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BT to launch free service to combat nuisance calls

Press Release   •   Feb 11, 2016 00:02 GMT

Breakthrough service to launch later this year

BT today announced a breakthrough that will help its consumer customers avoid nuisance calls on their landlines in the future – and called on other companies to join the fight. It also announced ways in which its customers can tailor their personal service to avoid other types of calls.

Recent research by Which? shows that 75 per cent of customers receive an unwanted call each month and BT estimates the new service will enable it to divert up to 25 million unwanted calls a week. These calls will divert to a junk voicemail box, stopping them from irritating customers.

The breakthrough will be achieved 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.

This blacklist will be expanded if large numbers of customers identify troublesome numbers that they wish to divert. Customers will also be able to compile their own personal blacklist by adding individual unwanted numbers, as well as nominating whole categories of calls they want to avoid, such as international calls or withheld numbers. BT will then prevent these types of calls from reaching the home.

BT has been at the forefront of technology to combat nuisance calls, which can include sales calls for PPI or personal injury claims; silent calls or automated marketing messages. The latest development will allow BT to share information with regulators, such as Ofcom and the Information Commissioner’s Office, to help those agencies build on the significant public awareness and enforcement action they are already taking.

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 has previously led the fight to protect its customers from child abuse images on the internet with the development of the Cleanfeed filter. And the company has helped prevent nuisance calls by developing the BT 8500 Advanced Call Blocker phone which blocks up to 100 per cent of unwanted calls.

Full details of how customers will be able to benefit from the new technology will be revealed closer to launch, which is likely to be towards the end of this year, but BT has committed that it will be free for customers to use the new technology. Customers can register their interest at www.bt.com/nuisancecalls

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About BT

BT’s purpose is to use the power of communications to make a better world. It is one of the world’s leading providers of communications services and solutions, serving customers in more than 170 countries. Its principal activities include the provision of networked IT services globally; local, national and international telecommunications services to its customers for use at home, at work and on the move; broadband, TV and internet products and services; and converged fixed-mobile products and services. Following the acquisition of EE on 29 January 2016, BT consists principally of six customer-facing lines of business: BT Global Services, BT Business, BT Consumer, EE, BT Wholesale and Openreach.

For the year ended 31 March 2015, BT Group’s reported revenue was £17,979m with reported profit before taxation of £2,645m.

British Telecommunications plc (BT) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BT Group plc and encompasses virtually all businesses and assets of the BT Group. BT Group plc is listed on stock exchanges in London and New York.

For more information, visit www.btplc.com.