T-Mobile Rolls Out Automatic Call Blocking Service With New Wrinkles

T-Mobile this week is launching a new anti-robocall product, called Scam Shield, that the company said will go beyond what other carriers are offering to automatically block calls that it deems to be scams, spam, or other calls that the recipient is not interested in accepting.

The carrier said it is using artificial intelligence and machine learning to update its threat protection efforts every six seconds. Scam Shield is an app that will be available to all T-Mobile subscribers. The app will monitor all incoming calls and identify and block calls that it does not consider to be legitimate. Users will also receive enhanced Caller ID services and the ability to change their numbers for free if they feel they are receiving too many spam or scam calls. Users will also be able to access a second phone number that they can use to keep their personal numbers private. The second phone numbers will be able to be shared with other members of the same group plan.

“With Scam Shield, T-Mobile customers get fewer scam calls, period … and it’s all because of our advanced network,” said Mike Sievert, CEO at T-Mobile, in a release announcing the new service.

Verizon and AT&T quickly touted their own anti-robocalling efforts after T-Mobile announced the launch of Scam Shield.

“It’s nice to see other carriers working to catch up,” AT&T said in a statement, according to a published report. “We started our first network-based analytics and blocking program in 2016. We’ve automatically added AT&T Call Protect – also network-based – to millions of lines for no extra cost. No app needed, and you can get even more no-cost features if you download the AT&T Call Protect app.”

Companies in the credit and collection space are very wary of automatic call blocking. They are worried that legitimate calls, such as those from debt collectors, will be blocked and that getting in touch with individuals will become even harder. The carriers have admitted they can not assess the content of a call — just the information about from where it is originating. So, a call reminding someone of an appointment and a call reminding someone about an unpaid debt that come from the same number may both be blocked.

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