BT is to launch a "breakthrough" new service that will see the telecoms giant redirect millions of calls automatically and allow BT customers to divert them themselves.

Most people receive an unwanted telephone call every month, whether they be automated marketing messages or about PPI, personal injury claims or sales. For more on nuisance calls and how to end them, see our Stop Spam Calls guide.

A BT team will monitor calls to the company's 10 million domestic customers and identify any patterns of callers.

"Rogue" numbers will then be diverted to a junkbox which BT expects could help prohibit 25 million unwanted calls each week.

BT customers will also be able to divert calls themselves to the "blacklist".

BT says the service, believed to be the first of its kind, will be launched later this year, harnessing huge computer power to analyse data.

'A major breakthrough'

John Petter, chief executive of BT Consumer, says: "Nuisance calls are one of the great annoyances of modern life.

"Everyone will have received one. We are delighted to have made this major breakthrough. We are giving control of the landline back to our customers and removing a major hassle and grief for millions of customers."

He adds: "We have been at the forefront of equipping our customers to defend themselves against the flow of PPI and unwanted marketing calls that has become a flood in recent years.

"Now we are able to announce that we are working to identify and tackle huge numbers of those calls in the network."

How to stop spam calls

For full help on how to stop nuisance calls see our Stop Spam Calls guide, but in brief:

  • It is illegal for a UK firm to call any individual who has indicated they don't want sales calls. If you don't want to receive marketing calls, join the Telephone Preference Service register. Once registered, it takes about 28 days for calls to stop.
  • Complaints about nuisance calls and texts can be made to the ICO.
  • If you're getting silent calls, which can be generated by automatic equipment in call centres, register with the SilentCall-Gard service. It has a database of UK companies using the equipment and makes it clear to them that you've requested not to be called. You must remember to renew it every 12 months.
  • If silent calls continue, you can complain to Ofcom, which can fine companies up to £2 million. For a full list of who to complain to about different types of nuisance calls and messages, see the Ofcom website.

Additional reporting by Lucinda Borrell.