Being displeased with one’s mobile carrier is part of daily life, but it isn’t as if you can try and see if another carrier is better – but actually now you can. On Wednesday T-Mobile announced that it has introduced a new plan that will let anyone test an iPhone 5S for free for seven days, including unlimited data in that time.
The “T-Mobile Test Drive” will allow consumers to try out the carrier’s service just as it has expanded its Wideband LTE to 16 total markets and VoLTE technology to 15 total markets, with a combined reach of more than 100 million people. This new promotion will begin Monday, June 23 where consumers can sign up online and within a few days receive the Apple handset to test.
A credit or debit card is required for trial and the handset must be returned in seven days to avoid $699.99 charge, and it is for domestic use only. After the test drive period the iPhone 5S can be dropped off at any T-Mobile store.
This is the latest “Un-carrier” promotion from T-Mobile, which have included in the past dropping fees for sending texts, using data while traveling and ending early termination fees for those switching from another carrier. Last year the carrier introduced a program that allowed users to upgrade their devices twice a year.
This latest initiative was aimed at the “painful process of buying wireless in America today.” This test drive is meant to help mobile users better determine how the device and the respective network will work where users live, go to school, work and plan.
T-Mobile also cited a CivicScience poll of US wireless users that found the United States wireless industry has a high “remorse rate” where nearly half (46 percent) of wireless customers say that they’ve signed up with a carrier and then wanted to leave. Moreover, the study found that one in 10 actually left within the first 30 days of making a switch.
“The way this industry forces Americans to buy wireless is completely, utterly broken. I’m here to tell you there’s a better way,” said John Legere, T-Mobile CEO and president in a statement. “While the carriers ask you to buy blind, the Un-carrier gives you transparency. Our network kicks ass, and now people can experience for themselves what a data-strong network can do with T-Mobile Test Drive.”
T-Mobile is also targeting data hungry consumers, and the carrier noted that its customers are using more wireless data on average than those on the other major national carriers. T-Mobile claimed that its customers use 61 percent more data than those on Sprint, 69 percent more than Verizon and even 100 percent more than AT&T. T-Mobile further claimed to have more network capacity with 70 percent more spectrum per customer than Verizon.
“The old telecoms designed their networks for a time when your phone’s only app was a phone call—and they haven’t shaken that dial-tone mind-set,” added Neville Ray, chief technology officer for T-Mobile. “Our 4G LTE network was built in the last year and a half, so naturally we built it differently. We built it for the way people use smartphones and tablets today, and we built it with a mobile Internet architecture, so we could roll out new technologies faster.”