Skip to main content

Phone companies say they finally have a way to block robocalls for good

America’s cell phone carriers are uniting to take a stand against robocalls.

Twelve of the biggest American phone companies, including AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon, promised on Thursday to start using a new technology that can identify and block the pesky spam calls, according to the Washington Post. The carriers are partnering with 51 attorneys general and will announced the pledge in Washington. 

The Post reports that the new spam caller blocking technology is called STIR/SHAKEN and identifies spoofing practices that robocallers often use to make numbers appear as a local call. The new technology is expected to be implemented by all carriers “as soon as practical.” 

As part of the pledge, the carriers will also offer free anti-robocall tools to users. 

Aside from the big four, other carriers taking the pledge include Comcast, Bandwidth, Charter, Consolidated, U.S. Cellular, CenturyLink, Frontier, and Windstream. 

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted in June to allow cell phone carriers to automatically block robocalls. The major carriers already have robocall blocking programs in place, but Thursday’s pledge is a serious step in making the prevention robocalls a major priority for all cell phone carriers. 

In June, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and law enforcement officials announced a strict crackdown that takes aim at U.S. companies responsible for over a billion spam calls. Attorneys general also partnered with the effort the FTC calls, “Operation Call It Quits.” 

“At best, these calls represent a nuisance for families just wanting to enjoy peace and privacy without needless disturbances interrupting their routines. At worst, they represent scams that successfully steal people’s identities or hard-earned money,” said Indiana Attorney General, Curtis Hill, in the June announcement. 

Robocallers aim to obtain personal information by calling you, offering a wide range of scams. They can claim to be able to lower your credit card interest rate, offer you money-making opportunities, or provide medical alert systems. There were an estimated 4.7 billion scam phone calls made in July alone — more than 150 million per day. 

Digital Trends reached out to AT&T, Spring, T-Mobile, and Verizon for more details on the pledge, but we have not yet received a response. 

Editors' Recommendations

Allison Matyus
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Allison Matyus is a general news reporter at Digital Trends. She covers any and all tech news, including issues around social…
When did 5G come out? The long, complicated history of its release
Blue panels showing 5G logo at CES booth.

Although 2022 will likely be heralded as the year 5G truly went mainstream, we’ve traveled a long and winding road to get here. Carriers began actively working on preparing this leading-edge cellular tech as early as 2015, but it wasn’t until the end of 2018 that the first 5G mobile towers came online. It also took until 2020 before 5G was much more than a curiosity for early adopters.

Although previous cellular technologies like 4G/LTE also spent a long time in the research and development stages, those didn’t experience nearly the same growing pains that 5G has. When 4G/LTE services began rolling out broadly in 2011, it was the same basic technology across all the major U.S. carriers.

Read more
The Nothing Phone 1 is what the OnePlus 10T could have been
OnePlus 10T camera module.

The Nothing Phone 1 and OnePlus 10T come from the same place. What's the best Android phone for your buck right now? Sure, every phone seeks to answer that question, but this is one rare occasion where we see two different companies with such a shared history deliver answers to the same question that are so different.

Both brands, driven by hype and connected by a common founder, answer the question: "What's the best phone for not so much money?"Each has a different answer. One by appealing to the specs nerd in us and throwing in all the big numbers you'd like to see, while the other thinks sparkly lights and flowery language are useful. Both, of course, rely on a cult of personality and hype.

Read more
Does the OnePlus 10T have wireless charging? What you need to know
The side of the OnePlus 10T showing the power key.

OnePlus has launched the OnePlus 10T, marking the return of its T-series lineup after last year’s hiatus. While the new midrange smartphone offers some impressive specs, there’s one crucial thing you may want to keep in mind about the OnePlus 10T before you rush out and hit the buy button.

Although wireless charging is arguably table stakes on midrange and premium smartphones in 2022, the OnePlus 10T is a surprising exception to this rule. Like its predecessor, the 2020 OnePlus 8T, this latest T series smartphone lacks any form of wireless charging.

Read more