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Should Carriers Charge You to Block Calls? Verizon Already Doing it

donotdisturb A few years back I used to always get pissed about SMS messages. I would get a ton of wrong SMS messages to the person who used to have my number and I had no way of blocking them. Carriers have finally relented and let you block SMS totally in most cases for free but not on a per number basis.

Since I got a VOIP phone a bit back I have been loving the ability to be able to block certain numbers or just block private numbers. I cannot understand why this is not already available for cellphones already. There are numerous BlackBerry applications that will let you blacklist callers but there is no reason the call should even reach your device.

Verizon just started rolling out a new service to their dumb phones and soon the BlackBerry called Do Not Disturb. For a annoying $3.49 monthly subscription it will let you place rules on calls that get to your phone. BlackBerry support is coming soon but I really wish carriers would find it in their heart to give us control of our number for free. The application lets you manually filter your calls based on private or restricted numbers and sending them directly to voicemail. You can also ignore or block all calls during certain times and respond with a text message about why you are not answering the call. I am curious to see if this app is actually doing all of this on the device or it is a service that is just configured from the device.

Check it out for non-BlackBerrys at this link

All I can say is that I would pay a $3.49 one time fee but not a subscription…

via Gizmodo

12 total comments on this postSubmit your comment!
  1. They give their customer 5 numbers and 5 email address to block for free. It is in the My Verizon My Services Tab

    • Do you have to pay for that service Coffy? I have never heard of it before…

      • The service is free for up to five phone numbers and fifteen e-mail addresses or domains. Log into My Verizon. Select “Set Usage Controls” link under Quick Links. Select the “Spam Control”. You will see two tabs for the actual configuration: “Call & Message Blocking” and “Internet Spam Blocking”.

        I learned of this after I contacted the VZW VP of Legal & External Affairs as well as the Executive Relations Team after my fourteen year old daughter was receiving inappropriate calls and TXTs.

  2. This is yet another reason i use google voice lets met control what happends to every number that calls me.

  3. Since everyone who wants a cell phone already has one, carriers can only grow their business by stealing subscribers or creating new services to drive revenue. Absolutely anything new beyond standard voice service means they are reaching into your wallet. Verizon is the one who does this most.

  4. Oh sure guys, let the “evil Verizon” posts roll. Some of you crack me up. Yeah, they’re SO evil they must be hurting for customers. Uh huh. That’s why they have the most and are growing their number of customers fast enough to stay ahead of ATT. Sigh.

    I have had “Anonymous Call Reject” on my Verizon home phone seemingly forever. Every time I ask for it on my cell I am told there us a technical limitation due to the distributed nature of cell service. Unlike wired, they never know where your wireless will be at the time a call is routed to you. Sounds like they found a technical solution but maybe its not cheap to implement so they need to charge to even offer it at all?
    That said, $3.49 per month feels awful steep. I suspect just like when features like call waiting and caller I’d and such were rolling to wired and each came with yet another charge, soon bundling of this sort of service in order to remain competitive on cost will eventually bring it down to much lower or free price point. But I would never opt for this at this price.

    • @DavidB, you’re drinking the kool aid.

      Yes, there may be a one time capital and R&D cost but it’s minimal. They can charge a one-time $3.50 and more than cover their costs. It probably took a 12 person team of programmers and testers a few weeks to implement this. I bet it adds up to a million bucks tops.

      Think of SMS. How much heavy lifting do you think their network has to do to push the max 160 chars/message? SMS infrastructure is already built and the capital outlay has been paid over a million times. There is still an ongoing cost for maintenance and support of the SMS infrastructure but I severely doubt it comes even close to $5/month/customer. Why do you think the feds are investigating the carriers for price fixing SMS? It’s a cash cow.

      It’s not about “evil”. Every company has the right to earn as much revenue as possible. In fact, it’s their duty to do so for their share holders. I don’t blame Verizon for trying to squeeze as much revenue out of their existing user base as possible.

      It is, however, about a de facto oligopoly. If we had true competition in the wireless space we would all have an unlimited voice/data plan with GPS and all the “extra” goodies for $40/month. I’m pretty sure that’s the way it’s eventually headed anyway. Technology always finds a way.

  5. u kno tmo has something similar to this. they have been doing that for a good while. i believe its called time allowance or something. it used to be 2.99, now they bumbed it up to 4.99. but it gave u the ability to adjust everything, from setting a certain allownace of minutes/text per day to blocking numbers from calling and/or texting.

  6. Hi all, thanks for the great discussion concerning our application. I thought I would clarify things a bit since there were some misconceptions etc.

    The application runs entirely on the device, with no backend network support.

    Additionally, we think the application actually works better as a ‘client’ than a back end service. It allows the user fine grain detail. For example, maybe your brother is calling you non-stop today so you add him to the list but you certainly want to quickly take him off tomorrow. Much easier to do so when its on the phone versus some website or call center.

    Another nice part about having it ‘on phone’ is the instant response. One of the features allows you to quickly add a number you just ignored. This would be a pain on a website as you would have to look up the number and type it in.

    We built this application because we too thought ‘this should be standard on every phone’. Our goal and anticipation is that it will be picked up by the carrier and included at some point. Backup Assistant is a good example. It was built by a 3rd party and then incorporated into the Verizon brand. It is now free; hopefully we can follow the same model.

    Thanks again for posting about our app and generating good discussion.
    Cheers,

  7. I have a “phone stalker” who has been calling and or texting me for the last 30 days. This has amounted to 150+ voice mail messages. Some days he will call more than 30x per day. When I called Verizon CS for assistance, they told me there was nothing that could be done since I gave this bozo my phone number. I didn’t give him my number…he just started calling one day. Verizon was kind enough to let me know about their paid service. Why would I spend $3.49/month to prevent a single caller from contacting me. No thank you.

    I ended up contacting my local law enforcement agency. Surprisingly Verizon was quite responsive to them. Turns out the guy was a 3rd tier sexual offender, non-compliant with his probation. I wonder if he was contacting other females as well.

    I was very disappointed with Verizon’s response to my situation, to say the least.

  8. Hi Ronen,

    It almost seems like you should consider rewriting your article as this service was launched on the 31st of March, over a month before you penned your post:

    Verizon just started rolling out a new service to all of their phones including BlackBerry called Call & Message Block. A wonderfully free service, it will let you block any number from sending you texts, pictures or phone calls. BlackBerry support is already there but I really am happiest that Verizon found it in their heart to give us control of our number for free. Found at vzw.com/spamcontrols, the service lets you manually filter your calls based on number and prevents them from reaching you at all. Enjoy!

  9. FAIL

    “blocking will expire 90 days from the date of your first block. You can reestablish blocking adding back blocking preferences after they expire.”

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