Science and Tech


T-Mobile Gives Customers iPhones To 'Test Drive'

T-Mobile announced "Test Drive," a weeklong trial that allows potential customers to put T-Mo's networks through its paces using an iPhone 5s.
Posted at 8:51 AM, Jun 19, 2014

T-Mobile, the wireless carrier that prides itself as being the "un-carrier," announced an unorthodox service Wednesday.

It's called T-Mobile Test Drive, and it gives potential customers the chance to try out an iPhone 5s on T-Mobile's "data-strong network." (Via Apple)

It's important to note the focus of the program is not on testing out an iPhone 5s, but instead on putting T-Mo's network through its paces. The company announced an expansion of its highspeed LTE network and Voice over LTE feature. (Via T-Mobile, Flickr / Axel Schwenke)

LTE provides customers a faster connection than the outdated 3G wireless connection. 

And voice over LTE allows customers to — you guessed it — make voice calls over LTE, making for "[high] fidelity, crystal-clear HD Voice and faster call setup times." (Via Flickr / Eelke Dekker)

Those looking to try out Test Drive can visit T-Mobile's site to sign up. The company will send you an iPhone 5s with unlimited access to T-Mo's network. After your seven days are up, drop the phone off at a local T-Mobile store.

T-Mobile's CTO said in a press release, the company wants potential customers to try out its network, because it was specifically built to handle mobile data.

"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." (Via T-Mobile)

Re/code says Legere is certain Test Drive will show customers just how beneficial T-Mobile's network can be. Asking why other carriers' are reluctant to offer unlimited plans, he answered, "A: They can’t. B: They are greedy bastards or, my favorite. C: Both. It is pretty clear to me what is happening."

According to CNET, the move is a bit of a two-birds-with-one-stone situation. CEO John Legere said during the announcement many people are unaware of T-Mobile selling the iPhone. T-Mobile gets to advertise Apple's flagship device and its own wireless network.

Oh, and be careful with that iPhone. Damaged phones result in a $100 charge. If a customer fails to return the device, T-Mobile says it'll charge a $699.99 fee. Plus taxes.