T-Mobile brings free iPhone 'test drive' trial to all; streaming music exempt from data

T-Mobile brings free iPhone 'test drive' trial to all; streaming music exempt from data

Summary: T-Mobile continues to set the bar for US wireless carriers with two new initiatives launching soon.

T-Mobile Uncarrier 5 and 6 bring a 7-day free trial and streaming music free from data
(Image: ZDNet/CBS Interactive)

SEATTLE — T-Mobile on Wednesday lifted the lid on not one "Uncarrier" event, but two.

T-Mobile will soon offer anyone a free seven-day test drive of its data network with an Apple iPhone 5s. To sweeten the deal, new customers will also be able to stream the most popular music services with no impact on their data plans.

Uncarrier 5: Seven-day free test drive


Many who speak to me about T-Mobile's data network say it underperforms compared to its behemothic rivals. But the fourth-largest cellular giant has been working on improving their network quite aggressively. With this new free trial, there is no reason for people to not give T-Mobile a try.

Starting on June 23, the company is allowing anyone to sign up for the "test drive" program, in which it will ship out an iPhone 5s for the duration. The cell network is working in co-operation with Apple, according to chief executive John Legere, who spoke at the Seattle event.

The iPhone 5s won't give new users the full T-Mobile experience due to the current lack of support for Wi-Fi Calling, which is slated to land in iOS 8 — due out later this year. 

Uncarrier 6: Streaming music, free from data charges

Legere said later on during the hour-long event that the carrier will no longer charge streaming music services against your data. Streaming music without it affecting your data usage is the kind of carrier innovation I love to see, knowing that it's going to directly and positively affect my own and my family's data plan.

It was great to see T-Mobile show some appreciation for existing customers and those of us paying for unlimited 4G also. Those customers will be getting Rhapsody Unradio for free, while other T-Mobile subscribers can get it for a discounted $4 per month. Legere said the regular price is $5 per month).

The new Unradio feature gives you:

  • Ad-free listening: While traditional Internet radio interrupts you with ads, with Unradio your music streams ad-free;

  • Unlimited skips: While traditional Internet radio limits you to six skips per hour, Unradio lets you skip as much as you like;

  • Choose the music you want: While traditional Internet radio chooses your music for you, Unradio lets you choose your music. When you hear a song you love on Unradio, you can mark it as a favorite and automatically save it for later listening. You can stream these songs on-demand or download them to enjoy anywhere—even without a connection.

  • Create your own stations (or listen to ours): Listen to hundreds of professionally-programmed stations, or create your own stations based on the songs or artists you love.

  • Live streaming radio from your hometown or around the world: Unradio offers live streaming radio from thousands of terrestrial stations in the U.S., including KCRW in Los Angeles, KEXP in Seattle, and Chicago’s WXRT, among others, and from thousands of stations around the world.

  • ID songs anywhere with TrackMatch: Rhapsody Unradio includes a new feature, TrackMatch, you can use to identify songs you hear while out at a bar, ballgame, party or even on TV, and create stations around these songs or save them as favorites for later listening.

T-Mobile continues to lead the pack when it comes to carrier innovation, making Verizon and AT&T appear to be playing catch-up when they take away contracts and offer early upgrade plans.

With the free trial partnership with Apple, it looks like the iPhone and iPad maker is beginning to believe in T-Mobile's goal to draw in the crowds through its retail store doors. As Apple prepares to to launch iOS 8 with T-Mobile's Wi-Fi Calling support, we may just see the cellular becoming the preferred iPhone carrier as they both work to satisfy the burgeoning requirements of the average American customer.

Topics: Mobility, Android, iPhone, Smartphones

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  • "no reason"

    While I agree with the sentiment as written, when you wrote "With this new free trial, there is no reason for people to give T-Mobile a try.", I think you meant that there is no reason why people wouldn't want to give them a try?
    • I've been a T-mobile customer for a 6 years

      And for a long time I supported and defended them.

      Though currently in Houston, speed is slow at best. Try streaming a soccer game from Brazil and compare that to AT&T , simply no contest AT&T wins. That was not the case some time ago. And I dislike, and will never do personal business with AT&T again.

      Then the building coverage is horrible, at work I don't get a signal in a lot of places. This is why big business does not see T-mobile as a serious player. On the plus side, unlike everyone else you can use wifi for data and calls when you are at the office. Even when you travel internationally.

      T-mobile please improve your latency and speed, otherwise Verizon and the extra cost would make more sense.
    • Uh.

      Think you need to REREAD it.
  • When you have coverage, T-mobile

    is fantastic. When you have coverage.
    • or 2G coverage

      They just do not invest in their infrastructure unless you live in a major US city!
      • Big Unless

        Why would you not live in or near a major US city?
      • Don't Understand Your Comment

        If you don't live in or near a major US city you're basically forked anyways. You should be used to it. I live 30 mins south of Seattle and I still get good service from TMo. There are people that live in Ranier which is way down south of me out on in the boonies. When there's a power outage they are the last people get get power back. Why should they get any priority? The masses should be taken care of first. If you live out in the boonies you should be used to getting short shrift, not just from cell phone provider, but for pretty much everything.
  • Been there...done that

    I've been with TMO. After screwing me and many others last time around on the G2X combined with mediocre service, I'll pass.
  • Like real estate being location . . .

    It is like real estate being location - location - location. With smartphone data, it is coverage, coverage, and more coverage -- I dropped T-Mobile and went with at&t. Sorry, but on the Central Coast of California, at&t covers more territory. The at&t store here in San Luis Obispo is very helpful, and pricing is good. I hear now that Verizon has lowered their monthly charges - no longer a reason for T-Mobile, IMHO. Well, for voice only, the prepaid is dirt cheap on T-Mobile -- this I like.
  • TMO provides good service

    I live in Lexington KY and we get great service with TMO, except in local hospitals -- but then no one gets good service there. It must be all the electronics blocking the transmission. I'm interested in Rhapsody Unradio, and will dig into that more. I've not had a good smart phone music experience since I left Blackberry; Android was crummy, and I still haven't figured out iPhone. Its a learning experience. Maybe Rhapsody Unradio will provide an acceptable alternative to ripping my CD's and trying to store them on the iPhone. Yikes!
  • Won't trade my Nokia Lumia for any other phone.

    I've had a lot of smartphones over the years and won't go back to iPhone, for any carrier.
  • What's the Point if you live outside a major US City

    I had T-Mobile for 11 years about 50 miles east of Kansas City MO and they are stuck on 2G! I left them in 2012 for Sprint and have never been happier. Sprint has LTE here while T-Mobile is still stuck on 2G. T-Mobile does not invest in their infrastructure like the other 3 major US carriers. Why would I buy have phone with LTE capability when 90% of my time would be spent in a 2G area? The answer is I won't!
  • I really liked T-Mobile, but...

    they have no coverage in my area. I tried them for about 4 months. I signed up after checking their coverage map. It said good to great coverage at my house but I literally had no coverage for a 1/2 mile radius. I tried to limp by with Wifi calling but finally had to switch. I would go back as their customer service was great, they got me out of my AT&T contract, and pricing was unbeatable. I was on their $40 unlimited plan with 500mb high speed data. Wifi calling is an awesome free addition too. These additional services only sweeten the deal. If they ever get good coverage where I live(So. Oregon) I'll probably be right back.
  • Soo.. is this a sales pitch for T-Mobile... or Apple?

    What about the majority of us who are interested in Samsung S5s, Note 3s or other high end Android phones, or some of the high end Nokias? Really, the iDevice thing is wearing very thin.
  • I'm a long time T-Mobile customer...

    It is good to see them coming out with new features and ideas. Let's hope Sprint won't screw this up for all of us after the acquisition this summer, otherwise I'm gone for good!