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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.

47 mins ago - World

Netanyahu campaigns against Biden's plan to save Iran deal

Netanyahu campaigns at a gym last month. Photo: Pool/AFP via Getty

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu indirectly criticized the Biden administration for its intention to return to the Iran nuclear deal and told his supporters he was prepared to "stand against the entire world" to stop it.

Why it matters: This is a major change of tune for Netanyahu, who had been careful in his statements on the Iran deal and avoided publicly criticizing President Biden. The statement was part of Netanyahu's attempt to rally his base ahead of Israel's election on March 23.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Tech: "Fludemic" model accurately maps COVID hotspotsVirtual doctor's visits and digital health tools take off.
  2. Politics: Schumer says Senate will stay through weekend to vote on COVID relief — Republican governor of West Virginia says there's no plan to lift mask mandate.
  3. World: Canada vaccine panel recommends 4 months between doses.
  4. Business: Firms develop new ways to inoculate the public.
  5. Local: Ultra-rich Florida community got vaccinations in January.