and stop unwanted calls; and cooperating to facilitate efforts by other carriers to adopt call-blocking technologies on their networks.