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AT & T becomes the first major mobile phone company to automatically block spam

CNN – AT & T customers may soon be free to deal with annoying spam calls – or at least that's AT & T's plan.

On Tuesday, AT & T became the first major US wireless service company to automatically block automated calls for its customers. This free service follows a June decision by the Federal Communications Commission authorizing telephone service providers to block opt-out calls. AT & T owns WarnerMedia, CNN's parent company.

"The Commission's recent action builds on a multi-year effort to enable broader adoption of call blocking tools and to better protect their customers and their networks," said AT & T. a statement. "AT & T remains committed to working with the government and industry partners in the ongoing battle against unwanted and illegal automated calls."

Spam calls are a nuisance for just about everyone with a cell phone. Sometimes they are illegal scams. They can be difficult to detect because they often come from the recipient's area code. More than 4.3 billion automated, legal and illegal calls were placed last month, according to industry data.

Robocall blocking uses algorithms and network analysis to identify unwanted calls, as do email providers to look for spam.

The AT & T service will attempt to block fraudulent calls and alert customers when a call may be spam. It will be available on all new lines and will be added in the coming months to existing customer lines. These customers will be notified by SMS when the service is active.

The company was already offering call blocking to mobile customers downloading the AT & T Call Protect application or opting through their account settings. Fixed network customers were also able to register. From now on, AT & T customers will only have to unsubscribe via their account settings if they do not want their calls blocked.

Other operators offer similar options, although AT & T is currently the only one to automatically block calls. T-Mobile provides automatic fraudulent call alerts and customers can choose to block these calls for free. The Verizon service works essentially the same way. Sprint offers a caller ID service, which identifies spam calls, for $ 2.99 per month.

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