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UK's BT Launches Phone to Stop Spam Phone Calls

By - Source: BT | B 15 comments

Phone is response to 50,000 complaints per month about nuisance phone calls.

There's nothing more annoying than telemarketers that just won't quit. Even when you're on a do not call list, they still find a way to justify calling you in the middle of dinner. UK telecoms provider British Telecom is hoping to help us out with annoying cold calls with a new phone that intends to block unwanted calls.

 

Dubbed the BT6500, British Telcom says the phone will give customers the power to block up to 80 per cent of unwanted calls, such as PPI claim sales calls and other cold marketing calls. The phone will let customers block calls coming from "Withheld" or "International" as well as numbers without a caller ID. BT says this will cut out most unwanted calls. These calls will go to the answering machines where accidentally blocked contacts can leave messages. There's also the ability to block 10 specific numbers so nuisance calls from a known number can be automatically blocked. In addition to this, there's a 'Do Not Disturb' setting, which switches off the ringer (can be operated manually by the customer or set to a timer), but still allows calls from 'VIP contacts' to get through.

The company says it receives over 50,000 complaints to its Nuisance Calls Advice Line every month. What's more, Ofcom says 71 percent of people have received live marketing calls on their fixed-line phone in the last six month. A sizable portion of the complaints are silent calls, and over half of the customers that receive silent calls say they get more than five per month.

"We know from talking to our customers that nuisance calls cause huge frustration and even anxiety at times. When people feel as though they are being harassed in their own homes they need to be able to take action and block the offending callers," siad John Petter, managing director of BT’s consumer division. "The BT6500 puts the customer in control of the types of call they receive. We believe this phone gives customers the peace of mind that when the phone rings it should be someone they want to speak to."

The BT6500 will be available in two variants, each boasting different designs but the same features. The BT6500 is available from BT, Argos, Amazon from today and will be available from Tesco and Sainsbury’s from the end of February. The BT6510 is available from John Lewis and Currys, from the beginning of March. Pricing for a single handset unit is £44.99, while a twin is £69.99, a trio is £89.99 and quad is £109.99. All are available from BT with discounts for BT customers.

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  • -6 Hide
    reprotected , February 10, 2013 6:39 AM
    This post was obviously paid by Apple. The title of the article has the word phone with a capital "P". It may not look like much, but subliminally, your mind will slip in the "i" and will automatically read "iPhone", thus making the title look like "UK's BT Launches iPhone to Stop Spam Phone Calls", giving good word (and a lie) to an inferior-to-anything-but-Apple Apple product, article written by an editor who's name is not Zak Islam or Wolfgang Gruener. The editor must be Zak Islam, using Jane McEntegart's name to add credibility. Tricky, but nice try Apple!
  • -6 Hide
    derekullo , February 10, 2013 7:15 AM
    Those European iPhones look really cheap ...
  • 7 Hide
    chewy1963 , February 10, 2013 8:03 AM
    I would love to have this kind of functionality on my land line phone here in the States.
  • 6 Hide
    downhill911 , February 10, 2013 9:35 AM
    derekulloThose European iPhones look really cheap ...


    This US guy sounds really ...b.
  • 4 Hide
    fnh , February 10, 2013 10:20 AM
    Thank god for the undeveloped & unresponsive market for telemarketing over where I live.
  • 3 Hide
    thx1138v2 , February 10, 2013 11:45 AM
    This isn't really very hard to do. There is, however, a major difference in the British and American phone companies that makes it much harder in the U.S. The British system sends the Caller ID info _before_ the first ring and the U.S. system sends the info between the 1st and 2nd rings.

    A POTS (Plain Old Telephone System) modem will actually give you the caller ID info. I wrote a program to intercept it and do a lookup in a table to determine whether or not to allow the phone to keep ringing. If itis a number I want to block, the PC modem answers the call and throws a fax handshake at the caller over the phone line. After a while, they quit calling. The user interfacer shows the calling number in a list and you can double click it to add it to the list of blocked numbers.

    In the U.S. though you have to get used to the first ring and if it doesn't ring a second time then the modem picked it up. Gives me a smile every time.

    They used to call and interrupt my afternoon nap. That gave me the incentive to write the program. I haven't published it simply because I don't have the resources to test all the modems/operating systems/etc combinations.

    I use an old computer for just that function. The phone line is the only thing that it is connected to.

    Post here if you are interested. If I get enough feedback I'll look into publishing it.
  • 2 Hide
    retrophe , February 10, 2013 2:10 PM
    thx1138v2 I seriously want that program! I've always wanted to let them get a fax tone when they call hehe
  • 2 Hide
    thx1138v2 , February 10, 2013 3:06 PM
    @retrophe
    It only works (as far as I know) on land lines and I have no idea what it would do on VOIP.

    There's another feature I forgot to mention. The phone companies around the world settled on some DTMF tones (that's what you hear when you key a number on a touch-tone phone) for universal messages. These are the tones you hear just before you get a message like "this is a disconnected or no longer working number". They use tones so the local phone company can put the message out in the local language. The tones are the same but the message is in a different language according to where you are originating the call. There are quite a few. They are known as "SIT codes" - Special Information Tones.

    My program has the ability (optional) to put out the "disconnected" message tones. I've heard (but don't know for sure) that this will cause the automatic dialing machines to delete you from their database.
  • 0 Hide
    silverblue , February 10, 2013 5:59 PM
    I register all my phones via the Telephone Preference Service, which should stop these sorts of calls happening... shame that it doesn't in practice. Hell, even ex-directory numbers get spammed... and they never should.
  • 1 Hide
    PreferLinux , February 10, 2013 6:30 PM
    thx1138v2This isn't really very hard to do. There is, however, a major difference in the British and American phone companies that makes it much harder in the U.S. The British system sends the Caller ID info _before_ the first ring and the U.S. system sends the info between the 1st and 2nd rings. A POTS (Plain Old Telephone System) modem will actually give you the caller ID info. I wrote a program to intercept it and do a lookup in a table to determine whether or not to allow the phone to keep ringing. If itis a number I want to block, the PC modem answers the call and throws a fax handshake at the caller over the phone line. After a while, they quit calling. The user interfacer shows the calling number in a list and you can double click it to add it to the list of blocked numbers.In the U.S. though you have to get used to the first ring and if it doesn't ring a second time then the modem picked it up. Gives me a smile every time.They used to call and interrupt my afternoon nap. That gave me the incentive to write the program. I haven't published it simply because I don't have the resources to test all the modems/operating systems/etc combinations.I use an old computer for just that function. The phone line is the only thing that it is connected to.Post here if you are interested. If I get enough feedback I'll look into publishing it.

    That sounds really great! You really should publish it – seems like the old modems might still have some use after all!
  • 2 Hide
    thx1138v2 , February 10, 2013 8:50 PM
    @PreferLinux: the old modems might still have some use after all!
    Probably not. When I updated to Windows 7 I couldn't find drivers for my old modem so had to get another one. RE your used name, the program uses Windows API comm calls so it only works on Windows. Worse than that, I just wanted to stop the annoying calls so I slapped it together with VisualBASIC. So it wouldn't be very easy to port to other OSes.
  • 0 Hide
    PreferLinux , February 10, 2013 9:05 PM
    Good point Re drivers.

    Still, that is fine for majority of users. Maybe I'll just have to try to write something myself though.
  • 2 Hide
    wavesurfer , February 11, 2013 3:16 AM
    How about we get apps for consumer complaints websites such as Callercenter.com available on our phone, too? Since these sites are filled with information about nuisance and scam callers, when a reported phone number calls, the app can just ring an alarm about the caller and display the report. With that, the recipient is alerted. And most importantly, what's nice about this idea is that the recipient will never have to pay for it or buy a new phone to stop unsolicited calls. We already have too many things we're spending money on, let this problem with the telemarketers not add to it.
  • 2 Hide
    devBunny , February 11, 2013 4:27 AM
    reprotectedThis post [article] was obviously paid by A***le.


    I think not but it could be said that the first post was posted by an a***le. ;o)
  • 2 Hide
    virtualban , February 11, 2013 11:17 AM
    A button to play a really loud high pitched sound on the earpiece of the other side, without anything heard on my side. That would be a good idea IMO.