AT&T is taking the fight to robocallers, with a new app that alerts customers when it suspects that a call will be a nuisance.
The free app, called AT&T Call Protect, will give you a "suspected spam warning" if an incoming call appears to be from a politician, telemarketer, debt collector and other types of annoying calls, the company explains. It can also automatically block those calls. The app lets you use the service for up to 30 days at a time. After that, you'll have to renew the plan and designate numbers that you want to block.
If Call Protect automatically blocks a call that you wanted to receive, you can add that particular phone number to a list of numbers not to block. Unfortunately, the system does not block unknown numbers, according to the fine print on AT&T's website.
And there are a number of other caveats: The system is only available to AT&T customers with postpaid phones customers, so no burners or other pre-paid phones can get this feature. You'll also need an iOS or Android smartphone that's eligible for AT&T HD Voice, a noise cancelling, 4G LTE service that's limited to certain coverage areas. The service is not available for customers with AT&T work phones if their employer is an AT&T corporate customer.
While it may be a cool feature for some current AT&T customers, it's hard to tell if a feature like Call Protect can draw loyal subscribers away from carriers like Verizon and T-Mobile.