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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

T-Mobile announced Thursday it will offer ScamShield, a free scam-blocking service, to all T-Mobile, Metro and Sprint customers.

Why it matters: Robocalls remain the scourge of the industry, with billions of unwanted calls pummeling customers last year.

  • "People are being robbed. People are being scammed," CEO Mike Sievert said on a call with reporters on Thursday. And, yet, he said some rivals make customers pay for spam protection, calling out Verizon for charging many customers $7.99 per month for the service.
  • "This industry shouldn’t be profiting from this phenomenon," Sievert said.

The big picture: T-Mobile's moves are a mix of industry-wide efforts as well as things it is doing on its own, including:

  • Using network patterns to identify spam calls and allowing users to get a warning or, if they choose, block such calls from ringing.
  • Offering customers a free second phone number they can give out to businesses so they can save their main number for their close friends (or vice versa).
  • Allowing customers to change their number if they are getting too many spam calls.
  • Free ID monitoring and alerts from McAfee.

"This is no easy task, but we're making real headway," network head Neville Ray said on the call.

Meanwhile: Sievert and Ray said the company is ahead of schedule on its 5G rollout, including turning on the mid-band spectrum it acquired as part of its Sprint deal.

  • T-Mobile already uses low-band spectrum to cover much of the country with 5G service, but the mid-band spectrum allows for faster speeds than are possible with low-band 5G.

Go deeper

Kroger CEO: Shift to online shopping accelerated during pandemic

Kroger CEO Rodney McMullen Photo: Axios screenshot

The shift to online shopping during the coronavirus pandemic has accelerated beyond most analysts' predictions, Kroger CEO Rodney McMullen said on Wednesday at an Axios event.

The big picture: McMullen said the industry had expected the shift to online to take about 3 years. Instead, it took place in only two weeks.

Trump's coronavirus adviser Scott Atlas resigns

Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty

Scott Atlas, a controversial member of the White House coronavirus task force, handed in his resignation on Monday, according to three administration officials who discussed Atlas' resignation with Axios.

Why it matters: President Trump brought in Atlas as a counterpoint to NIAID director Anthony Fauci, whose warnings about the pandemic were dismissed by the Trump administration. With Trump now fixated on election fraud conspiracy theories, Atlas' detail comes to a natural end.

Dave Lawler, author of World
2 hours ago - World

Assassination in Iran sets stage for tense final 50 days of Trump

The funeral ceremony in Tehran. Photo: Iranian Defense Ministry via Getty

Iranian leaders are weighing their response to the assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, known as the father of Iran’s military nuclear program, who was given a state funeral Monday in Tehran.

The big picture: Iran has accused Israel of carrying out Friday’s attack, but senior leaders have suggested that they’ll choose patience over an immediate escalation that could play into the hands of the Israelis and the outgoing Trump administration.