BT is launching a new service for customers which will help block nuisance calls from cold callers.
The company said that it’s going to divert nuisance calls to a junk voicemail inbox instead of reaching home phone lines.
The telecoms giant estimates that the service will divert approximately 25 million unwanted calls per week.
Customers will also have the ability to blacklist certain phone numbers from calling them, in addition to nominating whole categories of calls they want to avoid, such as international calls or withheld numbers.
BT has not provided an exact date on when the new feature will launch, but it did say that it will be rolled out towards the end of this year.
The service will only be available for BT landline customers; people with business or mobile accounts will not be able to opt in.
BT says that it will be able to provide the feature by harnessing ‘huge computing power to analyse large amounts of live data.’
‘This analysis will enable network experts at BT’s centre in Oswestry to identify rogue numbers – typically those that make enormous numbers of calls – and to add them to a BT blacklist. This proactive intervention will drastically reduce the number of such calls customers receive.’
John Petter, chief executive of BT Consumer, said: ‘Nuisance calls are one of the great annoyances of modern life. Everyone will have received one. We are delighted to have made this major breakthrough. We are giving control of the landline back to our customers and removing a major hassle and grief for millions of customers.
‘We have been at the forefront of equipping our customers to defend themselves against the flow of PPI and unwanted marketing calls that has become a flood in recent years.
‘Now we are able to announce that we are working to identify and tackle huge numbers of those calls in the network.
‘We are doing our bit. We call on other providers to up their game in the fight against this menace. They can help us to root out the malicious players they may be hosting on their own networks when we identify dodgy and suspicious calling behaviour.’
BT is not the first telephone provider to provide consumers with a nuisance call blocking feature
TalkTalk already provides its customers with a very similar service which allows users to block nuisance calls without charge – around 70 million unwanted calls a month are blocked. The reporting and blocking service was launched in 2013.
TalkTalk said in a statement: “We’re pleased to see other providers follow our lead in taking a stand against nuisance calls. But this is an urgent problem, which can only be tackled if government mandates all telecoms providers to offer free call blocking.”
An Ofcom spokesperson commented on the news: ‘We’ve been working closely with communications providers to encourage them to implement innovative technical solutions to the problem of nuisance calls.
‘We therefore welcome BT’s plans to intercept nuisance calls on its network and reduce the harm caused to consumers.’