AT&T to offer automatic robocall blocking feature at no extra charge


AT&T said Tuesday it was able to make this change thanks to a ruling by the Federal Communications Commission last month that lets U.S. carriers "aggressively block" unwanted robocalls, allowing them to turn on blocking features by default instead of as an opt-in service.

AT&T customers could soon be free of having to deal with annoying spam calls - or at least that's AT&T's plan. More than 4.3 billion robocalls, both legal and illegal, were placed last month, according to industry data. New AT&T customers will have the service initiated by default and can opt out. You will be notified by text message when the service has been added. Apparently, the new feature that it's now part of AT&T's Call Protect service was made possible by a June ruling at the FCC (Federal Communications Commission), which clarifies that call-blocking tools may be offered by phone service providers on an "opt-out" basis. As spam services use STIR/SHAKEN in the background, more illegal calls will be caught. Millions of existing AT&T customers also will have it automatically added to their accounts over the coming months.

In a statement, Joan Marsh, AT&T's executive vice president of regulatory & state external affairs said the FCC has been a "tremendous partner in the war on robocalls".

However, the company also said customers can add the service themselves before that by downloading an app or enrolling through their account settings - which is also where customers can opt out if they choose.

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Call Protect has been available since 2016 but only if customers opted in to it.

AT&T's service will attempt to block fraudulent calls and alert customers when a call may be spam.

Other carriers offer similar options, though AT&T is so far the only to automatically block calls, CNN reported. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said they were working to "stop the scourge of illegal robocalls".