TNS Robocall Survey: Consumers Want More Control or Options to Combat Robocalls

TNS Robocall Survey: Consumers Want More Control or Options to Combat Robocalls

October 8th, 2019

A survey of US wireless carrier subscribers released today by Transaction Network Services (TNS) finds that only 39% of consumers want their carrier to automatically block all calls from numbers not in their mobile phone contact list. While the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted in June 2019 to allow wireless carriers to automatically block unwanted robocalls for all subscribers, this survey indicates that a majority of consumers are not yet ready to have their carrier or mobile device manufacturer automatically block all unwanted calls.

Consumers are increasingly frustrated with the onslaught of robocalls.  In fact, TNS is identifying over 200 million negative calls crossing its carrier networks every day. While the scale and growth of this problem is alarming, it’s important to note that the survey revealed some interesting preferences.

Key survey* findings:

  • Consumers want to retain some call blocking control. Only 39% of respondents indicated they would like their carrier to automatically block all calls from numbers not in their mobile phone contact list, which means that they would have no knowledge the caller had tried to contact them. The same percentage (39%) of consumers would like their mobile device manufacturer to similarly block these calls by default.
  • Consumers are far more open to blocking of high-risk (scam/fraud) calls. Consumers are much more amenable to have their wireless carrier automatically block calls when those calls are deemed “high-risk”. 78% of consumers want their carrier to either automatically block these calls or divert them to voicemail.
  • A majority of consumers want to utilize voicemail for call screening. A majority of consumers (69%) would like lower-risk calls sent to voicemail by their wireless carrier, letting them choose which messages they want to return.
  • Younger subscribers are more open to automatic call blocking. Nearly half (48%) of respondents age 25-34 would like carriers to automatically block all calls from numbers not on their contact list, well above the 39% of all survey respondents.
  • Consumers don’t know their robocall app options. More than 70% of consumers surveyed agree that they would like to use an app from their wireless carrier to identify potential robocalls. However, they are not aware that such an app is offered. This suggests a need for more aggressive consumer education regarding the availability of this service/technology.

“Carriers are heeding the FCC call to thwart robocalls and proactively taking steps to protect consumers and businesses,” said Bill Versen, Chief Product Officer, TNS. “However, as our survey indicates, more education is required to help consumers better understand their options. Consumers need to know that robust applications are available to help them combat robocalls today.”

The TNS US survey of more than 1,000 US adults aged 18-64 was conducted June 27-July 1, 2019.


*KANTAR commissioned a survey on behalf of Transaction Network Services. The survey interviewed 1,017 US adults and was conducted by online self-completion interviews between June 27 – July 1, 2019 by Kantar. The survey is designed to be nationally representative of adults interviewed per country. The surveys use a quota sample based on age interlocked within gender and a regional quota. Post fieldwork correctional weighting within age, gender and region has been used to ensure the representativeness of the survey.    

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