Verizon today announced a new subscription service designed to cut down on robocalls and other spammy automated messages that plague mobile users each and every day. The service, called Verizon Caller Name ID, comes in the form of an app and it will notify users when an incoming call is likely to be a robocall, spam, or fraudulent. The big catch: unlike competing carriers’ similar features, Verizon wants to charge customers $2.99 per month for Caller Name ID.
This is perplexing for a couple of reasons. For one, you might expect a cell carrier would want to offer this service for free, as a benefit of being a paying subscriber. (One can dream.) The Federal Communications Commission even passed a new rule proposal back in March that is expected to give more call blocking power to carriers to cut down on massive robocall complaints, far and away the number one complaint lodged with the FCC every year. So it’s clear Verizon understands this is a problem, and yet it’s still withholding a remedy behind a $3-per-month paywall.
More important, however, is the fact that competing carriers offer robocall and spam warnings to their subscribers for free. T-Mobile, for instance, even does so on a network level, so you don’t have to download an extraneous app. T-Mobile announced its scam warnings feature back in March for all subscribers of its T-Mobile One plan, with the plan to expand the service to other T-Mobile customers down the line. AT&T also offers something similar, which it launched back in December, for those with postpaid iOS and Android devices. That leaves Verizon as the odd one out, charing for a service it knows rival telecoms happily hand out free of charge.