The company that had requested the Federal Communications Commission exempt ringless voicemail from anti-robocall rules has withdrawn its request, after receiving significant criticism from consumer advocates and pro-consumer rights members of Congress.
The company, “All About The Message” filed its withdrawal notice with the FCC last week. It had submitted a petition in March to the FCC to rule on the legality of ringless voicemail. It remains unclear whether current regulations require companies [to] obtain prior express consent from an individual to automatically drop a voicemail onto their mobile phones without actually placing a call to do so.
Now that the request has been withdrawn, the FCC will not move forward with its consideration, which could have ended up positively or negatively affecting the technology. This was not the first time that a request to review the technology has been submitted, or withdrawn. Back in 2014, VoApps submitted a request to the FCC for a ruling on the technology, but never received one.
The decision, however, is likely good news for ringless voicemail solutions providers. Just last week, TCN announced the unveiling of its ringless voicemail product, called VocalDirect.
Both political parties had lined up on opposing sides of the debate. The Republican National Committee had submitted a comment in favor of the technology while leading Democrats jumped up and down on it.
“Ringless voicemail would be yet another way for consumers to feel that their phones are not their own,” Schumer wrote in a letter to Ajit Pai, the chairman of the FCC. “Unsolicited, spam robocall voicemails could flood mailboxes, clogging out legitimate messages.”
There are rumblings that the FCC will not engage in a situation that leads to the agency having to define what constitutes a “call,” opting instead to leave that to the courts.