AT&T becomes first carrier to block robocalls by default

Robocalls

The service will immediately be active for new subscribers and should extend out to existing customers in the coming months.

AT&T* will add automatic fraud blocking and suspected spam-call alerts to millions of AT&T consumer lines at no charge. Landline customers had also been able to opt in.

We aren't typically fans of opt-out services from wireless carriers, but robocall blocking is something we all need in our lives.

The carrier says it will notify its customers by text message when the service has been added.

"The Commission's recent action builds on a years-long effort to enable broader adoption of call-blocking tools and allow providers to better protect their customers and networks", Marsh continued.

On Tuesday, AT&T became the first major USA wireless company to automatically block robocalls for customers. The FCC estimates robocalls cost consumers at least $3 billion per year.

Spam calls can not only be irritating, but often they are illegal scams. "AT&T remains committed to working with our government and industry partners in the ongoing battle against unwanted and illegal robocalls". Notice that the AT&T announcement promised "automatic fraud blocking and suspected spam-call alerts" but not automatic blocking of spam calls. Those customers who want the service immediately can download AT&T Call Protect as an app, or by going into their account settings on myAT&T and turning it on.

Other carriers offer similar options, though AT&T is so far the only to automatically block calls.

The Federal Communications Commission voted last month to let phone companies block robocalls by default even when consumers have not opted in to robocall-blocking services.

The free way is to make a personal block list using the basic version of AT&T's Call Protect service. Sprint offers a caller ID service, which it says may identify spam calls, for $2.99 per month.

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