Perhaps a little tired of looking like the bad guy, Verizon will finally open its robocall screening and blocking features to all wireless service subscribers for free this March.
The nation’s largest carrier is actually only the second to make the transition to free anti-robocall measures, having charged $3 per month for them through a “Call Filter” add-on package.
Of course, your iPhone or Android phone in question will have to support the features, the specifics of which will be revealed closer to the March launch date.
If you’re unfamiliar with robocalling, it’s a over the phone scam that combines phone number spoofing (creating caller ID numbers with the recipients’ area code to increase chances of the user answering the call) with automated messages tossing around various schemes, usually aimed at getting your money.
Only so much as it absolutely has to
This move may be seen as swift considering the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) late 2018 mandate for carriers to adopt new ‘STIR/SHAKEN’ technology, which can authenticate call origins and alert users when a caller is pretending to call from somewhere else.
However, AT&T has offered free anti-robocall measures for almost two years (though they're not extremely accurate), meanwhile both Sprint and T-Mobile still charge additional monthly fees for these features.
Note that it has taken Verizon almost two years to follow AT&T’s lead on offering these nigh-essential tools for free, considering robocalling has become an epidemic in the US in the past few years. It’s more than likely that Verizon simply decided that continuing to charge for these features would actually hurt its bottom line given how dire the problem has become.
This is the modus operandi of mobile carriers and internet service providers in almost all scenarios: only provide service when it becomes absolutely necessary.
So, good on Verizon to finally give up a sliver of its profit margin for the good of the people. Now, how long before T-Mobile and Sprint follow suit at last? They certainly have more to lose.
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