Recently, Federal Communications Commission chairman Tom Wheeler decided it was time to get serious about stopping robocalls, writing letters to the major wireless and landline carriers in the US giving them 30 days to come up with a plan of action. AT&T seems to be hitting the ground running in the search for solutions, with chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson saying that he’ll lead a “Robocalling Strike Force,” which would bring the major players in the industry together to develop solutions that halt robocalls from ever reaching consumers.
After all, AT&T says it has allowed consumers to block robocalls using third-party software and the call blocking features present in Android and iOS, but Stephenson points out that those methods only go so far. He says that instead of simply leaving it up to consumers, the entire wireless industry, from carriers to device manufacturers and even OS developers like Apple and Google need to work together to ensure those calls never make it to consumers’ phones in the first place.
Like Wheeler’s request, AT&T’s plan is multi-pronged. AT&T says it will conform to VOIP ID verification standards from ATIS and the IETF when those are made available, and it will work with the industry to develop and implement a “Do Not Originate” list, which would allow carriers to halt robocalls from outside of the US. It was also work with other carriers in the US to help implement call blocking software on a wide scale.
The end goal of this seems to be giving carriers the tools to make sure that any calls that make it to customers’ phone are legitimate, with unaltered numbers showing up alongside the call. Should any unwanted robocalls ultimately make it through, then consumers would have call blocking tools at their disposal to make sure that’s the only time it happens. It sounds like a good plan, but now we’ll have to wait and see if other carriers join AT&T’s strike force.